Concours Preparation for Beginners (from a quick Google)......
First of all, the following is by no means definitive advice, simply some very basic tips and guidance on the basis of my experience both as a competitor and as a judge. Remember in your own local area you’ll probably have friends who have experience, so speak to them. Also look back at previous Couriers (or borrow a friends) and you’ll find lots of useful advice from previous years. Finally if you are really keen, I would recommend a book called The Complete Book of Concours, by Ken Hill. This covers preparation, presentation and judging and is published by Temple Press (1987), although quite old is still useful.
So where do you begin to prepare for concours? You’ve finished your restoration or you’ve just acquired that car you’d always wanted and you’re very proud of it and you want to show it off. The first thing to do is clean the car thoroughly before going to the event. How far you go is entirely up to you.
Go around everything: body work, interior, engine bay, wheel arches, suspension, wheels, floor panels, exhaust and boot. Imagine the car is going to take a bride to her wedding and you want it looking its best and a thing you can be proud of. Now I’ve seen cars that have mirrors placed strategically under floor panels which are as polished and immaculate as the body work; this is where a little pragmatism has to come in and for some it’s a case of making sure it’s not caked in mud and is presentable, so use your commonsense and do as much as is realistically achievable.
The more you can do in advance, i.e. cleaning the interior, boot and under the bonnet, the better as this will save you some work at the show, however you’ll still have plenty to do at the event as a result of the journey; flies, mud and rain all conspire to undo your hard work!
At the show systematically go around the car and clean and polish the body work, clean and buff the bright work, look out for smears which might not at first be obvious. Clean the glass and for convertible owners remember the hood, clean water is good, but there are proprietary cleaners available. The judges will need to see the hood, so put it up ready for inspection. Don’t forget the interior, the state of the inside of the car is very important, so remember carpets, seats, dash boards and one place which is always a favourite for judges to look, is in the ash tray. The place where you like to keep spare fuses, washers and all those assorted odds and ends which you need somewhere safe to keep them, remove them and make sure it’s clean.
From experience its quite surprising the number of even experienced competitors that still forget about the inside of the car and leave cans of drink, CDs, jackets, camping equipment and all manner of rubbish, so go around an make sure its clear of all debris as a final check.
Under the bonnet, make sure major castings are clean, relevant shiny bits are polished, hoses clean and remove as much as possible any runs of oil and dirt. Again you can use all sorts of cleaning products which are meant for this job, the choice is up to you, but there’s no substitute for a bit of elbow grease and lots of effort.
Remember the wheels and tyres and relevant wheel trims; a nice clean car can be let down by scruffy wheels and tyres. Judges do look for obvious things like do you have the same tyres on each wheel, different makes can loose you a few points. Under the car; again this is entirely up to you in terms of how far you go but at least make sure it’s free of obvious dirt. No one is going to inspect with white gloves but attention to detail will always stand you in good stead.
Finally the boot area; remember to clean this and where you have exposed paint make sure it’s polished, carpets or mats are clean and your spare tyre is also clean and serviseable. This is a good place to display your toolkit and handbook, which the judges will want to see. It’s also useful to display relevant history and restoration information. Although time will be limited, the judges will be interested to know what work you’ve done and will want to reward those owners who have clearly done a lot of work themselves. You need to remember however, the judges will need access to the boot floor and spare wheel to inspect them. Whilst chatting to the judges use this as an opportunity to pick up tips about how to improve the presentation of you car.
1999 GTV - PH2 3.0 V6 - Vela Blue - 'Blue Style Momo' - Aero Pack
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