Answer: I’m happy to see this trend. The “Preservation Class” is for vehicles that are predominantly original and un-restored, in other words…”Survivors.” Regular readers know that these are some of my favorite collector cars. They come in all shapes and sizes, and represent every auto manufacturer that ever existed. Prices range from a few thousand dollars up to a few million dollars, so there is something for everyone.
As of now, there is no standard set of criteria from one sanctioning body to another. For example, the Oldsmobile Club of America has very strict criteria for their “Unrestored/Original Class”: “Vehicles that are at least 25 years old and have retained original features as manufactured such as paint, upholstery, engine compartment, etc., essentially as delivered. Allowable exceptions are replacement of safety items such as tires and brakes. If ANY paint work, re-chroming or upholstery changes are made to the vehicle, the vehicle would be classified in the proper Stock/Restored Stock Class.” Note that the vehicle must be completely original with the exception of safety items, with no tolerance for paint work or any other restorative work.
On the other hand, Bloomington Gold is a bit more lenient in their criteria for a Corvette to become SURVIVOR® certified. The criteria is as follows: “Is over 20 years old, can pass a road test over 20 miles, retains finishes good enough to use as a color guide for restoration of a car just like it, remains over 50% unrestored, un-refinished, or unaltered.”
Other sanctioning bodies have requirements that are similar, as the spirit of the “Preservation” or “Survivor” class is to encourage un-restored cars of a certain caliber to remain that way…un-restored.