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Do AACA judges deduct points for adding safety features to classic cars?

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I am writing an article about classic car safety and wanted to touch on the point of how car show judges handle safety features that have been added to classic cars. Am I correct in saying that AACA will not deduct points if a safety feature has been added to comply with traffic laws?

I appreciate any help on this!

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I'm not a judge, but would bet the answer is that no point would be deducted for safety features added which do not modify the originality of the car.

Thus, adding seat belts or turn signals may not deduct, but changing drum brakes to disc brakes would be considered a modification and thus lose points.

Now let's let the people who really know chime in!!

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Seat belts, turn signals and battery shut off switches are ok "so long as the installation is done in a workmanlike manner in keeping with the design and era of the vehicle, using authentic wiring, and in good taste". Disc brakes, radial tires, halogen headlights and the like are not ok unless the vehicle was originally available with these items. Electric fuel pumps are ok on pre 1946 vehicles if not readily visible. I believe electric starter are now ok on hand cranked vehicles but can't seem to locate this section in the the Judging Guidelines. Had this rule been in effect 20 years ago I would not have this 10" scar running up my arm as a result of attempting to start a reluctant Autocar.

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Thank you both for the input--this helps clear up a lot of questions!

What about head rests? Would installing them or modifying them in a car that would be more suitable to a particular driver (maybe the driver is really tall, for example) be cause for point deductions? It seems like a necessary modification if you wanted to be as safe as possible on the road but when it comes to judging in a competition, it could be an obvious and drastic cosmetic alteration to a vehicle that may not have even previously offered them as an option.

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I'm not a judge, but would bet the answer is that no point would be deducted for safety features added which do not modify the originality of the car.

I'm just curious as to how adding anything that wasn't factory installed (or at least available) to a car - even seat belts - would not modify the originality of the car. It's either original or it isn't. Now, such non-original modifications may be allowed, but they still aren't original.

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Hopefully I can help with clarify this issue. AACA does not allow unlimited changes for "safety items".

Here is the text of the sections of the judging guidelines relating to allowed safety items:

Turn signals and battery shut-off switches are accepted as safety items, so long as the installation is done in a workmanlike manner in keeping with the design and era of the vehicle, using authentic wiring, and in good taste.

Safety glass will be accepted. Replacement glass without the manufacturer’s logo; i.e., PPG, LOF, etc. will be accepted.

Wheel weights will be considered a safety item; therefore there will be no deduction for wheel weights if installed in a workmanlike manner. They may be painted.

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Joe, I understand what you're saying, maybe a better phrase would be "not modify the basic originality of the car". Thus, anything that doesn't modify the basic car itself as it came from the factory. We get into a semantics issue here of course....

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An important point would be to use period parts. I've seen many teens, '20's and '30's cars with added turn signal lights or extra stop lights on the rear.

Nothing is more glaring and ugly than plastic lenses and chrome light housings. [in non-chrome years].

The use of period accessory lights with glass lenses and painted or nickeled housings is not only a safety improvement, but who's to say that something similar was not done to a lot of cars back then for the very same reason: safety.

Greg L

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I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has responded to this thread with all of this great information that helped with the article--I sincerely appreciate it!

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You got it !! and if the interior of the car is a subdued wool broadcloth, in say gray or a gray/brown tweed,, DON'T put lime green, bright yellow or pink lap-belts with fake diamond studded buckles in the car. !!

Some nice subdued gray belts with simple brushed SS buckles will fit in nicely with the interior.

Greg L

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