There is absolutely nothing official about any of these prize categories. So this article is designed to provide ideas and “food for thought” when planning a car show. I will attempt to organize the categories in such a way that they will help with different themes or types of events. Each year my wife and I go to a father’s day car show. I would suggest merging two show themes together to interest dad and mom, and perhaps kids. So a car and craft show combination would work well. To combine a show of interest to dad and kids. Perhaps a car show and comic book trading show would be a big hit. Combine with food, such as a car show and chili cook off. It’s a great strategy to combine multiple interests when a show’s purpose is to raise money for charity and to increase it’s interest and draw. Family project categories can involve more family members and their friends.

Two terms you may hear in relation to a car show are “Favorite” and “Best”. They can be interchangeably used, however, “Favorite” is often used in categories when it is picked or judged by a specific & notable person such as the “Mayor’s Favorite”. “Best” is often used in categories judged by a group of judges. It is a good way to differentiate the two when both are used in the same show. You may also consider putting more then one category together, such a Pre-1979 with Mustangs to have a category of Pre-1979 Mustangs. Another term that you may see from time to time is “Class” or “Class Winner”. The word “Class” refers to a category such as 1950s or Pre-1979 Corvettes.

Typically a car show has several dozen award categories with only a “Winner” or “1st Place”. However, a “Runner Up” is not unusual. When the number of categories is much fewer in number such as 10 or less, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Places are often used.

One of the best ways to choose your categories is based on local interest, what’s available and perhaps a check on the types of car clubs you have in the area. If the show is fairly new, keep the categories simple and build upon the success of the previous year. The most important thing is “fun”. Make sure everyone has “fun!

Remember – Listings here are examples. There are additional brands, models, countries or categories. The secret is to know what is popular in your local area. Ask around, call car clubs, and be creative!

Antique – Classic – Prestige

  • Model T
  • Model A (Open, Closed)
  • Studebaker (Pre-War, Post-War)
  • Caddy
  • See the Classic Car Club of America List

Best in Show

  • Car
  • Truck
  • Import
  • 55 Chevy
  • Ford
  • Antique
  • Classic

Stock – Modified

  • By Decade
  • By Model
  • By Brand

Time Frames

  • 1900 – 1920
  • 1920s
  • 1930s
  • 1940s
  • 1950s
  • 1960s
  • 1970s
  • 1980s
  • 1990s
  • 2000s
  • Pre-War
  • Post War
  • Pre-1968
  • Pre-1979
  • Post 1968
  • Post 1979
  • Post 2000

Brands & Such

  • Chrysler
  • Dodge
  • Plymouth
  • Mopar
  • GM
  • Chevrolet
  • Pontiac
  • Ford
  • Britain – European
  • Non-British

Models – Some Popular Examples

  • Mustang
  • Thunderbird
  • Firebird
  • Chevelle
  • Corvair
  • Corvette
  • Camaro
  • MG
  • Mini


  • Stock
  • Custom
  • 4X4
  • Low Rider
  • Dump – Utility


  • Fire
  • Police
  • Hurst
  • Tractor


  • Engine
  • Paint
  • Interior
  • Upholstery
  • Wheels
  • Gear Shifter
  • Sound System

Favorite Car of VIP or Organization

  • Mayor or Council Member
  • City (City Manager)
  • Sponsor (President)
  • Religious Leader
  • Military VIP
  • Show Queen
  • Show King
  • Royal Family (Selected Local Family)

Best – Honorable Mention

  • Car in Show
  • Truck in Show
  • Ford (Brand)
  • 55 Chevy (Model)
  • Import (Other)


  • Best
  • Cruiser
  • Harley
  • Trike
  • Custom


  • Unique
  • Earliest Entry
  • Nostalgic
  • Under Construction
  • Most Original
  • Import
  • Compact Car
  • Sports Compact
  • Hot Rod
  • Street Rod
  • Factory Muscle Cars
  • Woodies
  • Kit Cars – Replica – Reproduction
  • Car Show Committee Owned Cars


  • Bicycle
  • Tricked-Out Riding Lawnmower
  • Fast & Furious
  • Orphan
  • Classic Trailer
  • Ice Cream Truck or other Special Use of a truck or Car

Promote Family Involvement

  • Father – Son Restored
  • Father – Daughter Restored
  • Mother – Daughter Restored
  • Brother – Sister Restored
  • Most Generations Owning Same Car
  • Most Family Members Restoring Same Car

Good luck in planning your car show and please call us at 951-894-7222 if we can be of assistance in helping you with the trophies.