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How to Elevate Your Display at a Car Show


As you prepare to enter your classic car in a car show, you should consider the steps you can take to improve your display and attract more attention. Getting the approval of audiences and judges at these car shows isn’t just about having the coolest car—it’s also about displaying it in such a way that attracts eyeballs and showcases its best features.

Here are a few tips that will help you improve your car show experience and get some well-deserved recognition for your vehicle and display.

Get your vehicle detailed

Detailing a car goes beyond just the regular wash and wax, which you should always do before showing your car. You should also pay attention to a lot of the finer points, including cleaning out the air vents, getting rid of dust and crumbs on the dash, removing stains from ceiling fabric, cleaning the upholstery, cleaning out the wheel wells and cleaning and shining the engine bay. Judges and attendees alike will be impressed by the attention you give to your vehicle’s cleanliness and appearance.

Consider using props

Certain types of themed props can attract people to your display and give it a little bit more life and interest. It helps you display your creativity and personality, and is also fun for kids who might be at the show. Just make sure you use props that are appropriate for your audience, and that don’t distract from your vehicle. Any props should enhance your display rather than become an attraction (or detraction) in themselves.

Open up windows

If you keep your windows rolled up, people will assume you don’t want them to look inside. However, when you’re showing your vehicle at a car show, you should encourage people to look around. Make the vehicle as accessible as possible by keeping the windows open. So long as you’re around the display, you’re not going to have to worry about people reaching in and touching things you don’t want them to touch. Most car show attendees are respectful of the vehicles and the work that goes into making them look great.

Open up the hood

Hardcore car fans aren’t going to be satisfied just by checking out the vehicle’s exterior—they’re also going to want to take a look under the hood. This is the heart and soul of the vehicle, so if you don’t pop the hood for people to see, judges are going to assume you’re trying to hide something. Even if you don’t have the most powerful engine or the coolest accessories, people still want to check out what is going on underneath the hood. This, again, makes it important that you clean out the engine bay and get everything as clean and shiny as possible.

Avoid clutter

When we talk about clutter, we don’t just mean the inside of your vehicle—that should go without saying. But you should also consider the area in which you park your vehicle. Clutter in the parking area can distract people from your car and could even deter visitors. If you have unrelated items lying around, or even related items that are just thrown around without any sense of organization, this could turn into an eyesore and hamper your display.

Position your vehicle

Consider the way in which you position your vehicle for display. What angle will it take to the area where people will be walking by? You might consider using a ramp to highlight certain attributes of the car, such as sportiness or toughness. Display ramps are highly portable and easy to use, and can really take your display to the next level at a car show. You can find a variety of ramps; show ramps are easy to roll on and off, while wheel cribs are effective at lifting cars to place floor mirrors beneath, so you can show off your car’s underbody.

Use photos

If you have any photos of the car restoration process or any historic photos of your car in older days (or in interesting places), you should bring those to use as part of your display. Spectators and judges love to get the story of the vehicle and see the transformation of the car over time. It adds a more personal touch to the vehicle and shows just how diligent you have been in restoring and maintaining it. “Before and after” photos may even increase your chances of winning awards!

Display documents

There are other documents aside from photos that can add to your display, such as original advertisements or manuals, full lists of all the modifications or repairs made to a vehicle, old stickers with specs or various other manuals or publications that could explain particular features.

Make sure you come prepared to your next car show so you can make your vehicle the star of the show!

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