thej63

Preparing my car for it's first AACA meet (Hershey 2018) - in need of some guidance

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My wife and I recently (almost 2 years ago) joined the AACA upon buying our first classic, a 1951 Kaiser.

 

I've never entered an AACA sanctioned event before and know there are a few things that I need to get corrected before Hershey gets here: remove the previous owner's dual exhaust and glasspac, swap my yellow plug wires for black, remove battery labels, install period correct radiator cap.

 

I would say the paint is roughly 8.5 out of 10 and the chrome is the same. Interior would be a solid 9. I know I'm going to take a hit for having radials but such is life.

 

My questions would be:

- Should I take my chances and enter the 50/51 class (26c I believe) or should this be entered in the "driver" class?

- Am I correct in that a Junior can only be obtained in the 50s class and not the driver category?

- Someone told me that if the car is trailered I take an instant point deduction...that doesn't sound right considering how many cars I've seen towed to Hershey. I know it has to pull onto the field under its own power which isn't an issue.

- If there are aspects of the car that may come into question am I able to bring data that would back it up? would the judge question me about it or would I just take a deduction under an assumption for it without being able to back it up?

- Beyond the need to detail it within an inch of its life, any pointers or suggestions that anyone can offer that has entered a meet before?

 

I appreciate any help or suggestions that could be offered.

 

Thanks!

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Edited by thej63 (see edit history)

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First congratulations on the car!!  It looks great...

 

My questions would be:

- Should I take my chances and enter the 50/51 class (26c I believe) or should this be entered in the "driver" class?  No wrong answer, the point deduction for radials has been lowered but you are competing against cars that possibly are freshly restored.  DPC is a great class and your car would be welcomed there.  Getting second or third junior is a nice reward.  Just depends what is important to you.

- Am I correct in that a Junior can only be obtained in the 50s class and not the driver category? Yes.  DPC award is a plaque with your name and car engraved on it. 

- Someone told me that if the car is trailered I take an instant point deduction...that doesn't sound right considering how many cars I've seen towed to Hershey. I know it has to pull onto the field under its own power which isn't an issue. Ah NO!!

- If there are aspects of the car that may come into question am I able to bring data that would back it up? would the judge question me about it or would I just take a deduction under an assumption for it without being able to back it up?  Our judges are taught that if they are unsure of an item to ask the owner for factory documentation

- Beyond the need to detail it within an inch of its life, any pointers or suggestions that anyone can offer that has entered a meet before?  The judging manual is online on this website.  Read it and it will help.  One thing an AACA President taught me in the 80's was that every member no matter how rich or poor has the opportunity to detail his car for the show field.  Not doing so, in his opinion, was an affront to the judging system.  A lot of points are lost by owners not using a sharp eye to fix minor rust, paint chips and cleaning especially in the engine compartment.  Just spending the time to detail will be rewarding.  MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT FORGET YOUR FIRE EXTINGUISHER AND MAKE SURE YOU HAVE FUN SHOWING YOUR PRIDE AND JOY.  Trophies are nice but your enjoyment of your car and sharing it with others will be much more rewarding!  Look forward to seeing it this fall...

 

 

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Steve answered your questions so I'll just put in my 2 cents.  Your car looks nice in pictures.  I would get a copy of the judging manual and fix those easy things.  Hose clamps, valve caps, stress marks on bolts and things like that cost more points than you can imagine.  Like the man said, spend the time detailing on show day, it pays off.  In my opinion,  I would try to go through judging first and try to fix any shortcomings.  If you decide that it is too expensive or time consuming you can change it up and go for DPC.   Both are very rewarding and fun ways to go.

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I might add, if you are familiar with someone who is familiar with judging have him give your car a look over. He doesn't have to be an expert in your make/model to see obvious things you might have missed. When I had my 39 pick up judged I spent a solid week making every little thing correct and detailing it. After the show I had the occasion to chat with one of the judges. He asked why I had left the big bright red plastic wire connector on the starter in plain view. I was astounded. In the whole time I spent detailing I NEVER noticed the thing. To any other casual observer it jumped right out. 10 seconds with a black marker would have saved the gig it incurred.......Bob

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You may have one more option if your car is basically unrestored.  The HPOF class (Historical Preservation of Original Features) may be a choice.  Item's can be replaced as maintenance, but certification is based on the unrestored condition of the car.  A repaint is a deduction as well a rechromed parts or a new interior.  Items replaced as maintenance items should match original parts.  This means belts, hoses, clamps, etc. 

Looking forward to seeing your car at Hershey.

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Welcome to the AACA Discussion Forum. You have already received some great advice from others. I would also suggest that you join a local AACA Region or Chapter in your area. In the local club, you can probably find an experienced AACA Judge. An experienced judge will often be happy to go over your car with you and identify any minor easily fixed issues that you can correct before you go to a show for judging. An experienced Judge can also give you his or her best opinion, based on close observation of your car and a discussion of your goals, about the choice on whether you want to enter the car in  Class Judging, Driver Particpation Class, or Historical Preservation of Original Features.  It is difficult to give you advice on that without a direct look at the car and a conversation. A local judge can do that for you. 

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One question I would ask is "how important is it to you that you win a trophy at Hershey?".  The reason I ask that is that you could always enter it in class judging and see how you do and realize you might come home empty handed or might be surpised and win an award.  Realize (1) as Steve said,  you will be going again cars with fresh restorations and (2) Hershey is probably one of the hardest places to win because of the large amount of cars in your class combined with the freshly restored cars that show up there and these can high point you out of an award.  That could cost you a 1st Junior or maybe even any award as worst case scenario but you will know how your car will do in class judging.   Another option is to enter it in DPC where you will most likely "win" an award.   

 

Bob

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First of all, PLEASE, DO NOT, take what I am going to say as a knock on the judging at Hershey. I know they have a very difficult job. Next year will be my 50th year attending the show. I have seen Model A Fords and V-8 Fords, the vehicles that I own and am associated with, that have AACA First Place Badges. Some of those vehicles, if judged by MARC, MAFCA or the V-8 Club might not even place. The point I am trying to make is, that if you really want to know how your vehicle stacks up, you should have it judged by the Kaiser Club, if there is one.

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Also remember that the judging is a points system, not a first, second and third. Its a little complicated but if one car in your class totally knocks the socks off the judges, it means all the others in that class have to score well on the judging sheet to get any award. Similarly if the best car is a little worn, the bar is a little lower. So it could also be that all the cars in a class score a first or they all could get a third. 

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What I liked best about owning an antique car was the ability to add some low cost sweat equity to it and really enhance its appearance.  There are many things you can do, a lot of which have been already mentioned, to take the car to the next level of authenticity and enhance its show status.  Clips, wire colors, paint and chrome detail and especially under the hood appearance all add to making your car stand out from the rest.  I really like your choice of car, not one that is very common to see at most auto shows.

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46 Woodie you are correct.  Marque judging should be more difficult...should be and usually is.  It is not always though.  I have personally seen cars that have won awards at single marque clubs that would not take a third place Junior at an AACA meet.  I judged once along with two real experienced judges in a single marque meet and saw the worst car I have ever seen on a show field being turned down by us and end up getting a first place award that night as the chief judge concluded he was the only car in that class and deserved it.  He did not!  I no longer am active in that club.  In the end most judging (NCRS and some other judging are the exception) is subject to who the judges are on a given day.  AACA has the tough job of judging thousands of makes at pretty large meets with a 1,000 different judges in the system.  I am one of those and if you think I know everything in the world about a 1902 Knox. a 1908 Berkshire, etc. you are mistaken!  We do try the best we can to get it right.

 

In the end, most of us who have been in the hobby awhile have learned that awards are fun to seek especially if you are trying to validate your work but in the end the friendships, enjoyment of the cars and all that "stuff" are the true reward.  Showing a car at Hershey is special...just the drive onto the field with thousands looking on is worth the "price of admission."  The huge crowds that admire the cars will surely complement this car when they see it.

 

There is a very active Kaiser club and if you seek out folks like Rick Lay (I am willing to bet he will stop by to see your car) they will be happy to get to know you.

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Steve's comments are very true, but I would add that AACA judging is unique in that we have a core of judges who attend many of our National Meets each year and help to make the judging standards consistent from one National Meet to another.  Here's to our core of roving "gipsy" judges, who make this system of multiple National Meets work.

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To me, part of the thrill of being at Hershey is showing off your car.  Have always enjoyed standing beside show telling the stories.  You can do that in any ot the AACA categories including class judging.  That said, it's always great to park among similar vehicles.  I've got a 1914 Model T that won a 1st Jr so long ago they didn't even put the year on the plaque (1965).  It's a nice car but we tour with it.  To be competitive in class judging I should really do some more restoration work on it, but I'm not interested in the awards so much as the fun on having it on the field, so I've entered it into the right class but choose not to have it judged.  As Steve and others have mentioned though, go ahead and enter it into judging, learn more about how it's judged and work from there to make needed corrections to upgrade it if you want to.   Whatever award you get will be nice, and you'll be proud to have your name called at the banquet and get the award presented in front of others.

Terry

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I think the best advice is to have someone that has put their car through the judging process take a look at your car.  They can offer you very constructive criticism that will save you a lot of points.  As was mentioned, the judging manual is a big help in picking up on some of the things that cost points. For instance:  Valve caps - make sure they are correct for your car.  Hose clamps - same thing.  Spark plugs - correct color for your era.  Headlights -   Both must match by brand.  Battery - Get one that is "of the era", meaning not a bright green Interstate or Optima.  It doesn't have to be an exact duplicate of the original, it just has to look proper for the time-period.  Get rid of non-factory floor mats and license plate surrounds, badges, etc.

Cleanliness is critical.  Your goal is to make it look like it just came out of the factory or showroom.  Don't forget the undercarriage!  

With regards to the hose clamps, plugs, caps, etc. - Remember these are the items that really cost points.  If your valve stem caps are incorrect, you've just lost 5 points (wheels plus spare tire).  Plugs - 6 or 8 points there.  Hose clamps - could be 7 or 8 points as well. 

If you were to tell us where you live, I'm sure someone would gladly assist you in the process.  Otherwise, seek out a local AACA club to get that 2nd set of eyes.  Most importantly, enjoy the process and have fun.  Be thrilled if you receive a 3rd Junior the first time around. Afterwards, write for the scoring sheet which will give you a general idea of where the points were deducted.  You won't find your total score as that is not released, but you will get valuable information for your next round of fun.

Feel free to pm me if you want any tips.  I'm sure many others would offer the same.

Best of luck.

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Wow, thank you all so much for your responses. I didn't expect to get this many. As much fun as it is to win something, I'm not expecting a whole lot in terms of placing for the show. There are so many things that I've picked out about the car that I'd like to have fixed which the average joe at a local car show probably wouldn't even notice (the majority of it paint related) but can't bring myself to put the $ out for it yet. I've been seeing this more as a baseline for myself to see where the car falls...or rather...how far it falls haha. 

 

I've tried figuring out which PA chapter I should be looking for but I'm not 100% certain. My wife and I live on the northeast edge of philadelphia (in the abington/willow grove area) but the car is currently being housed near new hope. 

 

For the most part, it's such an obscure car/brand that I just want it to share some space with others of it's make. 

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5 hours ago, thej63 said:

Wow, thank you all so much for your responses. I didn't expect to get this many. As much fun as it is to win something, I'm not expecting a whole lot in terms of placing for the show. There are so many things that I've picked out about the car that I'd like to have fixed which the average joe at a local car show probably wouldn't even notice (the majority of it paint related) but can't bring myself to put the $ out for it yet. I've been seeing this more as a baseline for myself to see where the car falls...or rather...how far it falls haha. 

 

For the most part, it's such an obscure car/brand that I just want it to share some space with others of it's make. 

 

It's a lovely Kaiser.  I made some inquiries about a very similar Kaiser advertised for sale around two years ago; it may have been this one.  Either way, it's a great-looking and special car.  Sounds like you're enjoying it, too, which is the most important part.

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15 hours ago, 1935Packard said:

 

It's a lovely Kaiser.  I made some inquiries about a very similar Kaiser advertised for sale around two years ago; it may have been this one.  Either way, it's a great-looking and special car.  Sounds like you're enjoying it, too, which is the most important part.

 

Thank you. We'll have owned it for 2 years in November so it's quite possible. We've ran into at least one or two people so far that have told us the same thing. We're considering entering it in a vintage road rally in august. It's a lot of fun.  

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