The Classic American Car of the Year is a summer-long search for the best American classic car in the UK. From April to September, Classic American magazine attends classic car shows across the UK to find the ‘best of the best’ from across the pond.

Eight shows acts as a ‘heat’ of the Car of the Year competition, with a winning car is chosen from each event, with the winner recieving the 'Car of the Year' trophy, and an invitation into the grand final at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, with Discovery.

Once at the Classic Motor Show the cars are judged by an independent panel that assesses each of the finalists to make their decision and choose who will be the overall champion.

Classic American Magazine

The competition is fierce as the finalists span all forms of Americana, from the huge saloons of the 1930s to the later day cars of pure muscle.

Do you want your Classic American car to be in with a chance of winning? Then visit to see which shows will be hosting one of this year’s heats. Then contact the event organiser to register to enter into their ‘show and shine’ or equivalent to qualify.

You never know, maybe come November, your car will be in the Classic American final at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show and, you could be lifting the trophy on Sunday afternoon when the winner is announced. Good luck!

2019 Finalists

With the first four finalists being revealed, take a read of their fantastic stories that lead them to be in the running to be crowned the 2019 Classic American Car of the Year winner! The remaining finalists will soon be announced...

1965 Chrysler 300L

Stunning heatwave weather meant that this year’s Surrey Street Rodders’ Wheels Day show was inundated with display cars and members of the public. That meant a packed show field and quite a challenge to pick out a car for the inaugural heat of this year’s Kingstown Shipping & RH Insurance Car of the Year competition.

Fortunately Geoff and Jan Mitchell had brought along their stunning 1965 Chrysler 300L, one of Chrysler’s legendary ‘letter cars’ which was awarded the prize.

This California black plate car boasts power windows, leather interior and 360bhp 413 cu in Wedge V8 engine, making it the perfect epitome of a ‘gentleman’s muscle car’.

1962 Ford Thunderbird

Owner Kevin Moss bought the car in March 2017 and has done a lot of work to it since, including an interior retrim and getting the electric top (including all the original solenoids,) to work reliably which utilise much of the retractable technology pioneered on the ’56-’58 Skyliners.

The car was originally ordered new by an American serviceman in Germany and is nicely optioned with leather interior, power-windows and –seats, push-button radio and tinted glass.

Those Kelsey Hayes wheels were a $373 option, but were added later, as was the fibreglass tonneau. Power comes from Ford’s venerable 300bhp big block FE 390 motor, which is hooked up to a three-speed Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission.

Grey T-bird

The first generation Thunderbirds are much loved around the world, and this particular one bears a very special place in the affections of its owner, as it is the same as a Dinky toy version he had when he was a little boy. Brian Forsdike was able to track down this superb example of his ‘dream’ car.

This stunning Gunmetal Grey T-bird features a 312 cu in V8 engine mated to a two-speed Ford-O-Matic auto transmission and boasts power-brakes and –steering, as well as the oh so attractive hardtop with porthole side windows. For ’57 Ford extended the Thunderbird, making it longer and altering the front grille styling. The spare was moved into the trunk and it was the final year for the Thunderbird as a two-seater; in the 1958 Model year it became a four-seater.

1958 Oldsmobile 98

The heat winner of round four of the Kingstown Shipping & RH Insurance Car of the Year competition at the Classic American Stars and Stripes weekend at Tatton Park was this stunningly gorgeous 1958 Oldsmobile 98 four-door hardtop, belonging to Steve Hughes from Conwy, Wales.

What makes this car unique is its totally original condition: It still wears its original paint which has worn through to primer in a few spots and its immaculate interior has survived down to the use of plastic covers throughout the car’s life. One rare option is carries is air conditioning, but it’s the car’s stunning original condition that really is what makes it special… like they say: “It’s only original once!”.

Take a bow heat winner number 5 of the Kingstown Shipping & RH Insurance Car of the Year, which was chosen at the Pre-’50 American Auto Club’s Rally of the Giants show at Blenheim Palace. This stunning 1955 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer belongs to John Miller, who is the editor of the Pre-’50 club’s magazine and a real enthusiast of early ‘forward look’ Mopars. With only 10 thousand miles on the clock, this Dodge is every bit the survivor car, with immaculate tri-colour paintwork and immaculate interior. Fitted with a  Super Red Ram 270cu in V8 motor and two-speed Torqueflite auto ’box, it’s no slouch either.

The winner of heat 6 at the Damn Yankees Summer Slam, held at North Weald was this stunning 1967 Buick Riviera belonging to Nick Barnes from Enfield, Essex.

This California car has had a respray in the original Buick colour of Platinum Mist but retains a stunningly original and unmarked black vinyl interior with immaculate real wood trim. Power comes from Buick’s 360bhp 430 cu in V8 and being Buick’s top line personal luxury offering, it features all the goodies one would expect including air con, power steering and power brakes, Super Turbine auto transmission and of course, that front-wheel-drive which was so revolutionary at the time and shared with sibling GM personal luxury coupes, the Eldorado and Toronado.

The winner of the final heat is a superb 1970 Challenger T/A belonging to Gavin Shaw. Featuring a 340 motor with a six-pack and four-speed manual transmission, it's believed to be 1 of 4 black four-speed T/As out of a total of 26 black T/As. Well done to Gavin and son Ellis for turning out another stunning Mopar, which will surely turn a lot of heads in November.

Gavin’s name may sound familiar. He’s won Car of the Year previously: in 2003 with a Dodge Demon, in 2012 with a blue 1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, and in 2016 with a bronze 1970 ’Cuda 440 six-pack which also won heat one of the Footman James Car of the Year competition.

Join us at the show in November and be part of the celebration crowning the 2019 winner of the competition on Sunday 10th. Book your show tickets today!