Eight Steps to a Great Car Show Outing

Paid article presented by Chubb.


You, your car and a glorious afternoon. It’s the perfect combination for a day on the field–could be a local car show, could be a national concours. During this downtime, some prep work ahead of time can have your car looking its best and you at max enjoyment. 

1. Attend to the Details

Want to take that a detail to the next level? After attending to the basics–wonky trim, rock chips, etc.–start looking at the details: Is everything period-correct? What kind of things? Things like tires, accessories, hardware and the like. Modern tires on a ’60s sports car, for example, can look grossly out of place. See also: wheels, batteries and audio equipment.

2. Correct the Paint in Four Easy Steps

What separates a Pebble Beach shine from the usual detailing? The time spent on the process. The steps usually are the same either way. 

  • Step 1: Wipe down the paint with a quick detailer and a microfiber towel. 
  • Step 2: Work a clay bar–either natural or synthetic–over the finish. The clay will grab any contaminants. Lubricate the clay with a quick detailer, and always work with the lines of the car–usually meaning front to rear.
  • Step 3: Time to fire up the orbital buffer and polish the paint. It’s polishing, not waxing, that will add depth and clarity to the paint. Best to start with a mild polish, and remember that a little can go a long way. It’s this polishing that will bring the depth and clarity by removing–or at least minimizing–the microscopic imperfections in the paint. 
  • Step 4: A coat of wax–again, applied with the orbital buffer–will protect that freshly polished paint while adding a bit more shine.

3. Clean the Rest of the Car, Too

Now it’s time to clean the rest of the car. How’s the glass: Clean and streak-free? Plastic pieces clean and free of haze? Are the crevices surrounding the emblems, trim and weather stripping free of dirt, grime and old wax? (Old detailer’s trick: A bamboo skewer will easily dislodge this dirt.) Is the interior clean and free of gravel, crumbs and dog hair? Like the exterior, the more time spent here, generally the bigger the rewards. 

4. Know Your Car’s Full Story

If it’s a judged affair, do you know how cars will be evaluated beforehand? If not, see if you can get your hands on a scoresheet. For example, will the judges want to check the operation of the lights, horn and wipers? It’s a common ask, and a fault here can knock down the score. Judges often also want to see the accessories delivered along with the car. If the car was sold with a toolkit or side curtains, for example, grab them. Judges also love a story, so know the one behind your car–and also bring along any ephemera that supports that story: old photos, race results and the like. 

5. Check That You’re Fully Insured

Before leaving the confines of your garage, time to adult up for a minute: Is your car properly insured? What if someone backs into your car while en route to the show? Or dings it on the field? Or, perhaps, even worse? Take a minute to make sure your car is insured for its replacement value with a specialty insurer like Chubb, for example. 

6. Enjoy the Drive

Before you head out, better make sure your odometer isn’t going to be a problem with your insurer. Some specialty insurers like Chubb have no mileage limitations, but you should confirm with your insurance agent.

7. Show Up

The morning of the show, your to-do list should be short: Maybe a quick wipe-down. Once parked on the field, again assuming it’s a judged show, wait for the judges.

8. Have Fun

This is supposed to be about having fun and enjoying time with your car. More often than not, just making the show field is an achievement. You got your car out of the garage and are sharing it with others. For that, take a bow.


© 2020 Chubb is the marketing name used to refer to subsidiaries of Chubb Limited providing insurance and related services. For a list of these subsidiaries, please visit our website at www.chubb.com. Insurance provided by Federal Insurance Company and its U.S. based Chubb underwriting company affiliates. All products may not be available in all states. Coverage is subject to the language of the policies as actually issued. Surplus lines insurance sold only through licensed surplus lines producers. Chubb Personal Risk Services, P.O. Box 1600, Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889-1600.

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