How rare is my car?

    Is your car one in a million? Knowing the exclusivity of your prized possession is exciting – and can pay off in the long run. 

    Unlike the vehicles you see everyday, rare cars and vans often carry an air of prestige. This rare factor can help maintain, and even increase, your vehicle’s value over time. When well-maintained, rare cars can offer significant investment potential. 

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    But what does it mean for a car to be ‘rare’? Delve into the world of automotive exclusivity and see how you can preserve your vehicle’s value below.

    How can you tell the rarity of a car?

    orange lamborghini parked up
    The exclusivity of your car can impact its value on the used car market.

    For cars, rarity comes in many shapes, sizes, and colours. What is considered rare also depends on local preferences, as well as supply and demand

    Here are the top five factors to keep in mind when thinking about vehicle exclusivity: 

    1. Production numbers – Was your vehicle part of a limited run? In general, the lower the quantity of a specific model produced, the rarer that make and model will be.

    2. Special editions – Limited and special edition vehicle models are often built in limited quantities, increasing exclusivity. Special edition cars and vans typically boast unique features and design elements as well.

    3. Historical significance – Vehicles models that have had a significant impact on automotive innovation or hold a special cultural significance, like the Lamborghini Aventador, can be seen as exclusive.

    4. Survival rate – Cars can also be considered rare if they are one of the few versions of that specific model left in existence.

    5. Demand and desirability – Enhanced collector and auto enthusiast interest in a certain make or model also influences perceptions of rarity.

    Car rarity checkers

    Vehicle records and documentation can offer a comprehensive overview of a car’s rarity. 

    V5C logbook

    Your V5C logbook contains details on your car’s ownership and registration history. It also features important details such as your specific model, vehicle tax class, engine size, VIN, chassis, frame number, and colour. You can use this information to research production numbers to assess the true uniqueness of a vehicle. 

    If your car is registered as a vintage or classic vehicle – two labels that nod to exclusivity – it will also have a V765 form endorsed by a vehicle owners’ club or a full written report and inspection (if it’s a reconstructed classic) in addition to the regular V5C logbook. This documentation can act as a legal designation. 

    Road tax status

    Documentation about your road tax status and tax band also shed light on how rare your vehicle is. Vehicles that are designated as historic, meaning that were first registered before January 1st, 1974, are exempt from paying road tax. 

    MOT data

    Data from the Ministry of Transport (MOT) offers a wealth of information about your vehicle’s history and condition. Real-time MOT records detail car maintenance and repair history, emissions compliance, and overall roadworthiness – all of which can be helpful in determining a car’s exclusivity. 

    If you’re unsure of your car’s MOT status, check out our free and instant MOT checker tool for more on your car’s MOT certificate, history, and due date

    However, if you’re thinking of vehicle rarity in terms of age, it’s important to remember that classic cars manufactured or registered 40 years ago or more that have not been ‘substantially changed’ are not legally required to have annual MOT tests. 

    Rare car examples

    Even if we don’t know the name of their specific make or model, most of us will recognise rare cars when we see them. 

    ModelRarity factors
    Bugatti Veyron– Limited production runs 
    – Iconic status
    Lamborghini Veneno– Extreme exclusivity
    – High demand among specific clientele
    McLaren F1– Historical significance with racing
    – Limited production runs
    Ferrari 250 GTO– Vintage status
    – Few surviving models
    – High demand among specific collectors
    Aston Martin DB5– Iconic status
    – Cultural significance due to association with James Bond

    Embracing exclusivity

    supercars on a street
    Owning a rare car can pay off if and when you choose to sell.

    There’s a lot to consider when owning, buying, or selling a rare vehicle. We break it down with a pro/con list: 

    BenefitsPotential challenges
    Exclusivity – Stand out from the crowd with a unique vehicle that few others possess.

    PrestigeOwning a rare car can boost your status and reputation among automotive enthusiasts.

    Investment potential – Rare cars often appreciate in value over time, offering potential financial gains.

    Collectibility – Uncommon cars offer the thrill of owning a piece of automotive history.

    Customisation – Some cars are rare because of their modifications and customisations that suit individual preferences.
    Maintenance costs – Specialised parts and servicing for rare vehicles can be hard to find and often more expensive. You may also need to find qualified mechanics with the skills to repair your specific vehicle.

    Insurance premiums – Insuring a rare car can be costly due to its high value and limited availability.

    Storage and security – Protecting your investment may require spending additional funds on proper storage and security measures.

    Usage restrictions – Some rare cars may come with usage restrictions or limitations to preserve their value, such as mileage restrictions.


    How can you tell if a car is rare?

    You can determine a car’s rarity by examining its production numbers, historical significance, demand among collectors and enthusiasts, and survival rates for that specific make and model. 

    What is the rarest car to have?

    This depends on how you measure rarity. As factors such as production numbers, historical significance, and desirability all play into ideas of exclusivity, we could consider the Bugatti Type 41 Royale and Ferrari 250 GTO as rare vehicles.

    Are rare cars worth more?

    Yes, rare cars are typically worth more due to their exclusivity, prestige, and often increasing demand among collectors. This scarcity can drive up their market value significantly compared to more common vehicles.

    However, rare cars can also cost more to maintain. Holistically consider all elements of car ownership before investing.

    How can I track the value of my car?

    If you’re not sure what your car’s value is to begin with, it’s hard to know how much money its rarity might impact the price.

    All vehicles depreciate at varying rates, with no rule of averages accurately describing any one car’s changing value. Motorway’s Car Value Tracker provides a free, reliable monthly price alert for up to six vehicles at once. 

    Follow changes to your car’s value to choose the best time to sell, and make informed choices about investments in your car’s maintenance.

    Ready to sell your car?

    Want to read more about owning, valuing, and selling your car? Check out more of our guides here, covering everything from depreciation to maintaining your car’s value. Understand your car’s worth in the wider market.