The men in white coats
‘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