Vehicles are appraised by first assigning a condition code to the vehicle in order to compare it to similiar vehicles. This is a large and important part of appraiser training. These codes usually range from 1 through 6, 1 being the best and 6 being the worst.
- EXCELLENT: Restored to the current maximum professional standards of quality in every area, or perfect original with components operating and appearing as new. This is a 95-plus point show car that is not driven. In national show judging, a car in No. 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 likely to 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 No. 1 cars.
- 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 No. 2 vehicle may appear as a No. 1. The No. 2 vehicle will take the top award in many judged shows, except when squared off against a No. 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.
- 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 driver¹s 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 are in good operating order. In general, most of the vehicles seen at car shows are No. 3s.
- 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 usable "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 it needs a lot of help.
- RESTORABLE: Needs complete restoration of body, chassis, and interior. May or may not be running, but isn¹t 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 won¹t have him chasing for a lot of missing parts.
- Parts Car: May or may not be running, but is weathered, wrecked and/or strippedto the point of being useful primarily for parts. This is an incomplete or greatly deteriorated, perhaps rusty, vehicle that has only value as a parts donor for other restoration projects.