Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Received an interesting call from an acquaintance concerning his showing of his Ford at Hershey. While the car is certainly not "show" quality it still received a First Junior and while happy about the reward this gentleman was also somewhat dismayed that AACA standards have slowly but inexoribly fallen over the years. It had been many years since he had shown at an AACA National Meet and entered his car just for fun, assuming he would win a Third at best. Does anyone else think the bar has been lowered too much? As judges we are told not to "nit pick" the cars but I personally want an AACA award to still mean something. It does seem that many, many Firsts are awarded and relatively few Seconds or Thirds. Comments?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree, I too, want the judging awards to mean something but I also agree with the statement of, do not nit pick the cars to death. I guess we are trying to achieve that balance between the two. I have not been judging real long and mainly judge the muscle car classes. All the teams I have been on so far I really do beleive we did a better good job, as the first junior and senior award winners really stood out from the others and not every one was a first junior or senior winner. We ended up with seconds and thirds as well as no award. I do not know how the other classes go.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've given this very point a lot of thought. 1= restorations are to a better level than they used to be. That could explain the number of First places. 2= There have always been vehicles that "slipped through the cracks", this would seem to be the case with the Ford in question. 3= Sometimes there are marquee judges on teams and sometimes not. The team with the less knowledgeable people will experience "softer" judging. 4= Hershey is so big I don't think the cars get looked at as closely as a Meet with say, 300 vehicles. Some could be just plain judges fatigue from the shear number of vehicles. As always, the above is simply my opinion and nothing more.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The number of cars in a class, and the condition of the rest of those cars makes quite a difference. What class was the car in? Some classes are "easier" than others based on the different level of competition that you generally find in some of the different classes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The car in question was a '36 Ford Phaeton. The point is, as the general level of restoration at AACA meets rises should we be more discriminating when awarding trophies? We all have seen cars going for the Senior where we look at each other and ask "How did this car get a First Junior?". It seems to be happening more and more. AACA already has the reputation of being the easiest venue in which to win an award. Is this good for the long term health of the club? Enquiring minds want to know.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I tend to agree with the notion that the judging is being dumbed down. I don't know if it's "policy" to make more entrants happy and encourage membership or if it's a function of fewer marque knowledgeable judges. Personally I don't think it's a good thing. I noticed I'm letting more minor things slip by on my latest project. Things that I would have chased before I sometimes now say "why bother".................Bob

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you look at the printed listing of cars competing for First Junior in Class 28B at Hershey, you will find that there was no competition listed. Apparently one other car slipped in after the list was printed as the meet results show another car (not printed in the program) that received a 2nd Junior. So, your friend's car could have received as few as 365 points and still received the First Junior. If there had been several other nice cars in the class, your friend may have very well received a 2nd, or 3rd, or nothing at all. It all depends on how many others are competing and the quality of those restorations.

I have a friend who went to a few different shows and finally ended up with his car on a rainy showfield with no competition in his class and squeaked out a First Junior. He never plans to show his car again because he is convinced that he could never obtain a Senior with that car. He is probably right. It is a nice car for Touring, but it is not really a competitive show car.

There are occasionaly some cars that have received awards that surprise me. There are also some cars that don't receive awards that they should have received because of nit-picky judging. That is the problem with the human element of judging. It can't be perfect, we just need to do our best to strive for the best job of objective judging that we can produce.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I tend to agree with the notion that the judging is being dumbed down. I don't know if it's "policy" to make more entrants happy and encourage membership or if it's a function of fewer marque knowledgeable judges. Personally I don't think it's a good thing. I noticed I'm letting more minor things slip by on my latest project. Things that I would have chased before I sometimes now say "why bother".................Bob

I have been judging since 1990 and haven't seen the standards change to "dumbing down" judging. What I have seen is some judges being very reluctant to take points off of other people's vehicles that are in about the same condition as a vehicle owned by the judge in question.

Years ago I had a guy on my team that came back three times with a 0 for the chassis. We had a conversation about it and he admitted that he "tended to be lenient" as his car wasn't perfect and he would feel badly if he took points off of other people's vehicles for the same issues. He was told "Not on my team". From then on he judged like he should have in the first place. It is part of the Team Captain's job to make sure that their field judges do not over or under judge the vehicles in their assigned class.

We are cautioned not to nit pick the vehicles but it does happen. As some have stated when a judge really knows a year/make/model that vehicle can get hit hard and the others in the class won't. In both Bill's and my opinions experts like that should not be put into classes where they have the chance to over judge a vehicle.

Many times I have pointed out that one point can make the difference between the award someone seeks and the award they get. Letting even one point slip can cost the owner.

Edited by Shop Rat
Clarify a sentence. (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Jeff, it happens. The restorer and the owner are always far more critical than judges. I know every fault of my car and it is easy for me to pick my car to death. Given the number of judges we have, the number of cars we have and all sorts of weather it is amazing that we get it right more often than not.

You are seeing one car, maybe even a few that you or others feel got an undeserving award. What you do not see is what the person who is VP of Class Judging goes through with people who did NOT win. There are a lot of those people too.

Our judging system wants to get it right, period. No dumbing down but no 45 minute super critical judging either.

I only joined AACA in 1985 but in my 25 years I have seen cars that I questioned how in the world they got an award but have seen the same thing in all other clubs. My personal motto is that I would rather see some one get an award he might not deserve versus someone not getting the award they rightly deserved. It is a hobby and not a matter of life and death. Your friend simply could refuse the trophy or not display the badge if he feels strongly about the matter.

This debate will never go away. Sort of like calling balls and strikes for an umpire!

Edited by Steve Moskowitz (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

"Our judging system wants to get it right, period. No dumbing down but no 45 minute super critical judging either."

You have point, Steve, re an owner knowing where all the warts are. I am glad to hear that it's not policy to just "give away" more awards to encourage participation..........Bob

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have often wondered about the "First" awards given out when only one, or two, cars attend a meet in any one judging class.

If the cars that DO show up in any class do not meet basic judging standards for that "First or second" they should not be given these awards .

I have attended a non-AACA local show where a 57 T-bird won the top "sportscar award" without having any outside door handles and inside door panels !

It was quite clear that this T- bird was still in mid restoration !

At another non-AACA show an older neighbor was asked to be a show judge...

He had NEVER attended a car show before !

When I asked how he would make his judging decision he replied~

" OH- I guess I will just pick the car I like the best ! "

This is no way to judge restored cars !

IT is not a popularity contest...

Judging at these above shows was a real joke !

In my experience the NCRS Corvette judges are the REAL NIT-PICKERS !

Proper factory chalk & crayon marks, engine & chassis paint drips, on & on etc.

These Corvette folks are the real finatics !

I don't find having any Corvettes that I have owned & NCRS (National Corvette Restorers Association) judged to be any fun at all !

Your car is just picked-apart.

No fun at all !

AACA judged shows are the BEST I have seen !

They are the most fair I have seen.

AACA judging is at most times more than fair in my opinion ...

99% of the time.

It's possible that some incorrect awards are given on a few rare occasions.

Mostly because few cars were in a judging class

AACA Judges do their best...

They do not know all car makes ...

They are only human !

Most times they are right "On Target" !

It is a really tough job to judge all cars fairly.

The job of a judge is a hard one.

Some folks will get very angry with you.

In some ways it is a thankless job.

You can lose quite a few friends being a car show judge ~

I know...

I have been there & done that !

(Not for for the AACA)

Just my two cents !

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites
..... If the cars that DO show up in any class do not meet basic judging standards for that "First or second" they should not be given these awards . .....

About three years ago I put together a handout that I give to the Field Judges when I am the Team Captain. It tells them what I feel their job is that day.

This the the very first line of that list.

First and foremost, it is our duty to fairly and equally appraise the authenticity and workmanship of the vehicles the owners have brought to this show. Based on the work we do, awards will be given to worthy vehicles and their owners. We are not here to give awards to vehicles that do not meet the standards set by the AACA.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the best "rule" AACA judges have is: "If you don't KNOW don't deduct". We know the AACA does not have time to judge like a marquee club. I belong and show in a marquee club where five guys are on your car for 40 min. Then, they go over the score sheet with you and you must sign off on it before it is official. If AACA did that it would take a month to finish Hershey! I have been fortunate enough to have success in both clubs. I feel the AACA has a good overall system for what the club is. However, one dosen't have to be an expert on a make to see filth. Some cars I have seen get by should not have won the award just because of appearance and lack of cleaning.

Link to post
Share on other sites
The restorer and the owner are always far more critical than judges. I know every fault of my car and it is easy for me to pick my car to death. Given the number of judges we have, the number of cars we have and all sorts of weather it is amazing that we get it right more often than not.
Steve is right. Every time I hear things like this I think about the story Joe Vicini once told me.

Joe Vicini told me a story about how one time a judging team came to judge a car and the owner had already filled out the judging sheet. Joe told me how the vehicle owner judged the car harder than the judging team did.

Understand that anyone who owns a vehicle has spent hundreds (or thousands) of hours on their vehicle and know every fault that exists with their vehicle.

The judging team can only spend a maximum of 10 minutes judging each vehicle, so naturally they won't catch every fault either.

My father and I have agreed time and time again that if you waxed a car before you bought it (new or used) you'd never buy it.

It isn't about judge's getting lax, it's about exposure time. Also bear in mind that AACA doesn't award or deduct extra points for over restoration, and most vehicles are restored to the level far beyond the condition of what they were when they left the factory.

I've never had the means to be able to review scores on any given vehicle, but I have been told that as a rule, most vehicles in AACA score fairly consistent every time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

An additional thought. If judges were able to walk around the vehicle and mark down deductions as we went, without having to be concerned about anyone being around to see the scoring sheet, it would most likely be a more accurate score. But we are instructed to walk around the vehicle and then go away from where it and the owner are and mark down the deductions. It is easy to forget something doing this. Especially on a vehicle with LOTS :eek: of deductions. :) But better to under judge that over judge and cost an owner an award they deserve for their hard work.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not all judges are experts.I have to ask for help at every show.I have restored one car,but I don't judge in that class.I look at each show as a learning experience.It is hard to become an expert on many cars,I mean where do you go to become familiar with say a 1926 RR. Love this hobby and look forward to Hershey every year

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think with the unusual, rare, and obscure cars the owners really must be able to back-up their restorations will all the documentation that they can find.

A file folder should be kept with the car at the time of judging to help document any disputed items , or questions the judges may have.

Judges are not experts on every brand or model of car.

Judges cannot know everything about every car~

They too also like to learn !

As I have said before judges are only human~

And human's can make errors; especially on rare & unusual cars that they may not have seen before.

You must be able to properly back-up your restorations with proof of what really was original .

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites
I think with the unusual, rare, and obscure cars the owners really must be able to back-up their restorations will all the documentation that they can find.

A file folder should be kept with the car at the time of judging to help document any disputed items , or questions the judges may have.

Judges are not experts on every brand or model of car.

Judges cannot know everything about every car~

They too also like to learn !

As I have said before judges are only human~

And human's can make errors; especially on rare & unusual cars that they may not have seen before.

You must be able to properly back-up your restorations with proof of what really was original .

Very well said Silverghost.

Whenever I am a Team Captain, if I need to ask for documentation, I always thank the owner for helping to further the knowledge of the team. Those four (sometimes a team is short a member so the Captain judges also) or five members will take that information to other teams they are on.

A friend of mine from these forums helped an owner by getting in touch with an expert about a certain vehicle. It was confirmed that the questioned items were indeed correct. The team as a whole was then educated about that vehicle. Then low and behold the same vehicle came to another meet my friend was on the team for, and another group was educated about the vehicle.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think AACA standards have change much, but the quality of restorations in general have improved. 30 years ago you may find a few cars that were restored better than they were new. AACA standards were set when an owner restored his car in his spare time with small amounts of of money saved here and there. When done the owner/restorer could sell the car at a profit and move on to the next car usually something more valuble. Those cars done well could win a first.

All the reproduction parts available now were not there.

Now car are professional restored costing well more that the car would ever sell for.

I think we are numbed by the outstanding over restorations and perfect cars.

Remember originally is worth more than condition.

A nice original complete car can have a lot "not perfect" and still score 365. Maybe the judges give to many 0's but every judge could come back with -8 point and the car car still have a 365. If a car is correct but showing a little wear 35 points is a lot.

Next time you look at an older collection look at the cars restored in the 60 that won AACA awards in the 60's, judging hasn't changed much, restorations have.

Just my opinion.

Edited by Jay Wolf (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
An additional thought. If judges were able to walk around the vehicle and mark down deductions as we went, without having to be concerned about anyone being around to see the scoring sheet, it would most likely be a more accurate score. But we are instructed to walk around the vehicle and then go away from where it and the owner are and mark down the deductions. It is easy to forget something doing this. Especially on a vehicle with LOTS :eek: of deductions. :) But better to under judge that over judge and cost an owner an award they deserve for their hard work.

I think AACA is one of the few where judges actually DO judge car to sheet rather than sheet to car. I suppose as well, we are limited by our 400 point total from "nit picking" the car to death as well. Other clubs (mostly marque based) have a lot higher starting point, therefore they can afford to take off points for minor issues that would not rise to the level of a multi-point deduction with our system. Then again, this is apples and kumquats. I would venture that MOST of our cars would receive more deductions in a marque event (I know my 66 Corvette would...and it's pretty darn nice), due to the sheer amount of time spent at those types of shows.

I guess my comment is that I have no problem with judges making talleys as they go along, but I suppose AACA instituted that policy for a reason.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't think AACA standards have change much, but the quality of restorations in general have improved.
Jay, to add to that remark, you have better paints today than what you used to have. Another thing that has also changed is the internet. Between Craigslist and E-Bay, more parts are finding their way to the cars that need them. Before, if you didn't find it, it didn't make its' way to the car, so you have a lot of cars restored with parts that weren't that good.
Link to post
Share on other sites

We certainly take the most pride in an AACA win as compared to the local events we attend. With every effort being made to have a trained team of Judges on the show vehicles what more can you ask for.

Is it perfect, no, just a really fair shake.

IMHO

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a question here~

And perhapps a stupid question~

If at any given AACA show if only one or two cars are in a given judging class ~

Is an award always given out ?

What if the one or two cars that make-up that class at that show are really low in judging scores.

Can they still actually win an award because there was really no other competition ?

Or can there be no award given by the AACA judges in such an instance ?

Just Curious ???

Link to post
Share on other sites

Using the scenario of one vehicle in a class, the vehicle must at least make the minimum score to win an award, be it a first, second or third place for example when they are going for a Junior award.

We don't hand out awards just because they showed up. They must earn it by meeting, or exceeding, the minimum requirements for the award.

Link to post
Share on other sites
We don't hand out awards just because they showed up. They must earn it by meeting, or exceeding, the minimum requirements for the award.
If you click on the meet results from Canandaigua, you'll see where a 1937 Buffalo fire truck (class #23) won a Second Junior. This truck was the only fire truck in the class going for a First Junior and it didn't have enough points to win a First Junior, but had enough to make a Second Junior.

I know there are others, but this is one that I am fully aware of.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, you are correct, it would take much too long to judge all of those items for proper function on all of the cars.

And I don't even want to think about how expensive some items would be, and that is even if they are available at all, to make everything work on some vehicles.

Judging at Hershey would be a nightmare if we had to do judging that was that detailed to make sure that every item was functional in addition to being correct and in good condition as far as how it looks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

AJ, I understand your point of view as well. MCHinson was correct in saying that there just isn't enough time to judge to that detail.

At some meets there aren't enough judges as it is. Sometimes the team might be a judge, or even two, short of the full count of four judges and a Team Captain, so they are already up against a lot from the start. I honestly fear that many would drop out of judging if they were required to go into the kind of detail you are talking about.

My guess is that your vehicle(s) have working components and you have spent a great deal of time and money for them to be like that. While there may be others in your class(es) that haven't but they aren't checked for the operation so the judges don't know.

I know that one person here was upset because of the rule about headlight brands not mattering. He has spent the money to have correct brand headlights in his vehicles. Others got a pass when the rule was made that brand didn't matter. I know it doesn't seem fair but the rule was put into place because at the time the brand was no longer available and the sources for original ones had pretty much dried up. People that did have some were charging big amounts and purists like him were forced to bite the bullet and pay up. Now there are reproduction headlights available but the rule is the rule at this point.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On a personal note, I recently found the judging to be right on target with respect to my car. I was in a class with one of the most perfect cars you will ever see. I know my car is nice, but also know its shortfalls. I took a 2nd Junior along with a couple others, while the nearly perfect car took a 1st Junior, as expected.
Granted I didn't look at your car, but understand that you may have had the needed points to win a First Junior, but you were beat by the 10 point spread. Your car could've had a 385, been good enough for a First Grand National, but a car could've come in and scored a 397 and left you high and dry.

The 10 point rule can be dangerous, and it may be that's what got you.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Granted I didn't look at your car, but understand that you may have had the needed points to win a First Junior, but you were beat by the 10 point spread. Your car could've had a 385, been good enough for a First Grand National, but a car could've come in and scored a 397 and left you high and dry.

The 10 point rule can be dangerous, and it may be that's what got you.

AJ,

Based on ex98thdrill's post check out this thread. I started it on May 9th, 2005. It is just a true today and it was then. Little things can cost you. There is some good advice from folks in the know that might help you.

http://forums.aaca.org/f121/little-things-will-cost-you-200827.html

Link to post
Share on other sites

AJ, You are very welcome. I am glad that you found the information on that thread to be helpful. And having the highlighted copy of the judging form will allow you to see where the issues are and need to be resolved as you are doing.

I personally have a great deal of respect for owners like you that once they know there are problems they fix them. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Herb Oakes sent me my judging recap and it's pretty easy to see the small things that fell short. Dumb me - heater hose clamps. I went out and made sure I got the matching ones to the radiator. Later I realized that my clamps should be the spring-type. Worst part is I had the original ones in with my old parts. I had also painted the master cylinder gloss black and it should have been cast-color.

Again, I look at it all in a postive note: had I received a First Junior the first time around, I might have been satisfied with the car as it was. Now, I will work even harder making it as factory fresh as possible.

AJ,

I have been told that it is usually harder to get a First Junior than it is anything else. Understand that with what Herb sent you is the areas of deduction for a 400 point car. Everything that Herb highlighted will show you what you need to make your car a 400 point car and not just a First Junior. Some things you will be able to fix at little or no cost, while other things you're going to have to learn to live with. Get every extra point that you can get cheap, and be willing to give a few points away. Depending on your vehicle, the caps on the valve stems could cost you 4 points or more, so valve stem caps are a cheap fix that will gain you four points (if you had the wrong ones). Depending on your engine size, the wrong finish on the base of your spark plugs (black versus silver) are worth a point a piece.

You might've only lost your First Junior buy 11 points, but with the wrong valve stem caps or finish on the spark plugs could've brought you within 7-3 points away from the best car in your class and you could've won your award.

Herb is an honest and fair man. If you follow Herb's advice and make those corrections, your car should be good enough to go all the way up through the AACA awards system.

Understand that in AACA you have what several of us call "ringers." Ringers are these cars that are at or very near the 400 point score. When First Junior and First Senior have a 10 point spread, and First Grand National have a 5 point spread, these "ringers" make it very hard for everyone who has a car in that same class to win these awards. My dad and I got bit by a "ringer" in Buffalo at the 2004 AGNM, and our fire truck was the "ringer" at the 2009 AGNM in Topeka. Being that we've been bit and we've victimized others, I can feel your pain. Understand that at Hershey, the competition is also very tough, so with that in mind, you have nothing to be ashamed of. We've faced as tough or tougher competition at Hershey than we've had at a Grand National Meet.

The beauty of AACA is that the car that beat you, will not be your competition the next time you bring your car out. If that same car goes to all the meets that you go to, that same car may never be your competition ever again (except maybe at a Grand National). The downfall to a local show is that you can get beat by the same car for years on end, where with AACA that isn't the case.

Take Herb's advice, look at Susan's thread on "Little things that can cost you" make the corrections and bring the car back. Feel free to ask questions, and good luck.

Link to post
Share on other sites

AJ, staying out of the fray but it is so refreshing to see a post like yours! People like you make this hobby. You are understanding, good natured and asked a question that deserved an answer. That is when this forum works well for all of us.

Unlike some clubs who will spend hours on judging a car and unlike some who have drive through judging (great experience for me personally) we just have way too many cars at most meets to handle this logistically. The assumption (there goes that word) is that MOST people will not go through the expense of doing a car for AACA and not have a operable car. How many people would install a new convertible top without it operating? I know that some cars have skirted this issue but think they are in the minority. Had a friend who just never could resolve a window regulator problem so the window was permanently up! It can happen.

Anyway, the important thing is that you took your experience with good humor and are making the best of it. I tell people look at it this way. You end up with an extra trophy!!

Happy Holidays.

Edited by Steve Moskowitz (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...