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4 basic tips for showcasing collectible cars

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ZTSG 09/05/2022 Suv 149
As summer approaches, car enthusiasts still have something to look forward to: the autumn car show. Although popular events such as Woodward Dream Cruise and Pebble Beach Concours D'Elegance are now b...

As summer approaches, car enthusiasts still have something to look forward to: the autumn car show. Although popular events such as Woodward Dream Cruise and Pebble Beach Concours D'Elegance are now behind us, there are plenty of opportunities to showcase your unique collectors in performances across the country.4 basic tips for showcasing collectible cars

Are you looking to impress with your beautiful collector car at an upcoming car show? Whether it’s your first outing, or the tenth time this season, a checklist is a handy way to ensure your classic will be award-worthy.

For years, I towed a collector car to shows, and now have switched to driving my ’67 Alfa Romeo if I’m showing it. The checklists are similar, with some slight differences if you’re using a tow vehicle and trailer. Yes, you want to “win,” but remember to engage the audience (they will think so much more of your car if you do), and most of all, have fun.

Enthusiasts tour the heritage display as Chevrolet commemorates Camaro’s 50th anniversary during the Woodward Dream Cruise Saturday, August 20, 2016 in Birmingham, Michigan. The display includes the first Camaro built, a 60-foot mural, and rare and milestone examples from the car’s six generations, including the all-new 2017 Camaro ZL1 and 1LE models. Photo: Santa Fabio for Chevrolet.

#1 Know the rules of the show ahead of time

#2 Clean everything and everywhere

#3 Be prepared for anything

#4 Remember these must have items

Upcoming Fall Shows

#1 Know the rules of the show ahead of time

Every show judges collector cars differently, so it is essential to understand to what standard your car will be judged. Some shows go only on “appearance,” while others have stricter guidelines. Some shows want the hood open, others closed. Others judge the undercarriage, while at some shows this isn’t a consideration. Regardless of the specifics, be sure to always bring supporting documentation (sales literature, advertising, owner’s manual etc.) to prove your car’s equipment or condition.

#2 Clean everything and everywhere

Most car collectors know the basics of pre-show maintenance – always clean up the paint, glass, and upholstery. If you want to win best in show, it is important to go beyond your standard cleaning routine to guarantee your collector catches the judge’s attention. Be sure to pay special attention to cleaning under the hood, in the wheel wells, and in the door jambs. It is also helpful to remove the tires to clean both sides of the wheels.

Try different cleaning products until you find what makes your car spotless and show ready.

Automobili Lamborghini Heralds Future, Celebrates Past at Monterey Classic Car Week. Photo: Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

#3 Be prepared for anything

If you decide to drive your classic car, be vigilant about checking all of the things that keep your vehicle running. Before you leave, check the battery, lights, fluids, and tires to ensure you will make it there safely. Fill the tank the day before to save time and always carry tools and spare parts in case of an emergency. Always have your cell phone and AAA card on your person; it never hurts to be prepared!4 basic tips for showcasing collectible cars

If you are trailering, confirm that your tow vehicle and trailer are in shape and check tie-down straps for function. To make the show day as stress-free as possible, find out ahead of time when you can park the trailer. Most shows have very specific parking instructions and trailer restrictions.

#4 Remember these must have items

Cleaning supplies are an essential at any car show as your collector braves the elements. Always bring a bucket, gloves, and microfiber cloths to cover all your cleaning needs. It is also crucial to pack waterless car wash, detail spray, glass cleaner, and chrome polish.

For your own comfort and enjoyment, bring sturdy folding chairs, water, snacks, and napkins. No matter the season, sitting out in the sun all day can take its toll on your car, and on you as well. Come prepared with a hat, umbrella, and suntan lotion. Lastly, bring a photo album of your restoration – people love before-and-after pictures.

When it’s all over, whether you’re taking home a trophy or not, you had the chance to show off your pride and joy, and hopefully you even made a few new friends in the process.

Richard Reina is a Product Trainer at CARiD.com and lifelong automotive enthusiast.

Upcoming Fall Shows

Street Rod Nationals North

– September 9th-11th, 2016 Kalamazoo County Expo Center & Fairground Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Northeast Street Rod Nationals

– September 16th-18th, 2016 Champlain Valley Exposition Burlington, Vermont.

The Fall Boardwalk Classic Car Show

– September 24th-27th, Wildwood, New Jersey boardwalk.

Charlotte Autofair

– September 22th-25th, 2016, Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.

Cover photo: Tom Glaatch, courtesy of Motorbooks.