Top Shine

Mobile Detailing Services

Top Shine Gets You Ready for the Car Show Season

Close Up of Classic Car

Car show season is here and Top Shine will make certain your classic and antique vehicles are flawlessly detailed.

If plan to show off your baby in the coming seasons, here are some things to look for, and how we can help with some of the aspects of what judges look for:

Car shows are wonderful places to find parts, swap stories with other car enthusiasts, and see some amazing vehicles. The average car guy or car girl can walk among the classic, the vintage, the rare, and the custom pieces of rolling art and decide for themselves which ones were best. What they may not know is what the judges are looking for when they award the blue ribbon. "Why didn't the '36 Cord get top honors? It was beautiful!" While every car show has its own particular criteria, here are some common things judges look at:

Clean Machines

Judges don't like dirt. Unless your car has been in a race that was a part of the show, you should take a few minutes after arrival to go over your car with an eye for detail. (Even then you should tidy up a bit.) Vacuum the carpets, wipe the dash, polish the chrome, and basically pretend that a USMC Drill Instructor will be giving it the white-glove inspection. This is especially important if you drove it to the show, but even on a trailer a car can pick up dirt in places you never knew existed. (Rest assured the judges know they exist!)

You can get a jump on this very important part of looking good by taking advantage of our mobile detailing services.

Paint Job

While a true restoration involves making sure the paint code on the VIN matches, judges will often be more impressed by a creative or unique paint job. How many red '57 Chevys are out there? How many yellow Deuce Coupes? How many black Lincolns? Just because the paint code says one thing doesn't mean you have to keep it that way. Even a base trim level such as a '58 Del Rey can be a show-stopper with a little artistic license.

If you prefer your car with its original color try a different shade, and don't be afraid to go two-tone on a one-tone car. If it was originally all tan, try root-beer brown on top of a cream to remind the judges of a classic root-beer float! The benefit of this technique is that the interior will usually still complement the exterior.

While we aren't a paint shop, we do offer a service that can significantly help your car's appearance. Swirl removal can help with those tiny scratches that often get into a top coat on a car's polish job. You might not see them except in certain lighting conditions, but the judges will see them!

Scratches? Scratched!

Flaws in the paint may hardly be noticeable to the average viewer. To a car show judge, however, you might as well have a neon sign pointing them out. Scratches, orange-peel, and runs in the paint and finish are things they are specifically looking for as part of the judging. Pin-striping tends to follow obvious lines, so it's worth it to make sure it goes on straight when you put it on. Remember, this is a beauty show for cars!

Buffing your car can remove small scratches that may seem barely noticeable to most people, but can cost you serious points at a car show.


Dress up your tires, rims, and hubcaps. Imagine the effect of Cinderella in her beautiful ball gown if she was still wearing her dirty old tattered shoes from her house-cleaning days! There are many products for putting a nice shine on tires, so there's no excuse to put your baby on display looking like it's been driven over dusty back roads.

Engine Bay

If it looks spotless on the outside, it should be spotless under the hood. The engine should look as clean as you can get it. Oil blow-by isn't attractive, and hoses patched with duct-tape definitely tell the judges that you don't maintain your car like you should. Pay attention to everything you can see, including the insulation on the hood. VIN plates should be clean and shiny, cables run properly, belts and hoses dressed, and of course, any chrome under the hood should really stand out. Everything from the breather to the valve covers to the block and to the oil pan should look like you just took it out of the crate.

Overall Effect

A 1914 Stutz Bearcat would look rather awkward with a stereo and GPS in it. However, judges will look at the overall effect of what you've customized. Your modernized touches should fit the look and feel of the car. Many cars from the late 50's were designed to visually fit the "Jet Age", and lend themselves to sleek modernization quite well. The "bubble dash" of the 61 Chrysler practically screams "Space Age". Creative use of existing vintage technology is another plus. For example, converting existing window cranks into levers that activate power windows is a way to combine a vintage look with modern convenience. Whatever modifications you do, be sure they maintain the aura of the vehicle.

Especially in South Florida, even a garaged car can suffer from humidity, insects, pollen, and salty air. Getting your classic or antique into show condition requires some ongoing TLC. Instead of driving or hauling your baby to a shop and risking damage along the way, let Top Shine come to you and handle the detailing in the comfort of your own home.

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