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What makes a 400 point car?


zulaytr
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I recently talked with another member who has just returned from the AGNM and he talked about going against a ‘400’ point car in his class so he did not obtain a 1st place status. It would be interesting to receive some feedback from those who have judged at the AGNM level about their approach when judging at that meet. I understand the simple answer is it is a perfect car but it would be interesting to hear what you think separates the 400 point car from the others. I guess I am asking where the level of importance falls. Accurate presentation or detail? The bottom line is I am trying to find out what is really important at that level and what the general judging philosophy is for the AGNM cars. I am sure this is something that comes about from judging many shows over time so hopefully you can provide some insight to a member who is relatively new.

Thanks for your comments

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I am a relatively new judge. I have not judged at Grand National Meets yet, but I have a Senior Grand National 1929 Model A Ford. THe "400 point car" is simply one that looks like it came (or could have come) from the factory. In most classes, It can have the minor imperfections that routinely come in normal production cars.

Most cars on the showfield have paint better than original. There are No extra points for that, and there are no points lost for that.

In my limited experience it is the little items that make the difference. If you look at a well restored car, you see authentic period appearing wiring connectors, you see correct appearing hose clamps. The washers under bolts are correct, with correct finish. The spark plugs appear correct, the bolts appear correct without any incorrect modern grade markings. If it came with bias ply tires, it does not have radial tires on it.

All of those hundreds or thousands of small details are precise. That is probably what really separates cars in that level of judging. It is a car that has been restored the way it came from the factory instead of one that was put together with what somebody liked or had lying around the garage.

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I recently talked with another member who has just returned from the AGNM and he talked about going against a ‘400’ point car in his class so he did not obtain a 1st place status. It would be interesting to receive some feedback from those who have judged at the AGNM level about their approach when judging at that meet. I understand the simple answer is it is a perfect car but it would be interesting to hear what you think separates the 400 point car from the others. I guess I am asking where the level of importance falls. Accurate presentation or detail? The bottom line is I am trying to find out what is really important at that level and what the general judging philosophy is for the AGNM cars. I am sure this is something that comes about from judging many shows over time so hopefully you can provide some insight to a member who is relatively new.

Thanks for your comments

I'm not the judging expert (and until the issue with my credits gets resolved, I won't even be a judge), but a 400 point car is considered the perfect car. I have seen cars score a 398, and I've seen cars score 399's, but from time to time there are 400 point cars.

Without knowing about the particular situation, it may not be about a 400 point car, it very well may be about a 5 point spread. AACA does not divulge scores, but bear in mind that the difference between a First Grand National and a Second Grand National is the 5 point spread.

Case in point, my father and I were out at the last Annual Grand National Meet with our fire truck. We had two other fire trucks in our class as competition. After the Judging was over we won a First Grand National and the other two fire trucks won a second Grand National Award. Our fire truck is not a 400 point vehicle. But if by chance we scored a 398, and the other two trucks scored a 392, then the other trucks both lose. My father and I didn't intentionally go out to Kansas to ruin the hopes of two other truck owners, but we got our truck as good as we could possibly get it so that in the event that "a ringer" (what I call a 400 point truck) showed up, we could still be good enough to compete with the best truck in class. As fate had it, we ended up being the ringer. Had we left our truck home, there would've been two fire trucks win a First Grand National instead of just us.

The second best truck could've only scored 6 points less than we did, or the second best truck could've only scored the points needed for a second Grand National Award. Without knowing the scores, I don't know, but I do know that the other two trucks scored within 5 points of one another.

Irregardless of points, the awards are awarded based on the best car in class minus 10 for a First Junior or Senior Award, and minus 5 points for a First AGNM. Your friend may have only been 6 points away from winning a Grand National Award but because of one thing wrong on his vehicle, and a near perfect car in his class prevented them from winning their award. Being that the difference between a Senior and a First Grand National is only 5 points more, I'd say that 5 point spread got him more than anything else. The good thing is that if your friend pulled a Second AGNM, I'd ask for the highlighted judging sheet, and then see if they can squeeze another point or two out of their car. That may be all that it takes to win the next time out.

I can feel your pain. My father and I fell victim of the same thing at the AGNM back in 2004. We replaced every piece of glass in the car (there were some fine scratches in some of the glass), loaded it up and took it to Colorado in 2005 and got our award. In 2006 we did nothing different, we took it to Dover and won a Senior Grand National.

The Beauty of AACA is that the car that beat your friend out of his First AGNM car will never be a factor for him ever again. If he pulled a second, he should be able to make a few improvements, gain a few more points, and then be okay.

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Short answer, attention to detail. I have seen 3 or 4 400 point cars in my judging experience. One stands out. It was a "plain Jane" sports car, likely the least valuable car in the class not in a fancy color, no rare options, just an outstandingly detailed restoration. The attention to detail almost jumped out at you. That's what I look for when judging.

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Well actually in our system EVERY car that enters our system starts out as a 400 point car. In our judging we do not add up but substract from a car that has deficiencies. The car has to be authentic as it came from the factory and has to be restored precisely. The very high point cars all have paid attention to the smallest detail.

Recently there have been a couple of stories written about AACA 400 point cars. Our scores are not to be divulged so take those stories with a grain of salt.

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Back in 1999 I had entered my car at Hershey and was going for a Senior 1st. I had won my class and sent for my judging sheet (they would send them out back then even when you took 1st) so I could see where if any of my deductions were so I could improve to go to Grand Nationals. It was marked on my judging sheet no deductions across it. I was not sure if that meant perfect score or not. Nothing else was checked on the sheet.

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As far as the judging goes the Chief Judge must be at least a Senior Master level judge (25 credits) and approved by the Vice-President of Class Judging.

Further the Team Captain must be at least a Master level judge (10 credits).

The Field Judges must be Master level (10 credits) or higher.

"All Grand National Meet judges will have field judged at least once in the past 2 years, attended a judging school once in the past year and have at least 10 credits prior to the AGNM."

So the requirements to judge at an AGNM are more strict than at a regular meet.

At the first AGNM I judged at my Team Captain was the very well known Benny Bootle. I was judging the exteriors. I was told by Benny to check that the doors, hoods and trunks were properly fitted. That if they came out of the factory misalligned it should have been fixed by then.

Attention to the smallest detail of correct restoration is what wins the award.

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I was told by Benny to check that the doors, hoods and trunks were properly fitted. That if they came out of the factory misalligned it should have been fixed by then.

Attention to the smallest detail of correct restoration is what wins the award.

How do we know that they were fixed by the factory or the dealer??? Most post war cars were sold as fast as they were made and quaility was not "Job 1". I feel judges take deductions for minor problems that were accepted at the factory and dealers. Cars were not built to be judged they were built to be transportation, they need to be judged that way. Overrestored cars have taken over the Factory built cars.

Dale

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How do we know that they were fixed by the factory or the dealer??? Most post war cars were sold as fast as they were made and quaility was not "Job 1". I feel judges take deductions for minor problems that were accepted at the factory and dealers. Cars were not built to be judged they were built to be transportation, they need to be judged that way. Overrestored cars have taken over the Factory built cars.

Dale

I am only telling you what my instructions were from a man well respected within this hobby.

As for how I judge, the vehicles meet or exceed the standards set by the AACA or they don't. Over restored is hard to avoid. I have said it many times, no restoration/paint shop is going to do the sometimes less than perfect job like things came out of the factory. They will be out of business in a heartbeat. They rely on that WOW factor to get more work.

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I agree most body shops want the Wow factor, but the poor guy that does it himself and has a job that comes out looking like the factory did, it looses out because the judges take points off for every little flaw. Not picking on you Shop Rat, but do you get what I am saying? I have seen some very nice home done restorations that don't win because of over restored cars.

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:)Hey,Research,research and did i mention research.Massage EVERY part,piece,nut and bolt so it looks like it's supposed to and you KNOW all this cause you did your research.Put ALL those perfectly restored parts and pieces together CORRECTLY cause you did your research,mix in MUCHO PATIENCE and you will have a 400 point car.Don't forget it's supposed to be FUN.diz:)

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I agree most body shops want the Wow factor, but the poor guy that does it himself and has a job that comes out looking like the factory did, it looses out because the judges take points off for every little flaw. Not picking on you Shop Rat, but do you get what I am saying? I have seen some very nice home done restorations that don't win because of over restored cars.

I know you are not picking on me. And I do get what you are saying. But I can only tell you how I judge. I do not give over restoration any extra credit even mentally. If I see a good original car it gets the credit it deserves. Same for a home done restoration that someone took great care with.

We are told at EVERY judges breakfast....."don't nitpick the vehicles". Some may do that, it is hard to stop it totally. But Team Captains are supposed to keep an eye out for it and stop it if they pick up on it.

Sad to say, one thing that can happen is when a judge is very knowledgeable about a certain make/model/year of vehicle. They can wreck certain vehicles with the extreme way they judge. The truth is, to be fair to all, they should not be judging in classes where there are vehicles they know that well. That level of judging should be reserved for marque club shows where nitpicking is the rule rather than the exception.

Edited by Shop Rat (see edit history)
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It drives me wild when people suggest that the amateur cannot compete with the "high dollar professional restorations". The fact is the amateur restorer has a BIG advantage over the professional. The pro must account and bill for every hour he spends on a restoration whereas the amateur can spent as much time as it takes to do the job perfectly. The amateur can learn whatever skills the pro may have but the pro cannot spend an infinite number of hours getting something "just right". Customers who will allow a shop to bill an unlimited number of hours on a project are few and far between. Sure, pros have experience and tools not readily available to the amateur but what customers are really paying for is PATIENCE, a commodity that is free to the amateur restorer.

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It drives me wild when people suggest that the amateur cannot compete with the "high dollar professional restorations".

DITTO!!!

With enough time, and determination, you can do it. If you don't like the results, do it over.

We (my dad and I) have done it with four different vehicles, three of which were orphan vehicles. If you don't have the means, use the barter system. If you don't have the talent to do something yourself, find someone who has the talent, that can reap the benefit of a talent that you might possess.

Steve Moskowitz is right, every car is a 400 point car, and the deductions are made based on what's wrong. An over restored car doesn't get additional points, and the unrestored car doesn't lose points.

Of course there are always a shortage of judges, and you can ensure for the betterment of the club that other car owners aren't penalized.

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Restorer'32 has it RIGHT!! There are many, many cars at all shows that have outstanding restorations done by the owner himself. Why, because the owner will take the time to research and correctly restore the given component. If he does all the areas himself when he is done there will be a outstanding restoration worthy of the "400 point" (nasty word)award. Also remember the car was basically built with manpower and can be rebuilt with the basic tools available to the restorer today.Enjoy the work, it is much more rewarding then the pile of money thrown at it.

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