If you’ve rebuilt a project car or spent hours searching auctions and advertisements for an old-fashioned beauty, you understand that while dogs are man’s best friend, cars are often man’s most prized possession.
Going to shows is one of the best ways to fully enjoy the experience of owning a unique car. On one hand, it is great to see all the different types of vehicles people have collected and maintained. On the other hand, sometimes friends and family don’t always understand why we love our cars as much as we do; it feels really good to be around so many people with the same hobby.
Of course, we can’t leave out the competitive side of it either. There’s nothing better than taking first place at a show. Although, it’s tough to take first place if your car isn’t show-ready. Let’s take a quick look at some essential tips for showing collector cars.
Make Sure the Tires are Immaculate
The tires are one area a lot of novice collectors neglect. You’ll want to scrub your tires squeaky clean and then scrub them some more. Additionally, make sure the tread on the tires is in good shape. Tires that are worn down typically do not score as highly as ones in good condition. Some owners have a set of tires for regular use and a set for shows.
Spend Time Cleaning the Interior
A pristine interior is another way to give your vehicle an edge. Some judges won’t specifically seek out a look at the interior, but if you make a point to show them the inside, it can help.
With that being said, dust, dirt splotches, and all other imperfections in the interior will hurt the overall opinion of your car. Make sure everything from the door hinges to the metal under the passenger seat is spotless and shining. There are certain cleaning materials made for leather and specific metals. For optimal results, research the best possible cleaning ingredients on the market and use them as instructed.
Perfect the Paint Job
There will be judges and spectators that know what shade of paint the car should be. Make sure your vehicle matches the original design. Also, make sure there are no imperfections in the coating. Looking for fading from the sun in advance is essential. To add a ‘wow’ factor, consider applying a layer of clear coat to the car.
Go the Extra Mile
The reality is, people, go to shows to look at great cars. Most people are not going to expect a presentation or anything more than a pretty vehicle to please their eyes. Why not surpass expectations? Why not go the extra mile?
Bring pamphlets, pictures of the car in its glory days, fun facts about the car, old manuals, and anything of that sort. You can display all of this information on a table alongside the car.
As people interact with the material, talk to them about the restoration process (if you restored it). Talk about what the car was used for (leisure, showing off, races, etc.), who drove it, how expensive it was in its day. People will eat it up. Chances are the people at shows already know the make, model, and year, but make it a personal challenge to educate them on something they don’t know. The information will be appreciated.
Touch Up Kits Can Be a Lifeline
Anything can happen at a show. Someone can bump into your car, causing a smudge or smear. A bird could decide it’s time to do the deed right as it flies over your baby. It could start raining at any point in time. There’s no telling what could go wrong, but one thing is for sure, it’ll happen at the least opportune time. You’ll want to have a touch-up kit on hand for when it does.
A touch-up kit doesn’t need to be any too fancy. All you need is something to sand the car with, something to wash the spot with, paint that matches the color of the car, and a car paintbrush. It’s not much, but can be a real lifesaver in times of need.