Got a ’73 Camaro? Or what about a ’69 Chevelle? Regardless of whichever classic you own, you’ve bent over backward to keep it in mint condition. Taking proper care of a classic is no easy task. That being said, you probably don’t just take it out for the occasional joy ride. As we approach the height of the season, you’ll want to begin your car show preparation ahead of time. Here are some of our best car show tips and tricks to get you closer to the gold.
Clean the undercarriage and engine
Your first instinct with car show preparation might be to get out a bucket and buffer and begin on the exterior. Hold off on that and instead start on the engine and undercarriage. This way you can cover the fenders and windshield from getting degreaser on them. Any excess grease splattered will be cleaned later instead of having to clean it a second time.
Wash the Car
The next steps to take with our car show presentation tips are cleaning your classic. However, don’t just take it through the local car wash. Car shows are all about the fine details. Instead, hand wash it yourself. Use the appropriate automotive products and don’t even think about using dish soap. Begin with the wheels, then work from the roof down. Always do this in the shade so the product doesn’t dry up quickly and leave streaks.
Dry the Car and Remove Dirt
If you want the best car show tips and tricks to take home the gold, that involves being meticulous all the way down to the way you dry it. Use a microfiber towel or a chamois. After making certain the tires are completely dry, go ahead and use tire dressing. Remove any spots or dirt on the surface with an abrasive polish. This helps with tricky sap and stains. Just be sure to follow the packaging directions.
Start Your Wax
If you divvy up your car show preparation into multiple days, again be sure you’re in the shade. The surface of your classic should not be hot since wax dries fast in the sun and heat. Begin applying the wax in small, thin portions so you can buff the area with a clean towel. Once the exterior shimmers and shines, it’ll be sure to catch the eyes of competitors.
Clean the inside
Vacuum the floors, dust in between the seats, clean the hinges and doorjambs, and wipe down the windows. The phrase, “looking good as new” should be an understatement when it comes to car show preparation. When cleaning the carpets, you can use an automotive carpet cleaner before vacuuming. Use a mild soap to wipe down surfaces like vinyl or plastic. However, for leather use a proper cleaner with conditioner. The same goes for wiping down windows; don’t use Windex. Instead, use an automotive product.
Don’t Forget the Trunk
Don’t spend all of your time detailing your classic only to neglect the trunk. One of our best car show tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years is that a finished trunk can get you a couple of extra points ahead of someone with their trunk closed. Alien Enclosures trunk panels can be removed any time without any damage done to the trunk or the car. You can conceal items like a detailing kit, a cooler, or lawn chairs behind the panels. Your trunk will appear to be in mint condition while hiding any items you need for the show.
Look Over the Small Details
Make sure the car runs smoothly, it’s original and neatly maintained. Some common mistakes to watch out for are radiator caps, distributor caps, replaceable filters, and spark plugs. Also, be sure you have your registration and proof of insurance for the show. You would hate to prepare your car only to be turned down at the show because of paperwork.
Use a Custom License Plate
An average license plate can take away the beauty of a classic. During a car show, it’s perfectly legal to add to its vintage ambiance by changing out the plate. You can find another cool classic piece used the same time of your vehicle or advertise a particular automotive company. Whichever you choose, make sure it looks good.
Make a Modifications Poster
To help give people context of the vehicle’s journey, feature a before and after poster at the car show. You can add photos, modification specs, diagrams, pricing information, and more. Spectator’s won’t have to guess about the work you put into the car.
Also, if for whatever reason you miss the judges, a poster serves as a good replacement. Lastly, don’t stretch the truth. The judges can tell if you lie and can deduct points if you do it.
Open the Windows
Along with a finished trunk, another great car show tip we offer is to roll your windows down. If you keep your windows up, how do you expect people to view the hard work you put into your interiors? Judges can thus look inside to get a feel for both the inside and outside of your classic.