The classic car condition ratings
Definitions according to the recognized classic-analytics valuation system
The value of a classic or vintage car depends entirely on its condition. Factors like age, mileage, or the number of previous owners, which are crucial for regular used cars, often become ambiguous for vintage vehicles. In the case of classic cars, the condition rating is the sole determining factor.
The following definitions, developed by us, have been established in the classic car scene for years. They form the basis for the values regularly published by us in the specialist press, for the Home-Check, and for the valuations conducted by our european wide classic-analytics partners for insurance categorization (Professional-Check).
Concours cars are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best car, unmodified, in the original colour, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like and panel gaps exact. Typically, these cars will be either exceptionally original or restored to the very highest standards. All numbers match, restoration materials used are correct (NOS or OEM) and superbly fitted. No customisations have been made. The one-word description for #1 cars is "concours."
Excellent cars could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 cars that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and interior will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine compartment. The vehicle will drive as a new car of its era would. No customisations have been made; parts will be well-fitted but may not be OEM. The one-word description for #2 cars is "excellent".
Good cars could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 car, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior. #3 cars drive and run well but might have some incorrect parts. These cars are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. No major customisations have been made. "Good" is the one word description of a #3 car.
Fair cars are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windscreen might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps a panel has a minor dent. The interior could have split seams or a cracked dash. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals or the interior might not be stock. No major customisations have been made and the car would pass an MOT. A #4 car can also be an older restoration. "Fair" is the one word that describes a #4 car.
Project cars are in need of restoration. They may be disassembled or be an original car that has been stored for some years, but no major components will be missing. This category includes a wide range of conditions and values may vary accordingly.
Unrestored vehicles with exceptionally low mileage and only lightly patinated in their original condition defy the typical valuation criteria. As a result, their value can significantly exceed the value determined solely based on the condition grade.