Love the charm and character of older cars but unsure about whether they’re eligible for finance? In this hands-on guide we’ll answer “what is the oldest car a bank will finance”. Our goal – to help you get behind the wheel of a car with its own unique story to tell.

The golden numbers

While there’s no hard and fast rule about what the oldest car a bank will finance is, 10 years is generally considered the maximum age for standard agreements. Most high street banks require cars to be no more than 10 years old, with no more than 100,000 miles on the odometer.

Exceptions to the rule

While 10 years and 100,000 miles are considered the maximums for bank-funded auto finance, there are some exceptions to the rule. For example, classic cars are often eligible for finance agreements. What’s the difference between ‘classic’ and ‘older’ cars? There are similarities between the two, however most banks see them as very different candidates for auto finance.

Defining a ‘classic’ car

According to HMRC, classic cars must be at least 15 years old and have a minimum value of £15,000. This is ultimately what sets classics apart from older vehicles. Unless the car meets these prerequisites, banks will generally be reluctant to approve auto finance.

Prefer the gleam of a newly polished hood ornament over the glow of a next-gen touchscreen dashboard? You’re not alone. The UK is a nation of classic car enthusiasts, with the latest stats from the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) revealing there are more than 1.5 million classics currently registered in the UK.

Dreaming of securing the keys to a pristine pre-war Bentley or a British-built Lotus Elise? Read on to find out more about what the oldest car a bank will finance is and how auto loans work for classic vehicles.

Understanding classic car finance

Unlike traditional auto loans, classic car finance operates within a niche market. Agreements are often tailored to meet the unique needs of vintage automobile enthusiasts, which means financing a classic car can be a little different from the usual process.

Factors influencing classic car finance

Several factors come into play when determining the oldest car a bank will finance. These can include:

Age of the vehicle

One of the first variables banks assess is the age of the classic car. What is the oldest car a bank will finance? While there’s no set rule on the maximum age of a vehicle eligible for financing, most banks tend to favour classics from the post-war era onwards. That said, some specialty lenders may extend financing for exceptionally rare or historically significant vehicles, regardless of age.


The condition of the classic car plays an important role in securing financing. Banks are more likely to finance well-maintained or meticulously restored classics with documents to back up their past.


Rarity, historical significance and desirability among collectors can increase the likelihood of securing finance for older vehicles.

Appraisal and valuation

Before extending financing for a classic car, banks often request a comprehensive appraisal and valuation of the vehicle. This helps determine the market value, authenticity and overall condition of the classic car. Why does this matter? It helps provide banks with confidence in the value of the asset they’re financing and potential resale value.

Types of classic car financing

Classic car financing options vary depending between lenders, so it’s important to do your research and find the right fit. Banks generally take a more conservative approach to finance and stick with popular options like Hire Purchase and Personal Contract Purchase.

Hire Purchase (HP)

This option sees you make a deposit upfront, followed by fixed monthly payments. These payments cover the full purchase price of the classic car, plus interest. Once the final payment is made, legal ownership of the vehicle is transferred to the borrower.

Personal Contract Purchase (PCP)

PCP offers lower monthly payments than HP, as you effectively lease the classic car for a set period of time. At the end of the agreement, you have the option to return the vehicle, trade it in for a different model, or make a balloon payment along with and option to purchase and possible admin fees, to take ownership.

Personal Loans

Personal loans can be a good way to finance a classic car purchase and provide lump-sum financing for the total cost of the vehicle. In exchange, you’ll commit to fixed interest rates and repayment terms.

Navigating your classic car finance journey

From sleek Jaguar E-Types to James Bond-worthy Aston Martins, classic cars are genuine head turners. However, complications can arise when attempting to secure finance. Here are some expert tips on how to improve your chances of success.

Research and due diligence

Before approaching a bank for classic car financing, take the time to thoroughly research the make, model and historical significance of the vehicle. Gather as much documentation as possible, including appraisal reports, maintenance records and ownership history. The more documents you have to support your finance application, the better!

Consider specialty lenders

Feeling disheartened after your application for auto finance has been knocked back? Remember, the buck doesn’t necessarily stop with high street banks. Consider working with a broker like My Car Credit to unlock access to specialty lenders with experience financing classics. Unlike banks which often adopt a conservative and inflexible approach, brokers work with a wide range of lenders, including lenders willing to finance vintage automobiles.

Insurance requirements

Your classic car financing agreement may come with specific insurance requirements to protect the value of the asset and minimise risk for the lender. For this reason, many lenders will insist you have comprehensive classic car insurance in place before finalising the agreement.

The bottom line on financing old cars

Ultimately, there’s no definitive answer to “what is the oldest car a bank will finance?” That said, there are some benchmarks to keep in mind. Banks will generally knock back applications for auto finance if the car is more than 10 years old, with more than 100,000 miles on the odometer. Unless the car qualifies as a ‘classic’, which means it must be at least 15 years old and have a minimum value of £15,000.

Secure the keys to a classic with My Car Credit

Got your heart set on a classic car? Whether you’re dreaming of a mid-century Chevrolet or a Mini in mint condition, My Car Credit is here to help you enjoy the thrill of vintage motoring. We work with a large panel of lenders to maximise your chances of success, with classic car finance options including high street banks as well as non-traditional lenders. 

Try our handy online finance calculator to find out more about your options.

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Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!