The men in white coats

VANTAGE - - Bulletin Amoc Events -

‘WOULD YOU LIKE to be a guest judge for one of the classes at the Spring Con­cours?’ asked AMOC’S Nikki Wright. But of course, I replied, think­ing to my­self: how oner­ous could it be? Glance over a few pretty As­tons, stick a rosette on the shini­est one, then a com­pli­men­tary glass of fizz be­fore a very nice AMOC lunch. It doesn’t turn out quite like that…

What I very quickly re­alise is that the en­trants – even for the rel­a­tively re­laxed Pride of Own­er­ship class, which is the one I’m help­ing judge – take it all very se­ri­ously. But not half as se­ri­ously as the judges.

How it works is, each car starts with a nom­i­nal hun­dred marks, then a mark is de­ducted for any­thing that of­fends the judges’ eyes. This can in­clude any­thing from a non-orig­i­nal gear­knob to specks of dirt un­der the car­pets, or dust on the in­side of the wheel rims. In­side the boot and un­der the bon­net are ex­pected to be equally pris­tine. We’ll even be in­spect­ing un­der the fuel filler flaps.

This, I can’t help think­ing, is a tad harsh on some of the cars that clock up big mileages in general ev­ery­day use, where oth­ers are very much ‘show cars’. But rules is rules. And af­ter sev­eral hours of lift­ing car­pets, run­ning fingers around whee­larches and even peer­ing at the un­der­side of these clearly much-loved cars, there’s no deny­ing that the even­tual win­ner, Richard Aczel’s 2005 V8 Van­tage pro­to­type, is su­perbly well pre­pared. Hats off to all the en­trants – and the judges – but right now I’m off to in­spect a nice glass of Tait­tinger… Peter To­ma­lin

From left Reg­u­lar con­cours judges Tom West­ley Jr and Ge­off Dis­che talk our man To­ma­lin through the finer points of judg­ing

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