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Proposed Change to Snubbers/Shocks in Next Judging Guidelines (2016)


Guest Mark McAlpine
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Guest Mark McAlpine

When the committee reviews the 2014 Judging Guidelines and considers changes for the next edition (2016), I recommend it consider changing the points for Snubbers/Shocks under Chassis. The current score sheet states a maximum of three (3) points may be deducted for snubbers/shocks. That seems like a strange number since there are four shocks/snubbers/struts on most cars and, in comparison, the guidelines state a maximum of "3 ea" for springs. (Is it possible there was a typo in the 2014 Judging Guidelines and snubbers/shocks also should have said "3 ea"?)

When the guidelines are next updated I recommend the score for snubbers/shocks be changed to either 4 (four) total points or to 3 (three) each (so a total max deduction of 12). (Personally I prefer the latter because it gives judges considerably more latitude in scoring for the component's condition. Since a max deduction is only allowed when a component is missing, not authentic, or not serviceable for its intended purpose and fractional deductions are not allowed, if the score is only 3 or 4 points total it basically boxes us in to only taking a deduction if the snubber/shock is missing, non-authentic or not serviceable. Increasing the deduction to 3 each allows us to deduct 1 point if the snubber/shock has issues, 2 if it's in really poor condition, and 3 if it's missing, non-authentic or unserviceable.)

What do others think?

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Mark McAlpine

Do any other judges have an opinion on the number of points allocated for snubbers/shocks on the Chassis Judging Sheet--does 3 points total for four snubbers/shocks seem appropriate?

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You asked for opinions of others so here is mine...

While the points that can be deducted in any of the 4 categories do not add up to 100, look at it this way...

If the rule was changed to 3 points each, the Chassis is 1/4 of the total area of the car which is worth 400 points, you would be nitpicking if you took 12 points for shocks/snubbers. I don't see those being 12 percent of the total area of the chassis. If there were a slight amount of rust on each of 4 shocks and you took a point each (assuming the total value was changed to 4 points) 4 points out of 100 for a slight amount of surface rust on the shocks would certainly be nitpicking.

As it is now, if any of the shocks or snubbers had some issues, you have the opportunity to take a point. In AACA Competition, the difference between getting an award and not getting an award is often decided by just a small number of points. We have to be very careful to make sure we are being reasonable. It is easy to nitpick if you overthink it. Remember that production cars were not perfect when they came off of the assembly line.

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Guest Mark McAlpine

I understand your point and don't disagree with it. Maybe I'm being too linear, but applying the same sound logic, why are springs 3 points each? I just think the points for both should be consistent/the same. If there was some logic behind making springs 3 points each, then it probably equally applies to snubbers/shocks. However, if there wasn't a lot of discussion about it, then maybe it should be revisited and then the resulting decision applied to both springs and snubbers/shocks. If the decision is to revise the score downward, then I'd recommend either changing both items to 4 points total max (approximates 1 point per component) or possibly make the score 3 points each to give judges more flexibility but also assign a max of 6 points total. I definitely don't want to nitpick and don't want a relatively minor component of the car to be the difference between and otherwise great car receiving an award or not, but the judging guidelines do have other minor items with higher possible point deductions (e.g., 10 points max for clamps or tape/tubing in the engine compartment, 3 points each for trans cooling lines, etc.) Thanks for your well-made point, Matthew--I appreciate and value your opinion.

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