A numerical rating of the physical presentation of a car, on a scale of 1 to 6, as it is observed in a walk-around. Condition doesn’t attempt to differentiate between totally original cars, street rods, and race-modified cars.
#1 condition Beyond perfect. While logic would equate this with a factory-fresh car, the collector car world hasn’t adopted that way of thinking, creating Pebble Beach, Louis Vuitton, and other restorations that are better than original.
#2 condition Showroom-quality. Virtually new.
#3 condition Normally used, low-mile cars that have been kept original, or restorations that have seen some miles but have been well maintained. You would put a 3 in your garage and drive it on weekends without feeling embarrassed or endangered in doing so. Most collector cars are 3s.
#4 condition Serious defects, and/or hard use not ameliorated by good and consistent maintenance. You wouldn’t take a 4 to a local marque rally without being a bit self-conscious. Nevertheless, many daily drivers are 4s.
#5 condition Running, but battered, incomplete, and perhaps rusty.
#6 condition Parts car.
Character: Qualitative descriptions of cars’ overall character, such as “Older restoration.” They attempt to describe, in a limited number of phrases, the kind of treatment the car has received. There’s a vast difference between cars described as an “Unrestored original, #3 condition” and an “Older restored #3 condition.”