HomeCar Culture6 tips for displaying your classic at a local car show

6 tips for displaying your classic at a local car show

Discover what you can do to stand out from the crowd at your next car show

(Editors note: During the month of June, the ClassicCars.com Journal is publishing a series of stories about displaying your car at car shows and concours. Today, guest contributor Chris Kapa offers their suggestions for displaying your vehicle at a local show. If you have a story about showing your classic, please send it to us at [email protected].)

The first car show in which I participated was in 1984, and I was hooked. I can say I have entered in over 100 car shows and I have all the plaques to prove it.

Since then, I have put on shows myself and had more than 200 cars show up at my latest event, which you can check out in the video below:

So, here are my views on how you should display your vehicle at car show:

  • I feel that opening the hood and opening the trunk (since I have been a judge myself) is getting brownie points. The more you show, the better the score. I even came across a BMW that had a waterfall coming out of his trunk. That car was truly amazing to me.
  • I love seeing how the car was built. A lot of people will display albums that they have created with step-by-step information about how they restored their vehicles. Every now and then I’ll see the factory build sheet, which is always very cool to see displayed with a car.
  • Time-capsule items are always fun to see displayed with a car.
  • I also have little versions of die-cast cars that look identical to mine displayed inside or around the car.
  • Stuffed animals are usually a big hit with children. They love to see the stuffed animal inside the car or around the car.
  • We’ve used a plexiglass display board at big indoor shows with all the information on who built the car, who painted the car, the engine size, etc. However, I’ve had one fall on my car and chipped the paint. I cried! 

Share your tips for showing your classic at a car show in the comments below.

-Chris Kapa

Car Shows & Concours Series

Stories all about showing your car at car shows and concours.


  1. Most of my cars are older so I display an easy to read info sheet about the car’s specs and unique features. I also have another sheet that outlines significant data relating to the year the car was built. Info such as: who was president, cost for a gallon of gas, average salary, what movies won the oscars that year along with significant political and world events. The extra information brings a new perspective to the history of the car and generates a lot of positive comments. I print the data sheets on nice paper and take them to my local office supply store to laminate them. The lamination gives it enough stiffness to stay put under the wiper blade or secured by magnets to the body or propped upright in a side window. If I want a larger poster (11×14 or 16×20), I’ve found that Walgreens online photo department offers a wonderful utility that allows me to design a poster online that includes text and photos. I simply submit the file and it is printed by my local store. I then buy an inexpensive poster frame for the poster board and I end up with a great looking piece that engages people to read all about the car. It prompts people to ask questions and their experience ends up being more interesting and engaging.

  2. Here’s the other side. Most cars I don’t open the hood or trunk because it destroys the lines and beauty of the car. Same with stuffed animals and models. If it doesn’t directly relate to the car, it should not be on the car? Back in the day, we had two groups, the Show or the Go. guess I’m still in the Go group?

  3. Hi I have a 1955 belair and very nice ride. What i do not like is the new car at our car show get the brownie points as they our not same as we our. cars back in the days You know them buy the tailing light going down the road of our time. I thick the old cars our much Cooler and bad ass to look at.

    • I was in class for all Camaro years my 67 against a new one ? Yeah right
      A show here in Columbus put on by Corvette club and guess what kind of car wins most of the awards ,? Again yeah right

  4. I have a 1961Silver Cloud
    Rolls Royce complete with Grey poupon.
    People love to take pictures in front of it.
    The car speaks for itself.
    Btw. JFK was President

  5. I have a 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe, color in Hawaiian Orchid with a hand painted pinstriped in a mauve color in the late ’70’s n ’90 these cars were still considered cool n great to look at. I’ve taken the ’40 to several car shows n find that not many people are really interested to look at it, since all the muscle cars the now in fashioned. I loved the ’60 muscles but can’t beat an older car. Anyway, just don’t bother anymore if no one is interest in the older cars. All the newer cars don’t have any style n classic lines that the older cars had. My thoughts my opine. No one has agree.

  6. Can’t wait to see all the Wild Builds that were done while being locked down for Covid…Carshow season is finally upon us!

  7. I’m a member of our local car club here in Utah, the Cache Valley cruise in. This years show is our 39th year. (July 1-3) Each year we give away a car. ( this year is a model T) We also have a concert. (LeAnn Rimes will be here) since covid messed up our show last year and we were only allowed to have our main street cruise we are expecting around 1,000 cars this year. We have a lot of vendors including Ilene Roth, and Glenn Beck will be here. In the past we have been featured on “My Classic Car”

    Even though my 2000 Mustang GT isn’t super awesome or have a lot of mods, I do have custom pinstripes that help it stand out from the hundred Mustangs. Custom pinstripes add a great splash of color and make even the most basic car stand out.

    This was a great article with a few fun tips. I hope you all can make it to Cache Valley. For more info on our show you can visit our website at cvcacruisein.com

  8. I have a restored 1935 Ford coupe that my dad and restored. When I got the car I bought everything that came with the car when you bought it new. I also bought all the pamphlets that you get at the dealership of the year.
    Accessories book
    The original owner manual.
    Pamphlet on the different body styles
    Radio pamphlet
    Service inspection pamphlet
    I even have the original invoice that came with the car. Everyone loved seeing the invoice .


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