What do the number Condition ratings mean?

We often mention cars in #1 condition or #2 condition. In our Registration forms and on our Cars for Sale and Sold Prices page we always use these ratings. So what do they mean? I assume most of us have a general understanding but different books and valuation guides often use slightly different versions and some only use four or five categories not the six we use.

To help you use are pages and refresh the standards we us for number condition ratings we will give you a brief refresher course today.

What do the number Condition ratings mean?

  • Car Condition:

     

  • Number 1 Condition (Excellent):
    These are affectionately referred to as “trailer queens.” They’re seldom driven, and are transported via trailer from show to show to accumulate trophies. These can also be museum pieces. They are either a “body off” restoration, or an untouched, factory original that is very close to perfect. All components are either original, NOS or appear as new and are fully operational. This car is a top show winner and is not driven, but transported to shows by trailer. The vehicle is completely detailed, including the engine compartment, interior trim, wiring, suspension, paint and frame. Ideally, this vehicle has been judged with other vehicles in its class and achieved the highest point ratings. Simply put, they have to be perfect. If there’s one spec of rust, one dent or ding, one leaky hose, then you’re not looking at a number 1 condition car.
  • Number 2 Condition (Very Good):
    This car is well restored with an eye for detail, or is a well preserved original, possibly with such low mileage that it remains in showroom condition. The interior and exterior show well, and it runs and rides smoothly. This class is a slight grade below Class One. A Class Two has not been detailed to the extent that a Class One has been. It is considered “cherry” or “mint”. This vehicle might appear as a Class One until judged against one. It would not qualify as a 95 or better “point” vehicle. Although a Class Two might be driven sparingly it should show no signs of being driven. (Clean underneath, absolutely no rust anywhere.)
  • Number 3 Condition (Good):
    This is a functional, drivable vehicle in good overall condition needing no, or only minor, work. Most vehicles at local car shows reflect this condition. This car would not be competitive at larger regional and national shows.  This car is what is termed a “10 footer”. From 10 feet, it may look very good. Close inspection, however, would reveal some imperfections in the paint (faded paint, tiny nicks, swirls from buffing, but not much of this), worn interior trim, dirty undercarriage or dirty engine compartment. You may even see some early evidence that surface rust is beginning in the body panels or on the underside of the car (but not much.) This car is completely operational and could be termed an “older restoration”. It is driven fairly often, runs great, and is enjoyed by its owner. The undercarriage may display limited amounts of surface rust, and may be in need of detailing. Chrome and trim may be less than show quality.
  • Class Four (Fair):
    This type of car is a fun “driver” with a solid frame and is structurally sound. This car is in need of considerable work. It needs work in and out. Cosmetics, body, and mechanical components may need work. It is not a serious collector candidate, though a restoration could result in a higher condition class. Soft floors, isolated areas where rust has eaten through (but not structural), excessive use of Bondo, lots of pitted chrome, glass repairs are symptoms of this condition. Badly soiled headliners, badly soiled and ripped upholstery, rusted out trunks are also signs.
  • Number 5 Condition (Poor):
    This type of car is in need of complete restoration and may not even be able to be driven. The exterior body panels have significant areas of rust-through. The floor and structural components may not be intact. Many may decide to make a car like this their first attempt at a restoration.
  • Number 6 Condition (Parts Car):
    This type of car is good for parts only. These are the rusted hulks that populate the nearest junkyard, their weathered steel bones often being the only thing left to remind us what they once were.

Filed Under: FeaturedFord TalladegaMercury SpoilerMercury Spoiler II

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About the Author: Some of my first and strongest memories from my childhood relate to cars. I still remember when things happened based on what car I was driving at the time. I grew up and lived in Iowa for nearly 40 years before moving to Southern California and now live in Tennessee. I was a Corvette fanatic for years but then re-discovered vintage American Muscle. My wife, Katrina, and I decided we wanted to focus on unique and rare muscle cars. After a lot of research we fell in love with the Ford Blue Oval Aero Cars. These were only built in 1969 and and aerodynamics became an important part of winning races. The only purpose of these limited production cars was to win NASCAR races using the Boss 429 and 427 power plants complimented with a special, wind cheating, aerodynamic body. The Ford Talladega and Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II are terrific and historic cars. This site is devoted to these car and their owners past and present. We provide an Online Registry for recording the long term history and ownership of every remaining Talladega, Spoiler and Spoiler II.

Comments (3)

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  1. Rick Ochs says:

    Richard Question,
    On E-Bay right now there is a Talladega for sale, re-painted yellow in Washington. Asking price is 30 K or best offer, then in the add print it states “Price is Firm”.
    Looking at your price sheet from Hagerty Price Guide I see this car at a 4 or 25,000 price range. Now looking at your “Number Condition ratings” I see this car between a 4 and 5. It needs paint, rust repair, engine has lot of wrong parts or not factory and rear end is wrong gear……so based on these things I see this Talladega at about 20,000$ for a fair price not more than 22,500.
    Now at a 4 or 25,000 price you would need to put another 35,000 K + in repairs or more if work was done by other than buyer. So that would bring an investment of 60 K or more to bring car to number 2 or may-be a 1. which would bring it up to 62,000 K to 80,000 K. So what would you feel is a fair price to pay for this Talladega as it is pictured on e-bay ?

    • Richard says:

      I believe, but can not confirm, that this is a Talladega that was offered for sale over a year ago to several potential buyers at a price of $19,500. Based on my conversations with the original owner who still had it and was selling it, I thought that was a very fair price. However, the information was given to several potential buyers none of whom purchased it. Not included in price guides yet very important, at least to me, is where the car is located. A trip to the NW to inspect a car and then the added cost to ship it to the SE makes purchasing a car, at any reasonable price, from that area unreasonable. If the car is priced so low as to attract my attention down here it is sold instantly anyway to someone closer.

  2. Rick Ochs says:

    Just wanted to see what you may feel a fair price would be for this Talladega, Looks like in general on both sides it falls into the number 4 range. We have sent a copy of factory invoice to Idaho sometime ago on this T… We have had a few question’s via phone and internet as to what class we would put this car and looks like so far on this end we are in the ballpark.

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