By John Carlson, Chief Judge, Louisville Concours d'Elegance
Learning how to judge a car is a life long journey. It takes a keen eye and many hours of judging experience to acquire the necessary skills to become a good judge. Diplomacy is also a key ingredient. In judging circles it is often referred to as "field manner." The Louisville Concours d'Elegance values its participants and views them as the most important ingredient on the show field.
The judges at the Louisville Concours will be looking for authenticity and quality workmanship in each area of the vehicle. They will deduct points for the areas that are not authentic. They will also be judging the proper fit and finish of the vehicle components. Each vehicle will be started by the owner or handler and the lights and gauges etc. will be checked for functionality. The judges will use a 100 point deduction system which is divided into categories that include body and paint finish, bright work, engine compartment detail, upholstery, chassis finish, window glass, etc. Each area will be examined for the correct components as well as the proper installation and finish.
The question is often asked, "Can a judge know everything about a particular Marque?" The answer is yes if that Marque has been their particular interest and passion. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible for the judges to know everything about many Marques; however, they certainly know what is appropriate for various time frames. As an example, they know that electric cooling fans were not used in early 'Antique' cars. They know that electrician's tape and plastic zap straps were not used. They know that certain nuts and bolts and other fasteners were used in very specific time frames. Judges know what is incorrect for specific manufacturing eras.
The selection of the winners in each class is determined by how accurate and well presented each vehicle is. When the judging process has been concluded, each judge will have a discretionary additional five points to add to their final score. These points may be added to the vehicles final score based on the judge's interpretation of Elegance or the Presence of the vehicle.
The class winners will be determined by the average of the overall scores and will be awarded first, second and third places. Only class winners will be eligible for the Best of Show Award.