Classic Car Presentation is Everything!
If you own and show a classic car, you’ll know that presentation is
everything. And, if you live here on PEI, you’ll likely know that our
province has perhaps the nation’s greatest historical connection with
It was just over 150 years ago that what is now considered to be Canada’s
first ever car arrived on the island. It was a one-seater, steam-driven,
“horseless carriage” made in New Jersey and brought to the island by a
priest who though it would help him tend his flock more effectively.
Sadly, that was 1866 when automotive technology was totally experimental
and unrelaible, so the vehicle soon fell into disrepair.
Happily, this is now the 21st century and automotive technology,
combined with the passion of classic car owners, means many old vehicles
have gained a new lease of life – much to the pleasure of an admiring
Every year, the wraps come off some of those cherished classic cars,
vintage cars and muscle cars to go on display here on PEI across Canada.
The island is well served by dedicated enthusiasts and organizations such
as the PEI Antique Car Club as well as branches of national organizations.
And you can be sure that, as summer months approach, members and other
collectors will be putting all the spit-and-polish they can into preparing
their vehicles for parade.
The Secrets of a Sparkling Presentation
Showing isn’t always about just looking good. Often, there are prizes to be
won and honors to be gathered – as well as the admiring glances of envious
So, how do competitors and enthusiasts make sure their cars are at their
peak, shiniest best for the shows and cruises?
First and obviously, the exterior appearance is critical and a lot depends
on whether your classic car, vintage car, antique car or muscle car is in
daily use or whether it’s reserved just for showing (and admiring in your
Furthermore, what’s happening below the surfaces is equally important. That
means, among other things, clean interiors and engine compartments.
Bearing these points in mind, let’s take a quick look at the essentials for
making your classic car an eye-catcher.
According to Hemmings Daily, the world’s leading classic car news source,
good presentation starts with carefully selecting the preparation area –
out of the sun, close to tools and power supplies, and with an adjustable,
artificial light source that can be directed where you need it.
Then, Hemmings adds, your cleaning materials and tools should be as
For the interior, you need:
o A powerful vacuum with crevice tools
o Household carpet cleaner and stain remover
o Leather conditioner
o A soft-bristle brush
o UV-resistant protectant for the dash top
- For the exterior, your armory should include:
o A small amount of dish detergent to remove wax
o Bug and tar remover if required
o Mild liquid car wash (applied in cool environment) for the all-over clean
o A wash mitt that you regularly rinse while using
o A second mitt for the wheels and tires
o Dedicated wheel cleaner to remove brake dust
o Steel wool soap pads for white-walls
o A soft cloth or chamois for drying
o A paint-cleaning clay bar to remove remaining grit
o Auto wax – to be used sparingly – and either suitable cloths or an
“There are few things more pleasurable than admiring – and driving – a
freshly cleaned vehicle,” says Hemmings. “Whether your collector car of
choice is indeed a car, or a truck, a motorcycle, van or tractor, the
effort that it takes to ‘detail’ a vehicle is certainly rewarded by the
We agree! You can check out the full Hemmings Daily guide here:
Should You Trailer Your Classic Car?
If you want the undercarriage of your classic or antique car to look as
good as the top, trailering is the only way to protect it.
Plus, you avoid adding mileage and significantly reduce the risk of
But it’s also an additional cost. And you need to be sure that the show
arena provides a secure holding area for trailers – a vulnerable and
More Than Good Looks
In the world of classic car shows, being in with a chance of winning
sometimes relies on more than just good looks.
The more prestigious the competition, the more judges may want to see
relevant documentation covering a vehicle’s history.
The more original parts there are, the higher the marks, generally
speaking. Increasingly, these days, it’s possible to acquire factory
One More Vital Component
Even if you never drive your classic car, it is still open to the risk of
accidental damage and theft.
And if you use your vehicle regularly, these risks are only going to
increase and compound.
Classic Car Insurance is the one vital component for protecting your investment against
The good news is that insurance specifically tailored to the needs of
classic car owners is readily available – often at lower cost than
traditional auto insurance.
To learn more or to be sure your existing coverage is adequate, please
contact your friendly PEI experts at Peake & McInnis LTD.