Vintage Race Vehicle Designation


The following presentation constitutes a series of recommendations dedicated to sorting out the many and varied approaches to an increasingly popular movement – the return of historically relevant cars to nostalgia/vintage drag racing events. Contributors to the results of this effort are neither rules makers nor event sanctioners. Each person participated agenda-free. Should event-holders and/or service professionals choose to adopt these contents, such is their free will choice.


The increasing population of returning-to-the-sport vintage drag race vehicles is a really good thing.

However, the methods and means by which such vehicles are discovered and returned to the sport has – as usual – experienced growing variance between claimed origination, results and reality. The duplication capability of modern digital equipment and machines adds to the potential confusion.

As the value of such vehicles increases, and the creativity of their owners grows, so too will the results of those choices. In an effort to avoid future conflict at check-in; bracket, class or event placement and valuation results – a group of concerned individuals recently created guidelines for individuals bringing vintage drag race vehicles back into the sport. It is to those who have created the current population, and those who now seek to, reflect and preserve our sport’s history through glorious physical examples, that these guidelines are dedicated.

Thank you!


Steve Gibbs — Former NHRA Vice President – Competition, Member, Board of Directors of the Wally Parks NHRA Motor Sports Museum, co-founder of the National and California Hot Rod Reunions and the “Cacklefest” concept.

Jon Lundberg — Former drag race announcer, drag racing historian, performance aftermarket (SEMA) industry veteran, owner of Southwest Valuations, LLC and credentialed as an Accredited Senior Appraiser by the American Society of Appraisers.

Carl Olson — Former champion drag racer, former NHRA Vice President, performance aftermarket (SEMA) industry veteran and Motorsports Manager at the SFI Foundation, restorer of both oval track and drag race cars.

Bill Pitts — Attended his first drag race in 1964, restorer of the Fuller “Magicar” – the vehicle which launched a national wave of restoration and return of many former drag race competition vehicles to the sport.

Greg Sharp — Curator of the Wally Parks NHRA Motor Sports Museum, drag racing historian, co-founder of the National and California Hot Rod Reunions and the “Cacklefest” concept.


It is with profound interest in enabling more veteran drag race vehicles’ return to drag racing that the following suggestions/ recommendations are presented to those considering such a project.

1. Learn all you can about the vehicle and its history. Then pick a focused timeframe and avail yourself of all the pertinent magazine stories and photographs you can find of the vehicle AT THAT MOMENT and create what you will from that information. Race cars change and evolve almost from that minute the paint dries. Restoring an individual’s or team’s vehicle lacking a specific build target – time-wise – and proper authentication/support may result in your expensive investment being classified or valued in an identity class that presents a cruel surprise. Be able to put forth such documentation upon request by officials.

2. Make every attempt to obtain an endorsement(s) from the original builder, participant(s), team or extended family of such and involve them in the project. Such folks can help you identify components, special vendors and can endorse – and thereby enhance – the vehicle’s authenticity. They are part of the resulting project’s history – and of the sport. Their involvement is a value-adder both to drag racing history and the vehicle’s “Provenance” (aka the origin and performance accomplishments resume back to the builder).

3. Contact all individuals and companies involved in the construction and sale of all vehicle components to determine and memorialize their correctness for the particular timeframe and vehicle. Further, attempt to chronicle all changes and modifications made subsequent to the original sale. Keep the records you create handy for inspection – document, document, document.

4. Conduct and record interviews with anyone either involved with the vehicle or those who observed it in competition at motor sports events. Retain those recordings and/or transcripts for future reference. Keep documentation for your vehicle, and your claims for it, available for inspection upon request by event officials or contract professionals.

5. Take all necessary steps to prevent unnecessary deterioration of any component, with particular attention to such items as tires, fuel lines, polished metal, etc.

6. Beware of “over-restoration”. Modern finishes and techniques create glorious results. However, they do not necessarily enhance your project’s correctness.

7. Do not employ the use of vinyl graphics or “wraps”, other than period-correct equipment maker or sponsor decals. Graphics should be hand-applied as they were during original build and the original artist should be retained for such work where possible.

8. Retain all invoice copies, bills of sale and any other fringe part or component “tailoring” that takes place during your project. Should something unthinkable happen, you’re going to need them – organized.

9. Should you decide to make the car operational, spare no expense when it comes to safety. Read the current rules and follow them to the letter.

10. Should you wish to exhibit or “compete” in an event or demonstration your vehicle must pass all safety regulations in effect for that occasion (e.g. to enter a Cacklefest, your car MUST be fitted so as to allow positive clutch and/or driveline-to-engine disconnect).

11. Should your goal be to attend demonstration or public events, seriously consider extra “spectator” insurance coverage for those occasions.

12. Fire-up your vehicle on a regular basis so that it remains easily operational while both the fire-up techniques and attendant safety precautions become “muscle memory”.VEHICLE CLASSIFICATION: Effective June 1, 2011.

(HV) HERITAGE VEHICLE (aka Barn Find, Survivor™, Unrestored Original): Such vehicles represent the classic “barn find”. Such a car is in exactly the same condition as when it was last operated. Preparation should involve merely a thorough clean-up, detailing and replacement only of damaged or unsafe components. Should the vehicle’s finish be deteriorated to the point where fresh paint and protective finishes are mandated, such is allowed but restricted to those colors and livery congruent with the vehicle’s chosen timeframe.

  • (HV 1) Functional condition
  • (HV 2) Non-functional
  • (RO) RESTORED ORIGINAL: Such cars are based upon varying degrees of available components from the original vehicle. Builders will provide photographs of the car – so as to illustrate the car’s original and/or timeframe appearance – which was used as target for the restoration.
  • Degree of Original Components Used:

1. (RO 1) Complete vehicle with documentation or authenticity evidence.

2. (RO 2) Significant Components – A majority of original car’s structural parts on the subject with documentation or authenticity evidence.

3. (RO 3) Limited – Identified primary components from original car exist on the subject with documentation or authenticity evidence.

(RR) RECREATED / REPLICATED: Cars built to replicate an earlier vehicle that was no longer in existence or unavailable for restoration. Classified in terms of race history (provenance), authenticity execution of workmanship and the degree of involvement form the original team and/or family.

1. (RR 1) Built with validation/endorsement plus active participation of original team member(s) and/or original builder(s).

2. (RR 2) Built with Validation/endorsement of family and/or original team member(s).

3. (RR 3) Does not have Validation/Endorsement.(TC) TRIBUTE CAR: A vehicle constructed of what might be period-correct parts but from other vehicles wherein the fit, finish and livery characterize a tribute to a specific (earlier) year’s individual or team.

1. (TC 1) With validation/endorsement of original by original team members.

2. (TC 2) No validation/endorsement.

(PC) PERIOD CORRECT: A vehicle built from period-correct, but dissimilar, components from several donor vehicles finished to resemble a vehicle of its genre (dragster, funny car, gasser, etc.).

1. (PC 1) Because of the finished subject’s general nature, no validation or authenticity requirement exists. However, event participation will be determined by the individual sponsoring/sanctioning organization.

(UN) UNIQUE: A finished subject that resembles earlier era race cars but with completely unique construction standards, details and livery. As such these vehicles are unable to be classified in any of the above categories.

1. (UN 1) At the time of this writing (May 2011) but one example is complete.


The foregoing will take effect beginning June 1, 2011, and will be strictly adhered to commencing with the 2011 California Hot Rod Reunion at Bakersfield in October. These guidelines will be subject to continuing review and will be updated on an annual basis published February 1st of each following year.