A Concours d'élégance. Kind of like a beauty pageant for classics. And just like a beauty pageant, it is about so much more than a nice face above a pleasantly sculpted body. It's about quality and perfection down to the last detail.
The pursuit of perfection
For people who register their classic for such a festival, their possession is a pride they cherish. A lot of time and money has often been invested in optimizing the car. It is fair to say that most of the classics offered for appreciation have not been screwed together in drafty sheds by the diligent owners with black edges under the nails. In this segment of the classic world, work is usually outsourced to specialists.
These are companies where they specialize in a brand, type or activity. The project is then headed by the 'contractor', the restoration company. This includes 'subcontractors' such as overhaul companies, transmission specialists, sheet metal workers, painters, people with knowledge of the wiring, the instruments, the woodwork, the leatherwork, the upholstery, the brake specialist, the chromer, the sprayer… you name it.
A pricey business
At the end of the story, an impressive amount of euros is exchanged for a perfect classic. That is why judging classics during such a beauty contest is not just a thing. Because usually the quality of the classics to be judged is almost perfect for the average enthusiast.
Is the tour of three, four or five serious looking men - we have never seen a female juror - then a matter of exaggerated pomposity? No. Because to honestly assess a classic car, you need so much more than general technical knowledge. Whether the panels are nicely mounted and / or the paint is top notch? Whether the window rubbers are good? Is the tire size correct or has the proud owner put his classic on somewhat wider slippers? Do the tires have the right profile?
A jury member already sees this when walking to the classic
Because a good jury member is just like a good veterinarian. A good vet often sees what is wrong when he walks up to a horse
The chrome quality assessment is also not that difficult. But whether all that chrome is in the right place? Whether the factory may have ever thought otherwise. A chrome-plated air filter housing that was simply painted gray at the factory? That just saves you the chance of first place.
Everything has to be right
The correct spark plug wires, the correct spark plug caps, the correct wiring, the correct 'loop' or 'routing' of the wiring and the associated wiring fixing brackets? Not that a car drives less. But attention is paid to it. Just like that all 'technical stickers' must be present and in the right places.
There are also many details in the interior that matter. Details such as the stitching of the seats, the right buttons in the right places on the dashboard? Not to mention the originality of the dashboard itself. Because should it be made of steel plate, aluminum, wood or veneered?
In the trunk, the presence of the original tools - and even there are books written about it - is also appreciated. And that was just a quick look from front to back.
Then the owner is usually also asked if he wants to start the car ...
Preparing a classic for competition is an expensive matter.
But perfection costs money.
And such a competition? Well, that's usually just a well-arranged day. A pleasant social event among like-minded people. And actually there are only winners.
The quest for perfection. And casual cosiness
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