There are a number of organizations that train folk to be judges at car and motorcycle events.  Many people wonder and yet not everyone is always fully aware of what they are looking for.  It can be fairly daunting for a newcomer.  There are different categories have different criteria about what is expected for each car.  You are never going to please all of the judges, but if you know what they may be looking for, you can certainly help increase your chances of coming out well in the car show.

   The first thing they look for, almost to a person, is cleanliness! Clean cars, this is something that most people do not care about category for.  The only time you should ever have a dirty car is if you just participated in a race as part of the car show.  Otherwise, your car should be completely clean.  This means inside and outside and no signs of dirt or debris anywhere.  If you need to spend a few minutes after you arrive ensuring that it is clean and doing a bit of touch up work.

   The quality of the paint job is usually a top issue. Scratches are something to avoid, as are relatively easy to address, as well.  Judges are not impressed by scratches and there is rarely ever a category or prize for most scratched car.  Ensure that the scratches are dealt with appropriately before the car show.  This will help improve your winning chances and the judges are much more likely to pay attention to how your car really looks, rather than their eyes wondering over to the scratches that you left in place.  Polishing goes a long way and try to reduce the swirl marks and tell tale white wax clogs in the seams.  There is a science to repair chips, I hear, which I hope to learn more about soon!                                                       

   When all things are equal, many judges will look to the tires and tire wells.  Many entrants may not realize it, but this says a lot about the way you maintain your car.  They are looking for simply the best; judges are not going to appreciate seeing a year’s supply of mud caked up underneath the wheel well.  They are impressed by immaculately clean cars, not those that need a through detail cleaning.

   Presentation is an important thing to think about. Judges usually like to see something that is unique and creative.  Just because your car was originally the same red color as the other 1 million cars that rolled off the assembly line, looking just like it does not mean it needs to stay red.  Sometimes a new shade or even a completely different color can make a normal and boring car quite unique.  If you have the personality for it a creative paint job can make your car especially memorable.  After all, how many black, blue and red cars do you think the judges will see?  How many do you think they will see that are lime green or even hot pink?  Choose paint color carefully but look for something that is going to be memorable in a good way.

   One critical area to look at is the overall feeling of the car.  Consider what is the unique, but comfortable look for the vehicle and the way it is shown at the event.  Perhaps, look for a few modern touches to make the car unique and enjoyable.  Unless you are just trying to obtain the most unique award, try to keep your car styled around the same as it was originally just better if possible.

   Working to have your car create a memorable and positive impression on the judges is not always easy.  After you participate in a few events and shows, you should start to gain a good bit of ideas on what exactly the judges are looking for and ensure that you are fitting into their needs and wants.  With some practice, you are sure to enjoy the sweet success of winning a few trophies or even a ribbon or two.

   In my next contribution I will link you all to a judges’ grading form that I think is truly workable.


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