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January 16, 2024

Preparing Your Classic Car for a Show

Brightly colored classic cars lined up on the street

Car show preparation is no small task. You’ve got to get your classic car in top condition, figure out how you’re going to transport your car, and prepare what you’ll need while at the show. Here are some car show tricks and tips to help you plan:

Complete a Detailed Cleaning

Person detailing wheels and tires

Wash and hand dry your classic car inside and out from top to bottom, including the engine and trunk. Do your research on which cleaners to use and choose only those specifically designed for cars. A fabric interior will need a specific automotive cleaner, while you should be able to use warm water and mild soap on vinyl. Also, it may help to start with the engine and trunk first, the interior next, then exterior and wheels, and last the windows. Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned everything, polish any spots where dirt or scrapes are still noticeable and finish with a wax to give it a fresh shine.

Figure out Transportation

If you really want to get your car to the show in top shape, consider shipping it. There are several car shipping companies with enclosed trailers available at reasonable rates. If you’re driving it, plan your route, where you’ll store it if you’re not going directly to the show, and allow time for touch ups once you arrive. If you have a long drive to your show, you may want to wait to clean your car once you get closer, rather than doing it at home.

Market Your Car

Help your classic stand out with display accessories such as signs, literature and restoration photos. Have a sign made that provides the make, model and year and display it next to your car at the show. You can also include a few interesting facts or note previous awards you’ve won. In addition, gather any information you can find – from advertisements and brochures to the car’s manual – and set up a display stand with the information. If you have pictures of the original car and/or restoration process, put those out too. This is a nice touch to give spectators a better idea of the history of the vehicle and what makes it special.

Get a Customized License Plate

Want to really impress the judges at a car show? A custom license plate is a small detail that can make a big impact. It also gives your car some personality and makes it more memorable. Consider getting one for an extra touch to your classic car’s appearance.

Pack for the Show

Make a planning checklist for what you’ll need to bring to the car show. Cleaning supplies are essential, even if you ship your car to the show. Bring a bucket, sheepskin or cotton chenille washing mitts and towels, microfiber cloths, waterless car wash, detail spray, automotive glass cleaner and chrome polish, so you’re ready for anything. You may also want to bring mirrors to place under your car to show the undercarriage, and a canopy for protection from birds, sap and other debris.

Display Your Car

Nose shot of three classic cars

Your car is your baby and you’ll know how to show it off best. Think ahead of the position you’ll park, the angle of your wheels and what compartments you want to display. People are going to want to see the motor, so you should definitely open the hood. Also consider rolling down windows, opening doors and popping the trunk.

Relax and Enjoy the Show

After all the hard work you put into preparing for the show, be sure to relax and have a good time while you’re there. Check out other displays, talk shop with fellow enthusiasts and take pride in showing off your classic car.



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