Can a vintage piece over 40 years old be Highend

I have a passion for listening to modern sound reproduction both tube and SS with matching gear, but also sentmental vintage equipment. I have speakers that were considered very much Hi-Fi in there day and an old working amp to go with it which was also Hi-Fi can they be called High-End?? The yougest of these is about 42 years old the oldest 46. ( I am discounting altogether the pieces from the 70s which I own and listen to from time to time also)
If it was designed well to begin with (as my HK 730 was), upgrading the caps, transistors and wiring with high quality parts is something many reputable techs do. An LP12 feeds the Hk. There's nothing I've heard recently (that didn't cost a bazillion dollars) I'd trade it for. So much of the "accurate" sound is also dry, analytical and unmusical. Color me vintage.
Absolutely; many audiophiles are still using the older gear (the old Marantz 9 comes to mind). I've been told that the "iron" in the older tube gear is of a much higher quality than what is being used nowadays. The only thing that an older piece may need though is to have the capacitors replaced in the power supply. I disconnected the old leaky caps on my Marantz 8 and replaced them with new 100mF 450V electrolytic caps run in series; made a tremendous sonic improvement.
Have had the pleasure of hearing a 1964 Sansui Tube amp (40 watts or so) driving the Martin Logan CLS effortlessly. The sound to my ears was way superior to a Krell 300i which I heard in the same combo.

I own the Chartwell LS3/5a circa 1979 and when compared with my Kef Reference 2 (main speakers) it beats the crap out of Kef in terms of midrange resolution (where most of the music resides).

So yes, some vintage gear should not be underestimated. However, personal preference plays a very important role in the realms of hifi.
Take a look at the monster Audiogon thread, "Building high-end 'tables cheap at Home Despot" in the Analog section. It concerns rehabilitating and remounting idler-wheel turntables...primarily Lenco, but also Garrard 301/401, Thorens TD-124 and the like. Yes, properly restored and mounted, these are high-end turntables, built before many of us were born. I lusted after the Garrards as a young kid, and now spin records on a 48-year old grease-bearing Garrard 301.
My whole system is vintage and I love it. All of the capacitors have been upgraded and they sound great to me. I can't afford the new stuff, so vintage was my only recourse. But having given it a try, I am well pleased. I have my system listen in budget if you wanna take a look.