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BCA Judging issues


JohnD1956
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I am stumped by what I perceive to be a mostly negative perception of the BCA's 400 point judging system. For a long time I did not participate in the system mostly cause for the few shows I attended early on in my BCA life , I did not think my 56 was a contender for an award. Also I did not think I needed to hear others opinions of what was wrong with my car when so much was painfully obvious. However, in Concord I participated as a judge, and learned a lot about how the program is administered and how the vehicles are reviewed and scored. I developed a healthy respect for the system and how the judges took their tasks very seriously.

I also participated in South Bend as a Judge and put my 69 in the Archival class. This year I was too tired to participate as a judge on show day, but did participate with my 72 in the Archival class again. From both South Bend and Portland I secured my judges report and saw that both cars were judged fairly and honestly.

So I just wonder if you folks would mind taking a few moments to post their concerns with the system and how the system could be changed to eliminate their concerns.

Thanks

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John,

I believe you know that I am generally supportive of the judging program in general for all the different types, so I'm not one of the ones grumbling about it generally.

I have participated in the judging school at every judged meet I've attended. My big concern is that what is stated at the judging school isn't necessarily what occurs on the show field. Things like "don't kill the car" and not spending too much time at each car are big ones to me. Granted, we always have some less experienced judges who need the assistance of the other members of the team, but I've heard too many complaints from the judges about how long it takes in the weather, yet they are the ones prolonging their time there. I don't get it.

One thing we we need to be cognizant of is that we need to be inclusive of all members, those without a Buick at a meet, those who drive their Buicks, those who preserve their cars for archival judging, the modified Buicks, the display only Buicks, and, yes, the 400 point judged cars, including those who get to the meet in a trailer. How about we just appreciate the Buicks and the people who enjoy them?

that said, I'm looking forward to hearing some answers to your request as this has me somewhat perplexed too.

Edited by Thriller
Grammar correction (see edit history)
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Guest my3buicks

I think you will find that those that are mostly negative about the BCA 400 point judging system are those that aren't really into having their car proper and correct to begin with. They badmouth the system to make up for the shortcomings of their vehicles. If you want to have incorrect items on your car, deal with that and don't blame someone else for your decision

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John, This is quite the can of worms you want to open here.

I like the judging and it makes it so you see some wonderful cars at the meets. Some claim they are over restored which may be the case as I know some cars I see look much better then what they came to us orgiginally.

Some others claim that the BCA is pandering to the trailer queens. While we have cars coming to us in trailers, we also have drivers class and we have others who drive their 400 judged cars.

Last meet in Portland we had 280 + cars with about 40 trailers. Me, if I am taking my 400 point car, it will go in a trailer so I can be comfortable with A/C. But I also drive my archival Riviera long distances to meets because it has A/C.

I totally agree with Derek, we need to be totally inclusive to all Buicks. We can't be seen as an old Buick club or a 400 point only club or even a touring Buick club. We need to be know as THE Buick Club and reach all segments of the Buick ownership spectrum. In this last meet we had somebody who displayed their 2000 something Ranier. We need to get more like that or we will gradually wither and die as a club.

Edited by Bill Stoneberg (see edit history)
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I echo Bill's comments. I have cars that fit most all categories, so it is hard to get too deep on one side or the other, or perhaps that is the secret. Don't get too one-sided. One thing we can do as a club and local chapters, is to guide those that might consider having a car judged, conduct a class to explain to new contenders as to what to expect when having a car judged. We have done that in the past in our local chapter. As we all know, many questions come in conversations at the awards dinner when it is too late for newbies to ask questions. But then, if newbies are not chapter members, how do we reach them. If we plan, could there be time for, at least a brief meeting with first-time for judging, or perhaps some brief instruction list when the register for the first time?

For John's original question, I think it is the 80% silent majority you find little or no fault, and a small quite vocal group who are unhappy with judging that they consider unnecessary to enjoyment of their Buicks. I doubt that will ever change. But I am sure, s I last checked at Concord, NC. More than half the people attending do not have cars in 400 point judging. I think this is the case annually, but I do not have the numbers.

John

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I like John's idea, a meeting or training class for "newbe's" having their car judged for the first time. It would help eliminate some of the mystery of what to expect when the Judges get to the car.

And while thanking Keith, Derek and Bill for their input I would like to acknowledge Bills opening line. Yes, this can be quite a can of worms, I just hope it stays that way and does not become a hornets nest. I am certain there are more opinions and suggestions to be heard. One things for certain, something cannot be fixed if no one else knows it's broken. So here's an open invite to share your opinions and ideas, especially to those who have never posted to the forum before. You are members of this society too. We value your experience, and realize it may be lack there-of.

Here's something I think is right about how judging works, and this is for any class, 400 pt, Archival, Drivers, and Modified. I think the approach where one judge does all the same part of the cars, in a class, is good. For instance I have done chassis and body judging. As a judge for these parts I would do the same part of each car in the group. This works well as applied to "consistency". If something is allowed for one car, it is allowed for all the cars in the group. I found this to be very fair. I also found that each judge in my panel applied that rule to their parts of the car. And none of the judges I ever worked with took a point deduction lightly. All deductions were given serious consideration for the circumstances that caused the deduction.

While I'm describing this let me also point out that I never heard one judge in any group I participated in say anything totally disrespectful about a car or it's owner. It seems to me that the approach was always about what is right about this car, as opposed to what can I find wrong, with this car.

Looking forward to more comments, and suggestions.

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I belong to several car clubs and attend every show that I can (with or without a car). I think it boils down to MONEY (which sometimes translates to TIME). Even a talented person is restricted when restoring a vehicle at some point, there are some thing that must be vendored out, one of the biggest (most expensive) is chrome. Not everyone can rebuild a motor. On more modern cars is plastic parts, until 3D printers surfaced, your only option was finding NOS, very good, or a vendor that reproduced plastic parts. Embossed plastic door panels and seats are another thing that can be expensive. At some point every owner must make the decision to go stock or deviate and modify parts that are either not available or too expensive.

If you understand with the above, now look at the car and owners. The guy that owns a driver and cannot afford to make it a show winner will use many excuses to veil his problem (lack of funds, time or maybe a wife that will not let him spend the money even if they have it) We see lots of vehicles at shows that look great but are not stock..... the owner says that's the way they wanted it.... when in truth those painted bumpers are that way because it is cheaper to paint than chrome. Why is there such an explosion of "Rat Rods"? Look at what they are, cars that can be built in the owners garage with little outside help. They are not painted, not upholstered and if there is any chrome, it was on the part when it was welded in place.

This may be striking too close to home in many cases and I welcome your opinion and comments. I could not afford to put the $$$$ that others spend on their vehicles, but I appreciate all of them and commend the people that do have the funds to preserve our old cars. At most show this creates a problem between the people that have spent the money and the ones that could not. How often have you heard someone say, " I could have won if I spent what he did" This problem is somewhat resolved with the 400 point system. A car is not competing against the other cars in the class, just the 400 point system.

Over the years the BCA has modified the show criteria and now we have a "driven" class, "modified" class, and cars can be placed in the "display only" category. Somehow we need to encourage more people to bring their car and maybe the DISPLAY category is the place to do it.

This year, before arriving in Portland, we stopped in Tacoma for the CORSA national meet (Corvairs) and were very disappointed with the attendance. There were only 25 cars on the showfield. There were many more Corvairs in attendance, and I do not know why there was not an area where the non-show Corvairs could park, but there was not. As the BCA has seen at some of our shows, when the host hotel and showfield are separated, this creates problems, which was the case in Tacoma. As pointed out in one of the post above...... we need to welcome all Buicks.

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Here are the numbers John...

Portland National Meet Data

Some statistics from the 2014 Portland National Meet:

443 separate registrations

831 people officially registered

23 separate vendors taking up 43 spots

8 Buicks for Sale

283 Total Buicks were registered. Of those:

98 were formally judged in the 400 point system (Only 1/3 of the total and 8 of those were formal Senior status)

26 were judged as Archival / Unrestored

67 were in the Driven class (Most of these could be 400 point judged with with allowances for driven class upgrades)

22 were Modified Buicks

70 were Display Only (many of these too could be 400 point judged with some form of encouragement from the BCA)

To me, the obvious issue is that people from different backrounds appreciate and participate in car clubs and events for different reasons. I agree Bill that the BCA should welcome and provide an appropriate venue for all members. The BCA could also encourage driven class & display only entrants to have their cars 400 point judged by communicating with those new to the club and/or those unfamiliar with the 400 point system.

I have cars that are much harder to restore due to their age and lack of available parts. Since there is no provision in the BCA judging for things like an age & distance driven formula to determine awards for the driven class, and allowances for safety items like radial tires upgraded brakes, Bugs on the windshield, rock chips, etc. in the 400 point system for cars that are driven to the meet, I see no value in having my cars judged. Therefore, I have only entered my cars for Display Only in previous meets.

And of course, I prefer to display my cars at a meet where I can park my cars with others in the same era rather than be segregated by 400 point judging classes for the entire meet when judging only happens on the last day. This just does not make sense when I have been told it is so difficult to determine the parking plan in advance of a meet because nobody knows what cars will show up. The solution is to park by era until Friday afternoon when every judged car is present and accounted for. Then park them according to judging classes as needed. This resolves issues for all concerned!

I hope the BOD is paying attention to this post...

Edited by Mark Shaw (see edit history)
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Yes Mark, many cars that are Display could be judged in one of the various other classes. In my case this year, I wound up bringing the '54 Century. It received a silver award in Ames in 2010. I haven't done any work of significance that would change that result, so I didn't see a need to validate it. On another note, I find Display to be more relaxing. I don't have to worry about prepping and cleaning the car for judging, so I have more time to look at the other Buicks or spend with friends, old or new.

Similarly with the Driven class, it is more relaxed judging, so if you drive your Buick to the meet, you can receive a memento specifically related to that car.

I do like the education idea to help out folks new to the judging process or that simply want to learn more.

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John, This is quite the can of worms you want to open here.

I totally agree with Derek, we need to be totally inclusive to all Buicks. We can't be seen as an old Buick club or a 400 point only club or even a touring Buick club. We need to be know as THE Buick Club and reach all segments of the Buick ownership spectrum. In this last meet we had somebody who displayed their 2000 something Ranier. We need to get more like that or we will gradually wither and die as a club.

I concur with Bill's comments. This "All Inclusive Buick Clubs" is something I've advocated for quite some time, as others tend toward "Antique Buick Club" in their perception of what the BCA is OR should be. I have never found the words "antique Buick" anywhere in the BCA's published materials as their main reason for being, either, yet some seem to put it there of their own accord.

It's hard to keep from being pigeon-holed into some sort of perceived definition of what a vehicle club is, but it happens. THAT should result in a counter statement of just how inclusive the BCA has become in the past decades! Now, there's something for everybody, IF they might choose to look . . . but some don't chose to do that and continue on with their earlier notions of what THEY perceive the club to be, however incorrect they might have become. And THAT is not unique to the BCA, by observation.

And then there is the perception "I need a show car", which might have been the case in prior decades when the 400 Point System was the only "class" of show. But WE know that's changed/evolved over the past 20 years.

Similarly, I've also observed that no matter how easy you might make it for people to put their vehicle in a particular show, they can use their misconceptions as "reasons" to justify their non-participation. No matter how diverse of a class structure you might have.

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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From Larry Schramm's post: "]And why judge a work truck?? It is used and will never be a 400 point entrant. Try to find a replacement step that has BUICK molded into the step which has been worn almost gone because of the use"

& From Mark Shaw's post: "I have cars that are much harder to restore due to their age and lack of available parts. Since there is no provision in the BCA judging for things like an age & distance driven formula to determine awards for the driven class, and allowances for safety items like radial tires upgraded brakes, Bugs on the windshield, rock chips, etc. in the 400 point system for cars that are driven to the meet"

What I'm hearing:

* is there needs to be a curve to the judging system that uses age of the vehicle as a basis for allowing some deterioration that cannot be repaired or avoided?

*And that the driven class is too restrictive for items that may improve safety while the "elder" vehicles are being driven to the meet?

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I certainly have high respect for those who seek out that part they need to keep their vehicle completely "original", BUT I also know the realities of the replacement parts situation. IF you have a Buick from 1975, for example, with a GM Factory Approved accessory item (usually dealer installed), should that part break, the only hope is to find one in a salvage yard (which could well have deteriorated cosmetics) or a NOS part on some vendor's shelf. Generally, these items were available (in the particular part number) for the particular model year ONLY, although some sent a model year or so later, in very few cases. Once the dealership purchased these items from GM, they were also "non-returnable to GM", so they were stuck with them . . . hopefully to later sell them to an appreciative vehicle owner. For example, one popular accessory for us was the GM Compass.

Or what about the steering wheel trim for a '85 LeSabre? That plastic trim in the center of the steering wheel, many times with a very fragile plastic bead for design definition and ornamentation? Most of those plastic pieces shrunk, over time, breaking into segments. Those parts did not need replacement during the vehicle's OEM-backed warranty period, so there basically were none on dealers' shelves 10 years later (when the deterioration started). The base plastic/vinyl part was of such a formulation that SuperGlue wold not stick to it (like so many other GM trim items from that era, regardless of carline!!). Finding those, in good shape, would best be done with a complete vehicle, I suspect. Plus, as the plastic/vinyl of this era vehicle ages, the oils in the material evaporate and the item will become brittle or just split, as an age-related issue, much more than mileage-based, and also affected by heat/cold cycles and UV radiation.

These would be "modern cars" to a huge number of BCA members, but they also are classed as "antiques" for licensing/titling purposes in many states . . . due to their age.

In the later 1970s and earlier 1980s, if you wanted "something" you couldn't get from the dealer (as an active GM part or a left-over NOS part), you ended up "doing something else", seeking an aftermarket "solution" (mainly with mechanical items), or searched the salvage yards or NOS vendors. Even with the great support many vendors now offer Buick vehicles, a significant amount relates to "muscle cars" rather than '65 Electras (for example). Why? Owners tend to restore muscle cars and other Buicks "just get fixed" with whatever the local repair shops can come up with, original or not.

End result is that you don't have to have a 1920s Buick to have issues with finding correct parts for it . . . period. Depending upon what you might be looking for, such "unobtainium" can extend into the 1990s (as the stainless steel side trim on 1990s Roadmasters, which have a 99% chance of the vinyl rub strip delaminating from the base molding itself, over time, even when the cars were a few years old).

ANY judging system is what it is. I don't know of any one which "grades on the curve". Generally, such "passes" are given on the show field by the judge rather than in the judging rules, by observation. Judging rules and schools can convey priorities of how to judge the vehicles, yet this information still has to be processed and implemented by the individual judge themselves in the process of judging the vehicles.

I feel that, for many, the 400 Point System is not fully-understood. It took me a few years to fully understand and appreciate it, compared to how so many other local car shows tend to be judged, much less how other national-level BCA-type clubs do their national event show judging. I feel that such misunderstandings can generate a good deal of the negative comments we've heard about the BCA 400 Point Judging system, by observation.

I concur that many of the higher-level show cars can be incorrectly restored AND over-restored. As I recall, the BCA 400 Point System does NOT reward over-restoration above the "end of the assembly line" orientation. Yet we also know that a completely, correctly-restored Buick (or Mopar, or whatever) will not "show" as well as an over-restored vehicle, if the correct vehicle is parked next to the over-restored vehicle. By observation of the general public, the "best" award would go to the over-restored vehicle . . . if not, there might be comments about whom the other owner knew (or similar) from the general show public (who'd be wondering why it happened that way).

As the level of execution of the most recent restorations has increased, it might be necessary to need to spend a little more time with each vehicle if judging consistency is to be maintained. Plus, judges who might not be completely familiar with the vehicle being judged could be using these activities as "on the job training" (however accurate it might or might not be, presuming that all 400 Point System judged vehicles ARE completely correct in all aspects, which they might not be in all cases). End result is more time per vehicle spent on the judging function of which is "best" or "most correct", or combinations thereof. This situation is not unique to the BCA, either!

To me, all vehicles should be judged "fair and equitably, according to established BCA guidelines", no matter what. Trying to get the rules changed so one person's/group's vehicle might score better (in that established/existing framework), just to please the particular owner/group, to me, would compromise the BCA's show judging credibility. Compromising credibility is one thing, bending or allowing particular new classes and orientations is a completely different matter. NOT to forget that the BCA is an international entity, which might mean that certain owner demographics can result in particular orientations toward their vehicles dependent upon their geographical location on the planet. Unfortunately, that would result in Buick owners/BCA members in particular states/regions/areas to accrue 400 Point System point deductions for certain "differences" in their vehicle (at their hand, from OEM specs) just to make the vehicle better-adapted to their region's unique roadway landscape. This might make lobbying for point deduction reductions a possibility, though, provided the original BCA orientations in vehicle judging are adhered to.

Regards,

NTX5467

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NTX,

It is obvious to me that when you say ("all vehicles should be judged "fair and equitably, according to established BCA guidelines", no matter what."),

you just don't get it...

Not everyone wants to have their cars judged by the BCA or any other club. I am just pointing out why so many do not have their cars judged.

I have not proposed bending the Judging rules; the judging rules just don't fit many of the reasons car owners participate in car clubs.

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I agree with being inclusive. I realize that is a difficult goal, as we all see things differently. For instance, obviously, I like from the mid '30s through mid'50s, that is to say, STRAIGHT EIGHTS. Others think anything after 1929 or so is just another car. And I THINK any thing after the last Nailhead [ and I dislike that word!] in 1966 is another thing, also. Having said that, my 1995 Park Avenue is a GREAT car. But as has been said, we are in the BUICK CLUB OF AMERICA. All Buicks. All are important.

JohnD, I think what Mark was saying, is, maybe, that the award for long distance driven award might be adjusted for age. I know I felt proud of myself for driving my '50 to Concord and South Bend. But even to me , that was not as impressive as some of the older ones that might have been driven half as far. BUT there is not time to honer all or everything. And if ever car was recognized, where would be the individual recognizetion [sic]?

Good discussion so far, by the way.

Ben

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NTX makes an interesting point that gets me thinking. When we look at parts that are not available for purchase, but we know what they look like, it is on the early cars that the materials are at least available to fabricate them. Now, I'm not suggesting that is cost-effective. However, wood and metal can be formed and flat glass can be cut to size while plastics may not be reasonably reproducible (I.e. A machinist may not be able to reproduce) and curved glass (thinking rear window of some of the wood Estate Wagons) simply can't be had.

On the over-restoration, I think we are running the risk of forgetting how paint was coming off the assembly line in say the 1950s or 1960s. The paint is so much better today. For instance, I don't know exactly what new lacquer or urethane paint (I forget the eras but what I'm getting at is paint technology older than me) ought to look like. I believe that some judges are overly harsh if there is a slight run or other flaw in paint. Scratches and damage are different as we wouldn't expect that from the end of the assembly line.

Perhaps an an additional program is worthy of consideration that addresses the difficulty of keeping some nice cars on the road. Some of the restrictions on the Driven class should perhaps be relaxed (although I know some of them are relaxed a bit on the field from how it is set up in writing).

Perhaps the the better question might be asked of the membership as to whether they want some recognition for having their cars at the meet and what form that might take. The 400point judging does take a lot of the club's effort at the meet and perhaps some think it is too much. However I personally feel it remains valid for the club to have such a program to act as a steward for authentic ti city of the history of Buick automobiles.

Now, so long as correct cars aren't being biased against due to sitting between over-restored cars, I am content. That is, if a car is a legitimate Gold Senior, I'd like to see it get the award, but if the "nicer" over-restored cars make it look poorer in comparison such that the judges, consciously or unconsciously, make deductions that aren't warranted I would not be pleased.

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Now, so long as correct cars aren't being biased against due to sitting between over-restored cars, I am content. That is, if a car is a legitimate Gold Senior, I'd like to see it get the award, but if the "nicer" over-restored cars make it look poorer in comparison such that the judges, consciously or unconsciously, make deductions that aren't warranted I would not be pleased.

For all the faults of the system, I have never seen that happen. Authenticity is the place most points are lost, some being mandatory and is often due to hard to find parts (it has always been that way unless you have a 55 Chevy). The other 2 criteria, Condition and Workmanship...there is absolutely no excuse for losing points there.

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NTX,

It is obvious to me that when you say ("all vehicles should be judged "fair and equitably, according to established BCA guidelines", no matter what."),

you just don't get it...

Not everyone wants to have their cars judged by the BCA or any other club. I am just pointing out why so many do not have their cars judged.

I have not proposed bending the Judging rules; the judging rules just don't fit many of the reasons car owners participate in car clubs.

The judging I'm referring to would be the judging which takes place on the show field, not by members of other members' cars outside of the BCA judging formats. We all tend to gravitate toward certain model years/eras of vehicles, which is natural. Many times, these "times" are the model years of our youth, when we were growing up, whether those cars were new then or cars which made a strong positive impression upon us (not to forget those that made other impressions upon us, too!).

I'm aware that some owners don't join car clubs just to go to shows, just as others don't join just to go on tours/cruises. This is a highly variable situation and one which each BCA Chapter Director should try to balance as best they can with their own particular membership group, which can be a little trying at times, by observation. The problem occurs when "I don't have a show car" (or a car at all!)" becomes a reason for not joining or participating at all.

In the Mopar club I'm in, the orientation from the first day was to be "an enthusiast organization--Mopar vehicle ownership not required" in order to be a member and participate in the club. Just "like" Mopar vehicles, no more, no less. Then, as things progressed, those who didn't yet have a Mopar vehicle, found one they liked and things progressed from there. Unlike some of our other Mopar club associates, there was NO "qualification/sponsor/probation process". Pay the membership fee and enjoy what the group has to offer. Show classes for our annual show were as inclusive as we could make them for "Mopar produced/powered vehicles" . . . which is an extremely diverse mix of vehicles. No restrictions on model years of vehicles in the shows, either. If we didn't have a class for the particular vehicle, we'd make one.

Many times, there'd be a car which would show up and (unexpectedly) receive a higher-level award. One year, a couple who lived near the dealership brought their (purchased new) 1966 Barracuda to the show. They were totally surprised when the car received a high-level award. The car was what it was . . . original in all respects, paint could have been a little shinier, whitewalls could have been scrubbed a little more, and so on, but it was totally correct and original. No doubt, when they showed their award to some friends, the friends might have thought "I guess no other cars showed up?" (hopefully, just to themselves!). We hoped they'd become club members and enjoy being around other Mopar owners, but we never saw them again. Some people really like their brand/model of vehicle, but just don't desire to become a part of a related club organization . . . just doesn't fit their lifestyle or whatever, I guess. Be that as it may . . .

Generally, ANY marque which was in production as long as many USA-brand vehicle manufacturers were tend to have a VERY diverse mix of vehicles they've produced. Some of those enthusiasts will focus on particular generations or models of vehicles as other members "like 'em all". Same with many multi-marque "open" clubs, too.

Whether the "enthusiasm" is for a particular marque (or segments thereof) or vehicles in general, being inclusive and also feeling welcome in the group are two key things which can affect the level of enthusiasm for/in the particular group and its ultimate longevity in the hobby.

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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I have been following this discussion; I would like to add a few things.

I am a relative new member and attended the Portland show. I did not show a car, I wanted to see the judged cars and understand how the judging process works. I also wanted to meet active Buick club members. I am working on a project now; we all know it is expensive and time consuming restoring cars. 400-point car most likely not in my future, driven class is my passion. My goal was to take pictures of the correct cars and bring this info home. All the owners were very easy to talk with and forth coming with info. I was able to take photos and learned many things. One thing I did learn many of the owners were unsure off what to expect, what a judge views as correct and how the deduction’s work. I found this surprising, when you see the passion and effort put forth.

The Portland show was great fun; everyone is very easy to talk with. This will bring people back. I have been to many local car shows and they are also fun, they are a different type of show however. I have seen cars on trailers in the restoration process and loved to see them. This exposes people to the full spectrum; I say bring all-qualifying types of Buicks to your shows.

I would love to see a video of a car being judge and an explanation how the process works for each class. This would help many others and me, I know I will have many question as I work on my project, this might keep others and me from doing things incorrectly. We know how much that can cost.

You have a great club going, keep up the good work, I have seen this in Portland.

Steve

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If you do not mind answering, Steve, did you take the opportunity to attend the judging school? I would have hoped that you could have attended and learned a bit more about the judging process. A video may be a better means to communicate the judging process, then local chapter "workshop" sessions.

John

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Judging school and then judging the class that includes cars that you have an interest in and knowledge of. Then get with the owner of a high scoring car that he personally restored. We can help with the 'correctness' and if you put in the effort your car will score very high. And we can help direct your efforts for the most return. For instance, don't worry about the correct clip for the fuel line on top of the frame (no one will see it) and don't worry like I did about a working glove box light (it is not checked). Sometimes you have to get it judged and then get the judging sheet to see where the deductions were and then correct those items. There is no mystery and it really is not that hard to get a high scoring car.

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Guest my3buicks

Steve, never use just one car as your guide, look at as many as you can. I have seen to many top scoring cars with obvious originality or correctness issues.

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On the over-restoration, I think we are running the risk of forgetting how paint was coming off the assembly line in say the 1950s or 1960s. The paint is so much better today. For instance, I don't know exactly what new lacquer or urethane paint (I forget the eras but what I'm getting at is paint technology older than me) ought to look like. I believe that some judges are overly harsh if there is a slight run or other flaw in paint. Scratches and damage are different as we wouldn't expect that from the end of the assembly line.

The comment about paint quality is right on. I can remember inspecting as a rep vehicles that had "paint icicles" dripping from the bottom of the doors in the 80's, and these were new 10 mile cars.

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John

I did not attend the judge school, if I recall the sign said for judges. I did not want to be the person in the room asking questions, while you are training judges for the event. We have all been in meetings with a newbie, and it just slows down the process. Is there a class, this how we judge cars?

Old-tank

Thanks for the offer and advice I will take you up on the help. I have been focused on correct clips and weld lines and such. I had visions of mirrors used under the cars. Examples of correct cars will be a struggle, not many if any here in Oregon. Sometimes it is like living in the desert and looking for water, when it comes to Buick cars. Knowing that the correct clip holding a fuel would be nice but not needed is good info.

This was my first meet and I want to understand the process, I always say no stupid questions. I would love to see the hobby grow. Removing questions or mystery will help me any others, maybe someone in Oregon is reading this and also wants a correct Buick.

Steve

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This is a really interesting thread. I have judged at more BCA Nationals than I can remember, having been everything from a judge to a Head Judge. The 400 point is actually a great system that in most cases could not be fairer than it is. I did judge at this years National in Portland, and one thing I have noticed is that whenever a meet is held for the first time in a location , many of the cars presented for judging lose points for reasons that do not occur at meets in the Midwest for instance .(where there have been a great deal of Nationals) Owners showing some really nice cars lose points for reasons that really do not take much to correct. (wrong valve stem caps, wrong hose clamps, fuzzy dice hanging from the mirror). Having said all that my team judged more cars that turned out to be brand new Seniors that I can ever remember and they were all very well deserved.

I know when I have acted as team captan (and I have seen others do this also), we will often tell an owner that non authentic accessories will cost him points if they are there when we judge the car, thereby giving them a few minutes to make such items disappear.

Any of you that know Bill Bergstrom, will know that he has driven his 1940 wagon at least 40 thousand mlles since it was restored and he still continues to get a senior preservation award whenever he shows his car. (so much for needing to be a trailer queen to win)

With the 400 point system cars are not actually judged against one another, but against a standard. I have seen unrestored cars win silver and bronze awards. A car can lose a whole lot of points and still get an award.

There are many members that feel that the time and investment in their cars as well as the distances to be traveled to the National meets indicate that they would rather tow than drive. There is no down side to either approach.

In all the years I have been judging , I have never been on a bad judging team that killed the cars we were judging, in fact many teams really try to give advice (after judging) to help owners correct issues and prepare for other meets.

The current 400 point system was copied from the AACA judging system, which has worked well fro them for many years.

Just my two cents worth.

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Jack,

Well said, and this are also my thoughts on the judging process. This year health forced me to stay in the Admin Room, but I would love to been with your team. Those were some impressive cars in your class. And a pre-judging scan can correct some of those "preparation misunderstandings" such as brochures on the seat, trunk, etc.

John

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Guest my3buicks

To add to Jack's seeing unrestored cars getting bronze and silvers, there are a healthy number of original cars that have received Senior Golds.

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Working behind the curtains at many of the past national meets, I can tell you several things about how the judges are selected. Many hours and much effort is spent deciding the judging teams, even before the meet begins. Every Judges Volunteer sheet received before the show is sent to the head judge for his review. He looks at the classes you indicated that you feel comfortable judging, as well as the check boxes you wrote down as far as previous experience. There is also a database kept in the National office of all judges and which meets they judged at. I know every reasonable effort is made to place the judges in classes they feel comfortable in judging based on their selections and experience. Every team will have several experienced judges on it. Any new judge will be coupled with experienced judges and encouraged to ask questions. In a few years, they will be the experienced ones answering the questions. The point I am trying to make is that there is a tremendous amount of time and thought that goes into the formation of the judging teams so that they will be as experienced and as fair as possible for the difficult task of judging. They take it very seriously. I can't think of a better method to do this.

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One natural inclination in vehicle re-doing is the constant struggle between "how it was" (with documentation), "how we'd like it to be", or "as good as it could be". Very few cars of the '50s-'70s era were as "perfect" as we'd like to remember them. Generally, as long as the chrome trim and body feature lines were reasonably-aligned, we considered it "good". If the paint shined brightly, it was "good". If the gaps between the doors, fenders, hood, deck lid, and such were reasonably equal, that was "good", too. Within the particular wide specs, "perfection" was possible with then-existing tooling and such -- all just a matter of what the prevailing specs were as "in spec" was considered "perfection" by many, even if the specs could have been written a little "tighter".

In some vehicles' case, the rear door chrome trim NEVER did really align right from the factory, between the front door and the rear quarter panel, but it got out of the factory that way so it was accepted as "good", too. When doing a restoration, such a situation would certainly receive a deduction, I suspect, in any national-level judging . . . UNLESS the judges knew they generally came that way "from the factory". Get the chrome trim aligned and the sheet metal would be out of alignment, then. Move the door shell in for lessened wind noise or water leaks and the door would not align correctly with the sheet metal adjacent to it, which could result in a "best fit for what we've got" situation, rather than true perfection, which could end up stringing from one end of the car to the other, but possibly resulting ONE major misalignment somewhere along the line, which was more noticeable than the "little ones" which had been "fixed".

I know of one particular "Baby Buick" whose body parts have very poor fit to one another, but that's the way it came from the factory. Kind of justified the "Just thrown together" comment some had for many Detroit products of the 1960s era. Might have been a compilation of "Monday parts"? Also, might have been one that was "approved" just prior to the end of a "Friday shift" or "just before break time"? Might have also been an "early-build" vehicle as the tooling and processes were being fine-tuned for production? Not to disparage those on the assembly lines who built cars back then, but some things were observed to "get out" that probably should not have. I suspect that if I'd have been "in love" enough to purchase that particular car, I would have gotten my wrenches and sockets out to see if I could make those fits better . . . so many of the disparaging-to-Detroit-workers remarks minimized. Yet, 50+ model years later, judges might not understand why that unmolested original car should not receive any deductions. Additionally, that particular car was really "the exception", which might make "perfecting it" that much more of "a sin". Many orientations on this issue.

The other problem is that for spending approximately the same amount of money, you can have: a car that is correct for its particular originality, a car with a little tweaking of problem areas, or a car that was more perfect then they ever were back then. By observation, unless particular restraint is employed, the default mode is the last item. The other side is that if you spent enough money to achieve the last item, but didn't, then it could be perceived that "You got took" (as if this was the ONLY way to get taken!). It just depends upon WHO is looking at the restoration and what THEIR particular orientations might be. These same situations can be extended to rebuilding the engine, trans, etc. where much is not seen of what was done. Upholstery is a different situation, though, where quality workmanship and materials are on full display for all to see.

As far as using "one" car as a reference point in restoration, it might look correct but might not match similar vehicles from a different plant or even from a different shift in the same plant. Just as building any data set, the more data points you have the better. PLUS how various vehicle equipment options might impact what you have found! So, the basic recommendation has become "Match what's on your vehicle" rather than some other "standard", with respect to how it was done. This makes documentation highly-important . . . pictures, pictures, pictures, with notes, before and during disassembly/repair of the vehicle. This way, you can put greater focus on correct placement of nuts, bolts, clips, clamps, and paint texture for what you're trying to accomplish.

Now, please do NOT let these things discourage you from jumping-off into a restoration project, by any means! Many of these things might be considered "organizational" issues, with "organization" and coordination of the project being very important to its ultimate outcome. Seeking out GOOD MENTORS is another very important thing to do . . . as there are many "experts-in-name-only" out there, by observation. It's all "an education" and one that can be fun and enjoyable with a great outcome of a neat Buick (or other brand) to enjoy in the future! Decide where your priorities are, balanced by available funding and time (which always seem to double from the original projections, by observation), and proceed as possible. Please keep us posted on your progress and ask as any questions as you might desire in this forum!

Enjoy!

NTX5467

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Related to TxBuick's comments, some might perceive the BCA 400 Point Judging System a little foreign and very involved, compared to what they might have seen at more-local shows and events . . . which it is . . . and needs to be. It is also good to know just how in-depth building the judging teams is! Thanks for that information, Roy!

Similarly, I've observed that some vehicle owners take the BCA 400 Point Judging System VERY seriously, too! THEY know what the judging manual has in it, too. If something might not "be right", with how things are judged on their car or another car in their class, "somebody" will hear about it, by observation. These could be things somebody else might not be aware of (OR a supplying vendor!), but it's things THEY notice and do make a difference to them. For some, the BCA National Meet 400 Point Judging is "High Stakes" and they play to win . . . which also justifies the BCA maintaining their past high standards for these meets' judging activities. While serious business, there's no reason to not have fun doing it, though!

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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I have been to 2 Nationals and one Regional. At Colorado Springs, I elected not to have my car judged and showed it as Display Only. I came to that decision after reviewing the judges manual and appraised my car from the standpoint of a judge. My '65 Skylark was a frame up restored beauty and I was very proud of her. However there were a few seams that we just couldn't get to line up right. I also had aftermarket sway bars installed to make her handle better. And the maligned radial tires, and disk brakes, and a dual reservoir master, and on and on. All these mods made the car mine and also made driving her so much fun. When I got done, I totaled up the points deductions I saw and determined that she wouldn't place at all so there was no point to having her judged. In my eyes, that did not make her an inferior car, just one that was not up to BCA 400 point judging standards. To me she was as perfect a 10 as Bo Derek. Display only still got me a lot of great comments and conversations with people who appreciate old Skylarks.

Fast forward to 20014 and Portland. I ordered the judges manual well prior to the event and underwent the same discovery process with my very original '90 Reatta roadster. I fixed the obvious points deductions that I could, and realized that there were some deductions I just couldn't avoid, like not having gray plug wires. I cleaned and scrubbed and repaired all those little repairs that I had ignored over the last year of my ownership. I figured that I had a great shot at a bronze award or maybe even a silver. When the awards were called for my class, my name was called. As I stood in front of everyone I knew my car had at least won a bronze. I had spent considerable effort convincing myself that a Bronze award was a great accomplishment (and it is), but as I stood there I began to think, "Dare I hope for a Silver?" As the Bronze awards were handed out first I then realized they were awarding the Silver awards which meant that I had won a Silver! Then the incredible happened and they went to the Gold winners and they still hadn't called mt name yet. Yes, my car did win a gold award. I was in shock and very proud of my car and my efforts. Later I found out that I barely made it into the Gold category by 3 points but it didn't mention that on the award. I could quibble over some points deductions that I felt were nit picking or even wrong (dipstick) but what difference would it make. I'm sure the judges could counter with some deductions that they missed or overlooked on purpose as well.

The bottom line is I had a great time at all of these functions, even when I didn't win an award. I agree that the BCA should hold the 400 point judging standards high which makes attainment that much sweeter. My hat is off to the volunteers who make the hobby the fun that it is.

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Ol' Yeller, congrats on your Gold award. Reading your post reminded me of a common thread, though. People think the 400 point system is so far out of their reach that they won't even try. When, in most cases, it truly is a reachable goal. You can lose 45 points and still receive an award. That's 10% deductions. As registrar, I take a lot of phone calls from people attending their first show and they ask questions about the judging. I ask them to tell me about their car. I encourage them to enter the 400 point judging when possible. I think my best advice for any type of judging is to spend some time and clean it. Really clean it. Replace the little parts like clamps, hoses, nuts, and belts that look old or worn. Especially clean the engine, engine compartment, and underneath, the best you can. You will be amazed on how well it will score after it is cleaned. And anyone can clean a car. (However some people on this forum, like smartin, are a bit better than others.)

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It sounds like the judging standards could use some review, and maybe some loosening as manufacturers continue to drop product lines and produce more replacement parts that are not specific to the applications. For instance, what does someone with a 1972 do for headlights? T3 reproductions are available for all before 1972. 1972 has a one year only lens design that is not currently reproduced, and probably never will be. A few years ago my NAPA had non halogen bulbs for the round 4 headlight system, but yesterday I found out those were no longer available. During judging in the 400 point program, would this vehicle lose points for bulbs that are no longer available ?

BTW, this also goes for Delco only batterys after 1925. When Delco does not offer a battery for this car in the size or shape anywhere close to the original, does it make sense to deduct points for any battery that matches the original sizes and not deduct points for something that looks totally out of place?

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As the issue of approved replacement parts for our vintage vehicles progresses, as it has in the past, there will always be some sort of discrepancies between "correct production parts" and "reasonable facsimile parts". Not to forget that GM could upgrade an older part number item to a newer part number replacement item as a normal matter of course.

For example, when Chrysler's Mopar Performance section eased into producing some of their earlier parts (pulling the original blueprints, contacting the original vendors, etc.), one of the parts in this group was a production, electronic voltage regulator. The original '70 part had been superceded to a '72 part number, which was the normal, expected progression for that particular part. The '72 part's graphics did not match those of the original '70 item, but was considered the "correct factory replacement part", by Chrysler . . . then and later . . . as the factory replacement part met the performance criteria of the original part (or better).

Similar situations can exist at GM and Ford, too, where in the life cycle of a particular part, an original part can be used on several different model years without modifications (being forward compatible for more than one model year) or a new updated parts replaces a prior part number and becomes backward compatible in the process. Part number changes can be variable for why they change . . . sometimes it's a case where the OEM changed vendors, upgraded the item, or combinations thereof.

And THIS is where some of the decisions as to what is "accepted" can be made and based upon. This can also be a gray area of sorts, too. IF the BCA's 400 Point Judging system was more of a "concours" style event, such allowances might be more narrow than they currently tend to be, I suspect.

By the same token, I've seen owners spend $500.00 for a pair of NOS Chrysler mufflers with the correct date code stampings for a '70 Plymouth SuperBird, about 16 years ago. I also observed (prior to Chrysler reproducing them) "broke" 426 HEMI blocks (with holes in the side of them) go for $1000.00 (with the bulk of the pieces to put them back together). ALL for the correct date code casting on them!

I realize that much of this might seem a little foreign to many Buick enthusiasts, but it was "how things happened" if you were chasing a date code for originality purposes.

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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It sounds like the judging standards could use some review, and maybe some loosening as manufacturers continue to drop product lines and produce more replacement parts that are not specific to the applications. For instance, what does someone with a 1972 do for headlights? T3 reproductions are available for all before 1972. 1972 has a one year only lens design that is not currently reproduced, and probably never will be. A few years ago my NAPA had non halogen bulbs for the round 4 headlight system, but yesterday I found out those were no longer available. During judging in the 400 point program, would this vehicle lose points for bulbs that are no longer available ?

BTW, this also goes for Delco only batterys after 1925. When Delco does not offer a battery for this car in the size or shape anywhere close to the original, does it make sense to deduct points for any battery that matches the original sizes and not deduct points for something that looks totally out of place?

John, those questions are best answered by someone who has judged and/or shown that model. Just do the best you can and see what happens. Put some matching T-3's on since only someone as knowledgeable as you would notice (there are no pictures in the judging handbook and that knowledgeable person would know the difficulty)....on the other hand those lights are out there in some junkyard.

http://www.russoandsteele.com/collector-car/1955-Buick-Century/90241

I was sent this link by a friend and at first glance I saw the incorrect interior, continental kit, and dual exhaust. Then I read the description and this car supposedly won a gold/senior in 2007 National meet. Can someone verify? I can see where the interior might have gotten past an inexperienced judge, but not the other (maybe it was customized after judging?)

Willie

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Inexperienced judges and captains let many things slide. I can't (don't want to) judge every year. The continental kit could have been added in the last seven years which would be the biggest thing to clip that car for. The interior COULD be original, if a knowledgeable judge wasn't available. Dual exhaust would be overlooked for the same reason.

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Guest my3buicks
It sounds like the judging standards could use some review, and maybe some loosening as manufacturers continue to drop product lines and produce more replacement parts that are not specific to the applications. For instance, what does someone with a 1972 do for headlights? T3 reproductions are available for all before 1972. 1972 has a one year only lens design that is not currently reproduced, and probably never will be. A few years ago my NAPA had non halogen bulbs for the round 4 headlight system, but yesterday I found out those were no longer available. During judging in the 400 point program, would this vehicle lose points for bulbs that are no longer available ?

BTW, this also goes for Delco only batterys after 1925. When Delco does not offer a battery for this car in the size or shape anywhere close to the original, does it make sense to deduct points for any battery that matches the original sizes and not deduct points for something that looks totally out of place?

John. NOS ones show up now and then, and there are always good used ones to be found, maybe one at a time, but they are out there. I am pretty sure the judges just make sure headlights are matching, but it has been a while since I judged so not 100 percent on that. I know the AACA does deduct for non T3's - which as you might expect, I have issues with.

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