The Mystique of Concours Quality Classic Cars

Achieving a concours quality restoration amounts to a Holy Grail of sorts for many classic car collectors. While show quality cars can vary widely in terms of workmanship and original appearance, concours quality vehicles have been restored to the highest standards of accuracy and craftsmanship to the precise condition in which these vehicles left the assembly line or showroom floor. The term concours quality is sometimes accidentally or deliberately misused by dealers or restoration experts to refer to a show-quality vehicle that does not meet the exacting standards required for true concours condition.

Defining Concours Quality

To achieve true concours condition, a classic must have all the original equipment present and in pristine condition. No additions or deletions can be made to the original manufacturer’s equipment list. Even upgrading the original equipment to incorporate air conditioning, antilock brakes or other safety and comfort features can prevent a vehicle from living up to the standards of concours quality in the eyes of a restoration expert. Simply put, concours quality is defined as the optimal original condition of a classic or vintage vehicle. Nothing has been added or removed from the original vision of the designers and manufacturers of these cars.

The Restoration Process

To return a vintage car to its original condition can entail a large investment in time and money for dedicated car collectors. Upholstery, dashboards and other interior equipment must be replaced or restored to the original specifications used by the manufacturer at the time of production. In some cases, these items may not be available as replacement parts and must be fabricated or reconstructed by a professional craftsman. Exterior body panels can be repaired or replaced with machined parts created from the same materials and to the same specifications as the originals. No upgrades can be made to bumpers, lighting systems or other equipment on the vehicle. Even the paint color must be matched to the original hues to ensure real concours condition.

Show Quality vs. Concours Quality

Show quality cars may incorporate modern equipment as part of the restoration process. These vehicles often include air conditioning systems, seat belts, modern upholstery and enhanced bumpers to improve comfort, ensure safety and bring the car into compliance with current safety regulations. By contrast, concours quality vehicles may not be street legal and may not include safety equipment required by state and federal law. These vehicles may only be suitable for auto shows and expos; however, they represent the state of the art in restoration and offer a glimpse of the automotive past for true connoisseurs of classic cars.

Creating a true concours condition vehicle can take years and may cost many thousands of dollars. However, the end result is a real automotive work of art that can be worth many times the initial financial investment. In most cases, restoring a classic car to concours quality standards is a labor of love that justifies the hefty price tag and provides a true sense of accomplishment for the dedicated classic car collector.

Eight Great Celebrity Car Collectors

The classic sports car has been immortalized in song, glorified on film and enshrined in literature. These stylish vehicles have had a significant impact on world culture and have earned their place in the highest echelons of the automotive world. Here are eight of the most devoted celebrity car collectors and their areas of expertise in the custom and classic car world.

Shaquille O’Neal

Known for his prowess on the basketball court, Shaquille O’Neal is also a noted collector of classic cars. His prized possessions include a stretch Lamborghini Gallardo and a Superman Cadillac Escalade.

Jerry Seinfeld

As a comedian, Jerry Seinfeld’s name has become synonymous with a whimsical and detached style of wit. As a car collector, however, Seinfeld has shown a marked preference for Porsche products and owns a 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder, a 1973 Porsche 911 and a 1959 Gmund Porsche.

Bill Goldberg

Noted wrestler Bill Goldberg made a major impact on fans and opponents in the WCW and WWE. His collection of American muscle cars includes a 1969 Dodge Charger, a 1963 Dodge 330, a 1970 Boss 429 Mustang and a 1965 Shelby Cobra replica.

Ralph Lauren

One of the premier clothing designers in the modern era, Ralph Lauren is known for his classic lines and timeless styling. His collection of European sports cars reflects this sensibility perfectly; his 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 convertible is one of the highlights of his personal lineup of classic cars.

Tim Allen

A self-professed aficionado of muscle cars and hot rods, actor Tim Allen has amassed a sizable collection of classics during his nearly 40 years in show business. Among other classic vehicles, Allen owns a 1946 Ford convertible, a 1955 Ford Customline, a licorice-black Tim Allen Moal Roadster Special and a 1964 Chevrolet Chevelle SS.

Floyd Mayweather

A legend in the boxing world, Floyd Mayweather is currently the World Boxing Council welterweight champion and the World Boxing Association super welterweight champion. Mayweather owns two Rolls-Royce Phantoms and a rare Maybach 62.

Reggie Jackson

Mr. October really needs no introduction, especially among the many fans who followed his 20 years in Major League Baseball. Over the course of his career, Reggie Jackson won seven American League West pennants, four American League East pennants and two World Series titles. Jackson has dedicated his car collecting career to Chevrolet products and boasts a 1969 ZL1 COPO Camaro in his elite lineup of classic cars.

Jay Leno

Well-known comedian and former host of The Tonight Show, Jay Leno has made a name for himself in the field of television. His love for classic automobiles is no secret from his friends and fans; Leno has more than 100 cars from all eras of the automotive industry. Included in his collection are such rarities as the 1909 Baker Electric, the 1909 Stanley Steamer, the 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II and the 1931 Bentley 8-Liter.

While most classic car collectors lack the financial resources and the connections necessary to acquire vintage vehicles like the ones owned by these celebrities, finding and restoring the great sports cars of yesteryear is a hobby well worth the effort and expense.