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Judging standards

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McHinson, Bigmark may have reasons for not saying what car it is. The point is he was not ask before major deductions were taken. I do know it's a very new restoration and the car was done right. As a judge when a car has a very quality restoration and a judge thinks something is way wrong wouldn't it make sense for the judge to verify before taking big points. Especially, in this example, when the owner paid big $$ for plating and the judge thought the wheels should be painted silver.

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Benefits of AACA Membership.

Were these wheels galvanized or zinc plated? There is a difference. Were the wheels pitted before plating? Are we talking wheels or rims? I don't think I have ever seen true galvanized wheels or rims.

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Unless someone has broken the rules, he has no way of knowing how many points he lost, or what he lost them for. He only has an idea of areas where some number of points were deducted.

Secondly, My guess is it is his 1916 Dodge, since it is the first car he has listed in his signature line, he is near Hershey, and he said "two years ago" and there is a 1916 Dodge in the Hershey meet results 2 years ago, that was owned by someone with the name "Mark".

Now, why the big secret? Did someone break the rules and discuss the points deducted with him? That is the only logical reason I can think of for the secrecy.

If major deductions were taken, the Team Captain should have discussed it with the owner. I do agree that some judges are reluctant to ask for documentation. I have routinely asked the Team Captain to ask for documentation on things that I am not 100% sure of, because I think I have lost points myself on things that were correct. So, I am not saying that this is not an issue that could use some discussion, but from what I have seen I am not yet convinced that bigmark has a valid complaint.

So, please educate me about 1916 Dodge Wheels.... I know nothing about them. And, lets see a photo of the wheels in question so we can see if there is a condition issue, or the wrong valve stems or some other explanation...

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Slippery slope here fellows. Even if the owner brought the subject up we do not need to be debating the merits of someone's personal car.

Certainly his highlighted sheet did not show a point total but he might have guessed by seeing point deductions listed on the pre-printed score sheet.

'16 Dodge "galvinised"..are we talking about cad plating here? We do allow some leeway in this area as long as the finished product looks close to the cad. I'm with Jeff, a little confused.

Next year there will be a spot on the new judging form (all forms have been changed) that the team captain must check off indicating that he has told the owner of a major deduction. That probably would not have helped in this case as it was a series of deductions apparently that added up not a circled major deduction

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Especially, in this example, when the owner paid big $$ for plating and the judge thought the wheels should be painted silver.


How would you or the owner or anybody else know that points were lost because the juge thought the wheels should be painted silver? If someone is divulging that type of information, the judging process is not working like it is supposed to work.

I agree that there are examples of judges failing to ask for documentation when they should. As I indicated earlier, while I have no idea the number of points I lost, I am quite certain that I have suffered from a mistake about plating similar to that myself, without being asked for documentation, which I had.

Asking for documentation if always mentioned in the judging schools, but it obviously still needs to continue to be stressed.

I don't know if my guess about Big Mark's make and model of car is correct or incorrect, but would welcome the opportunity to learn more about this apparently rare vehicle.

I am still confused by Big Mark's complaint and your post as quoted above.

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my car is currently a basket case, I will make every effort to restore it to as high a level as practical. I really want to make it an award winner. I can only assume that I will not get an award the first time out. Now, if I honestly think that I am bringing a 390 point car, when it in reality is getting 150. I am clearly interested in making it as correct as possible, but how am I to know what I am getting wrong?

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Welcome to the AACA Discussion Forum.

After a meet, You can request and receive a blank judging form that has areas where you lost points highlighted. This allows you to see what areas need attention, even though it will not tell you exactly what is wrong. Another good idea is to have a local experienced judge take a look at your car and give you advice. I have had this done for me and I have also done it for others.

Where are you located? There is probably a local chapter or region that has a judge or judges that will be happy to look over your car and provide feedback to you. There are lots of people in this hobby that are happy to help their fellow hobbyists.

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Also, you can follow this link

and look through the 2010 Judges Guidelines book. The 2011 guidelines have not been posted yet but the 2010 edition will give you a feel for the judging guidelines of the AACA. Check back from time to time to find out when the 2011 edition has been posted.

The form for judging Junior vehicles is on page 54 and you can print that off and look it over. There are notes at the bottom of the form explaining things like a deduction of say 10 with a cirlce around it. That is a mandatory deduction, we have to take 10 off, we can't take less than that.

Think of 0 points deducted as "perfect/correct" and the total points listed as the item is missing, incorrect or can't be used for it's intended function. Whatever numbers are in between are like good, fair, poor, etc.

If you are an AACA member you get one and a half hours of free research from the AACA Library and Research Center. Copies of the information that they have regarding your vehicle can be had for a reasonable cost. Judging teams accept information from the L&RC as proper documentation.

Have you joined the AACA for 2011?

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It is always a pleasure to judge an AACA event. Wish there were more out here that I can get to. I have judged in several AACA events as well as many other non AACA shows. Each one is a new and interesting experience.

I must say that I have great respect for the AACA Judging standards. More clubs could learn by attending some of the judges education courses. Any NCRS judges reading this? I hope so!

Last year one of my freshly restored cars was at its first showing. The colors selected were taken from an original sales folder and listed as original available colors for this year and model. I have never seen one of these cars restored in these colors. I placed the original in color sales book with the car in case there were questions. Sure enough, when the judges approached the car, one loudly commented, "they never had these colors" --- The head judge noticed the open sales book and pulled the other judge aside and showed him the book. He learned that if there is a question, quietly go ask the senior judge.

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.....Sure enough, when the judges approached the car, one loudly commented, "they never had these colors" --- .....

I hope that the Team Captain did their job after that happened and had a quiet, polite discussion with the entire team about proper judging etiquette.

Which would include that discussions about vehicles should be done in a very low tone of voice and away from the owner(s) or anyone that could be with them.

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That's the problem I'm talking about shop rat. that discussion should take place with the owner, not behind his back. If the owner is included then those questions could be asked and answered. And the owner can be as educated about his car as the judges supposedly are. Perhaps the Hershey meet has gotten too big? If the judges can’t afford to spend enough time with each car. Maybe that should be relooked.

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Big Mark,

I don't think you understand my previous posts. It would be a violation of the rules of the AACA Judging System for anyone to reveal the number of points that were deducted on your car to you or to any other vehicle owner. I am not accusing you of "cheating".

Your posts and those of Nearchocolatetown, appear to state that you were told that you received a particular number of points deducted because the judges thought that your wheels were finished incorrectly. If that is the case, then whoever gave you that information violated the rules. As I posted previoulsy, I suspect that did not occur, but those posts are simply unclear.

I would suggest that you might want to read the Judging Standards. Learning more about the Judging System would help you understand the judging process. Attending a Judging School would be a good idea for you or anyone who has questions about the process.

I would also welcome you to discuss those rules by Private Message if you are interested. Your characterization of my posts is incorrect.

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Big Mark, You are so very wrong about Matt. He is the very person you would want to talk to. I have known him for several years and he is very knowledgeable, honest and straightforward. You honestly have misjudged him. As he said he is not accusing you of cheating. But owners are not to be told scores....ever.

You must understand, on a team may be someone with many credits and some with very few. Team members must go to school one time per year and are encouraged to go to at least one CJE per year. We only get credit for one school and one CJE per year, unless we hit a milestone like 10, 25, 50 ect. and then we must take a CJE so we can get two that year.

Matt is correct you should go to some judging classes and CJEs and see for yourself how we are trained and what the rules are. There is no cost for going to judging school or CJEs and you get a free Judges Guidelines at the school. The guidelines can be read on line here for free.

Edited by Shop Rat (see edit history)

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Honestly as an "outsider" and a person who is really not interested in having any of my cars actually AACA or CCCA

judged as they are mostly all drivers~~~

I do enjoy going to judged car show events however~~


Also I do respect those who wish to enter their show cars in an AACA

judged competition

But having any of my cars judged is just not my thing~~~

I have never actually understood the basic reasoning behind not letting a car owner know their actual final total judging score or where they lost judging points, or how many points for each incorrect item on their car.

Why not let the car owner actually know where their restoration fell short ?

I can understand not telling the owner at the actual show event itself as ths would only cause possible conflicts and arguments~~~

Also there is not enough time at a show for such debates~~~


Why keep the owner's score a secret long after the judged show ?

How is the car owner to learn what is not correct about his car & it's restoration ?

To me, by not actually telling the car owner this could possibly only lead to taking the car back to future AACA judged shows with the very same restoration mistakes that cost them the same point deductions as the past shows .

Why does the AACA not tell the car owner their total judging point score, and how many points were actually deducted for each incorrect item upon special written request after sveral weeks after the show ?


What if by some honest mistake the judges incorrectly deducted points because they did not really know what was supposed to be original or a correct item on this specific car ?

Judges can, an often do make honest mistakes~~~

A judge cannot be expected to know everything about EVERY car !

I know judging at AACA car shows is a very tough job indeed !

It's also a fast way to anger and lose good friends~~~

I have judged at sports-car shows in the early 1970s~~~

I soon vowed to never judge at carshows again !

AACA judges do in fact do a great job !

Judging is not at all easy~~~

Can anyone tell us exactly why total scores, and exact item point deductions are not revealed to the car's owner AFTER the show ?

I am NOT trying to start any trouble, or a long debate on this subject, here~~~

I just want to understand the reasoning behind this AACA rule ?

Why did it come about ?

I just cannot understand the actual reasoning behind all this score business being kept a big secret from the car's actual owner ?

How is a car owner expected to learn about his restoration mistakes ?

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)

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The easy answer is that those who have gone before us decided that was the best policy for the club. It is laid out clearly in the General Policy of AACA Judging, as listed below.


The objective of AACA judging is to evaluate

an antique vehicle which has been restored to

the same state as when the dealer received the

vehicle from the factory. Any feature, option, or

accessory shown in the original factory catalog,

sales literature or company directives for

the model year of the vehicle, will be accepted

for judging. The end result of the accurate and

honest evaluation of a vehicle by a judging

team will be the proper determination

of the

deserved award for the owner’s efforts.

The following specific statements of policy shall

govern AACA judging.

1. All vehicles legitimately registered in a

competition class and displayed

on the

show field will be “point” judged unless

the owner requests

that the vehicle not be


2. There shall be no penalty or premium


over-restoration. Over-restoration and nonauthentic

restoration are not the same.

Paint with a finer finish and higher gloss

than original paint would be considered


Chrome plating or varnishing

a part which was originally painted

would be considered

non-authentic restoration,

and the vehicle would receive the

appropriate point deduction

on the judging


3. Original vehicles not entered in the "Historical

Preservation of Original Features"

(HPOF) class, the “Driver Participation

Class (DPC) or the "Second Generation

Collector Vehicle" (SGCV) class will be

point judged in the same manner as

restored vehicles. Vehicles in the HPOF

class will not be point judged but will be


to confirm significant original

features. Vehicles entered in the Driver

Participation Class will not be point judged

but will be certified as a "Driver" with

accepted upgrades.

4. No score will be disclosed to an owner or

his/her representative for any reason.

5. Only the team captain may engage

in conversation

with an owner.

6. Items of major deduction on a vehicle may

be discussed with an owner by the team


7. Judges will always display the utmost


for every vehicle and extend common

courtesy to the owner at all times.

8. No judge or team of judges are allowed

to enter a vehicle unless it is a bus, motorhome

or large commercial vehicle. All

interior judging will be done through open


Now, to go out on a limb... my personal opinion is as follows.

At one time, I also thought that it would be better to disclose scores to vehicle owners. In a perfect world, I still think it might be a good idea. Unfortunately, in the real world, I don't think it is practical. If you think that debates on judging get heated here, you should follow some debates on other websites concerning judging systems that reveal individual scores to owners and others...

In the real world, people make mistakes. People have misunderstandings. People don't always communicate clearly. While it can be frustrating, the AACA judging system's secrecy allows AACA to not waste nearly as much time debating every point deduction and error or perceived error in the judging process and/or system. I am aware of many instances of intense debate and argument in clubs that divulge judging "numbers" over those numbers.

AACA has a system in place to give appropriate feedback to the vehicle owner, yet does it not divulge individual scores. This compromise generally causes less problems than any other system would.

While not perfect, it is the best compromise to keep the system workable in the real world.

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An additional thought, from my point of view only, is that I have seen some extremely bad behavior from folks in other hobbies that Bill and/or I have been involved in. Racing and showing horses are two of them. Too many people today seem to have anger issues that they can't or don't want to control.

I for one don't want some out of control angry owner coming after me for some slight that they have perceived that might not even be the case.

Judges volunteer their time to judge. We attend the required classes which usually require an extra day of our "free time" and for many that means an extra day or two of vacation as many are still working. We do our best but mistakes can happen. Very few of us are professionals in the world of antique vehicles. We learn with every class we go to, every vehicle we judge and every other judge we are on a team with and from the owners themselves.

As Matt said above, owners can request a highlighted form if they do not receive the award they were going for. They can then walk around their vehicle and understand where and why points were taken off. And just because an area has been highlighted it does not mean that all of the points were taken off. We only do that in four cases: the item is missing, the item is incorrect, the item is in such bad condition it can not be used for it's intended purpose or if the number has a circle around it we must take that deduction that is circled. If they strongly disagree they can send a letter with their concerns to the VP of Class Judging and discuss it. The show field is not the place for that.

Edited by Shop Rat (see edit history)

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Matt & Susan:

Thank You for you quick replys.

I had already suspected what you both have just explained.

regarding points & not disclosing point totals.

I know of some unreasonable folks that can take car judging way too seriously and expect some would not take kindly to any group of car judges who properly deducted points on their car for any reason~~~

rightly or wrongly !

In many respects being

a car show judge is a thankless job.

I respect any car show judge and the great efforts & personal time that they take to do their job correctly .

In the end I believe this Antique & Classic car hobby should be FUN and enjoyable for all involved !

The last thing any car show needs is on-the-showfield arguments !

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)

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Silverghost, Thanks for understanding. When someone has seen others "lose their cool" in scary ways it just doesn't seem like the safest thing to do to expose volunteers to that.

A couple of years ago at Hershey I had a guy come up and start ranting to me about judges from the previous year. Nothing to do with me or my team at all. He just needed to vent to someone and I let him do so to get it out of his system. Picture if you will how scary that would have been to the judge/team in question. And of course I had no way of knowing if he was right or they were right. He was polite to me and that is why I let him talk about it.

Edited by Shop Rat
type-o (see edit history)

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That's why it's called a competition. Some people are a class act and some are not.

Some can maintain good sportsmanship others can't.

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Just logged on - saw new posts and wow!!. As we say in Dixie, Y'all do God's work. Patiently rehashing this subject with person after person, maybe one in three "getting it". It's got to be frustrating but it is a powerful recruiting tool when people who feel as we do are looking for a club that makes sense. When y'all continue to take the high road and patiently explain the ideals and rules of AACA judging in a calm and moderate voice, interlaced with humor, cooperative discussion and rapid answers, you speak well for the club to those who are most looking for that voice. Thank you and please keep it up.

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Big Mark. I am only about 35 miles East of you and would be happy to view and "judge" your car if you'd like. AACA judging can sometimes seem confusing and even arbitrary to a newcomer to the system. PM me if you are interested.

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That is a really nice offer. I wish someone would have done that for me before my first visit to a show field.

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I certainly did not lose my cool because of something that happened on the show field. I simply pointed out a mistake the judges had made. I lost it because of the attacks and accusations on this site. If you don’t know what’s going on, you should not comment. Talk about circling the wagons. I thought we were all in this club together.

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