We often mention cars in #1 condition or #2 condition. In our Registration forms and on our Cars for Sale and Sold Prices page we always use these ratings. So what do they mean? I assume most of us have a general understanding but different books and valuation guides often use slightly different versions and some only use four or five categories not the six we use.
To help you use are pages and refresh the standards we us for number condition ratings we will give you a brief refresher course today.
What do the number Condition ratings mean?
- Number 1 Condition (Excellent):
These are affectionately referred to as “trailer queens.” They’re seldom driven, and are transported via trailer from show to show to accumulate trophies. These can also be museum pieces. They are either a “body off” restoration, or an untouched, factory original that is very close to perfect. All components are either original, NOS or appear as new and are fully operational. This car is a top show winner and is not driven, but transported to shows by trailer. The vehicle is completely detailed, including the engine compartment, interior trim, wiring, suspension, paint and frame. Ideally, this vehicle has been judged with other vehicles in its class and achieved the highest point ratings. Simply put, they have to be perfect. If there’s one spec of rust, one dent or ding, one leaky hose, then you’re not looking at a number 1 condition car.
- Number 2 Condition (Very Good):
This car is well restored with an eye for detail, or is a well preserved original, possibly with such low mileage that it remains in showroom condition. The interior and exterior show well, and it runs and rides smoothly. This class is a slight grade below Class One. A Class Two has not been detailed to the extent that a Class One has been. It is considered “cherry” or “mint”. This vehicle might appear as a Class One until judged against one. It would not qualify as a 95 or better “point” vehicle. Although a Class Two might be driven sparingly it should show no signs of being driven. (Clean underneath, absolutely no rust anywhere.)
- Number 3 Condition (Good):
This is a functional, drivable vehicle in good overall condition needing no, or only minor, work. Most vehicles at local car shows reflect this condition. This car would not be competitive at larger regional and national shows. This car is what is termed a “10 footer”. From 10 feet, it may look very good. Close inspection, however, would reveal some imperfections in the paint (faded paint, tiny nicks, swirls from buffing, but not much of this), worn interior trim, dirty undercarriage or dirty engine compartment. You may even see some early evidence that surface rust is beginning in the body panels or on the underside of the car (but not much.) This car is completely operational and could be termed an “older restoration”. It is driven fairly often, runs great, and is enjoyed by its owner. The undercarriage may display limited amounts of surface rust, and may be in need of detailing. Chrome and trim may be less than show quality.
- Class Four (Fair):
This type of car is a fun “driver” with a solid frame and is structurally sound. This car is in need of considerable work. It needs work in and out. Cosmetics, body, and mechanical components may need work. It is not a serious collector candidate, though a restoration could result in a higher condition class. Soft floors, isolated areas where rust has eaten through (but not structural), excessive use of Bondo, lots of pitted chrome, glass repairs are symptoms of this condition. Badly soiled headliners, badly soiled and ripped upholstery, rusted out trunks are also signs.
- Number 5 Condition (Poor):
This type of car is in need of complete restoration and may not even be able to be driven. The exterior body panels have significant areas of rust-through. The floor and structural components may not be intact. Many may decide to make a car like this their first attempt at a restoration.
- Number 6 Condition (Parts Car):
This type of car is good for parts only. These are the rusted hulks that populate the nearest junkyard, their weathered steel bones often being the only thing left to remind us what they once were.