Judging Your Imperial's Condition

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1 - EXCELLENT: Restored to current maximum professional standards of quality in every area, or perfect original with components operating and appearing as new.  A 95-plus point show car that is not driven.

In national show judging, a car in number 1 condition is likely to win top honors in its class.  In a sense, it has ceased to be an automobile and has become an object of art.  It is transported to shows in an enclosed trailer, and when not being shown, it is stored in a climate-controlled facility.  It is not driven.  There are very few number 1 cars.

2 - FINE: Well-restored, or a combination of superior restoration and excellent original.  Also, an extremely well-maintained original showing very minimal wear.

Except for the very closest inspection, a number 2 vehicle may appear as a number 1.  The number 2 vehicle will take the top award in many judged shows, except when squared off against a number 1 example in its own class.  It may also be driven 800-1,000 miles each year to shows, on tours, and simply for pleasure.

3 - VERY GOOD: Completely operable original or "older restoration" showing wear.  Also, a good amateur restoration, all presentable and serviceable inside and out.  Plus, combinations of well-done restoration and good operable components; or a partially restored car with all parts necessary to complete it and/or valuable NOS parts.

This is a "20-footer."  That is, from 20 feet away it may look perfect.  But as we approach it, we begin to notice that the paint may be getting a little thin in spots from frequent washing and polishing.  Looking inside we might detect some wear on the driver's seat, foot pedals, and carpeting.  The chrome trim, while still quite presentable, may have lost the sharp. mirror-like reflective quality it had when new.  all systems and equipment on the car are in good operating order.  In general, most of the vehicles seen at car shows are number 3's.

4 - GOOD: A drivable vehicle needing no, or only minor, work to be functional.  Also, a deteriorated restoration or a very poor amateur restoration.  All components may need restoration to be "excellent," but the car is mostly useable "as is."

This is a driver.  It may be in the process of restoration or its owner may have big plans, but even from 20 feet away, there is no doubt that is needs a lot of help.

5 - RESTORABLE: Needs complete restoration of body, chassis and interior.  May or may not be running, but isn't weathered, wrecked. and/or stripped to the point of being useful only for parts.

This car needs everything.  It may not be operable, but it is essentially all there and has only minor surface rust, if any rust at all.  while presenting a real challenge to the restorer, it won't have him doing a lot of chasing for missing parts.

6 - PARTS CAR: May or may not be running, but is weathered, wrecked, and/or stripped to the point of being useful primarily for parts.

This is an incomplete or greatly deteriorated, perhaps rusty, vehicle that has value only as a parts donor for other restoration projects.


This page was last updated September 27, 2001.  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club