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BCA National Meet Judging Change Proposal, as seen in "The Bugle"


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Howdy --

 

In reading the "President's Message" in the April 2024 BUGLE, there was a mention of a proposal to implement some changes to National Meet Judging.  To include items done to vehicles not allowed in the normal 400 Point System, but not to the level of putting the vehicle automatically in the Modified Class.

 

First, the Integrity, Status, or Importance of the existing 400 Point System does NOT and should NOT be compromised, diluted or watered-down, or other wise diminished in any manner, period.  Yet there are some vehicles which cannot participate in the 400 Point System which have some changes which do not automatically place them in the Modified judging and apparently disqualify them for other classes, so they might end up in the Modified Class as a result.

 

"Day Two" Restoration orientations were mentioned.   In reality, these were really more like "Day 30" or "After the first oil change" items, to me.  Things that were done later that would not compromise the new vehicle factory warranty.  Adding a tachometer and gauges might wait a few weeks to ensure what the factory did was holding up well, for example.  Adding dual exhausts and/or a larger carburetor would need to wait until after the factory warranty was completed, lest it be voided and needed.  A different wheel/tire combination might wait until tires were needing replacement, for example, rather than sooner.  I can see where these could be "Day Two", but usually not, although that is how they are termed for restoration purposes.  Using non-OEM used interior fabrics/vinyls was mentioned, too.  In doing these alterations, it would be hoped that the highest degree of execution was striven-for, rather than not.  End result would be that the vehicle is more pleasant to drive on trips and other excursions.

 

When the Driven Class was originally proposed at the General Membership Meeting at the 1999 BCA National Meet in Kokomo, it was my understanding that such vehicles would find a place in the Driven Class.  As the Driven Class ended up being implemented, it was more like a 400 Point System class that was not specifically a 400 Point System class.  Not allowing alternators in place of generators, for example.  Or even adding aftermarket air conditioning.  I heard of these things a few years later at the first BCA National Meet the Driven Class was first operative at.

 

When our North Texas Chapter hosted our first BCA National Meet in Plano, TX, at that time, a hot topic was allowing halogen headlights in the 400 Point System judged class as a "no-deduction" situation.  It was quite by accident that I discovered why they should not be allowed, although other clube allowed them.

 

I heard Val Ingram state, as a part of a discussion, that (paraphrased), The BCA was the ultimate Buick car group and cars at its shows should be judged to a standard of "End of the Assembly Line", correct for the model year of the vehicle.  Which is how the 400 Point System should be oriented.  When I heard that statement, it made perfect sense to me that halogen headlights, like radial tires should not be allowed on vehicles they could not have been factory equipment on from the factory (not dealer-installed prior to the purchase of the vehicle).

 

Back to the mention of "changes in judging", in The BUGLE . . . 

 

For vehicles with modifications not to the level of the vehicles not being put in the Modified Class . . .

 

I would propose that the Driven Class be expanded to allow for previously non-allowed items AND also be split into "Driven Display" and "Driven Judged".  Leaving the Archival Class to be the driven, patina'd, and more correct vehicles in the non-400 Point System judging.  I would also propose that "Driven Display" could also include Modified vehicles which are not judged, unless a "General Display" or "Car Corral" designation is available at the national meet.

 

As to the Driven Class, there would need to be some criteria for participation in that class, at either level.  One would be a wheel diameter which aligns with what was factory-available on the car when new.  Factory wheels not required, although welcomed, but of the OEM wheel diameter only.  The INTENT of the owner would be to maintain the vehicle "as stock", but with some changes.  To large would be "Modified".  Keeping "chrome" to an appropriate minimum, mimicking what the factory had available, for example.  Too much would be "Modified".  "Level of Execution" would be KEY in these changes.  Different upholstery fabrics/vinyls than stock, sewn in the same general pattern.  Fine.  Aftermarket seats, that's "Modified".  "Used car lot-ized" bench seats, not good.  A comprehensive list if changes could be formulated to determine when a Driven vehicle would need to become a Modified vehicle, too.

 

In the powertrain realm of things, replacing the stock automatic transmission with a more modern 3-speed automatic, or even a later 8-speed automatic, with needed driveline changes, would be possible provided other aspects of the Driven Class were adhered to.  Similar with modern-style EFI, or perhaps such EFI vehicles could be in a sub-class of Driven.  NO deductions for rock chips, bug splatters, or "use degraded" bright trim.

 

I wanted to make this posting to ensure BCA and other car club members might learn of the proposals mentioned in "The BUGLE", with some comments on this subject.  Solutions rather than otherwise.  Perhaps it can become a "sticky" at the top of the page?

 

Just some thoughts,

Willis Bell  20811

 

 

Edited by NTX5467 (see edit history)
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I think your proposal has some merit Willis but it sounds like a whole new level of complexity. To keep it simple, what I think is needed is some acknowledgement of cars that do not fit any class due to limited modifications, and is like the driven award, but not the same.  This acknowledgement could be adjudicated on the field by the same group that does the driven awards.  It could be a badge, a pin, a certificate, or something else that allows people to walk away feeling like the Club appreciates them bringing their vehicles to a National Meet.

 

 

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There always seems to be confusion with some members and their cars as to how they should be classes.   

The owner selects the class when he enters the car,  obviously some owners have a broad view of stock/original.  

At the Chicago meet 2 years ago I was on the judging team for "turbo" cars (don't remember the class)  GN's and T types. 

There were about 8 vehicles and about 5 of them were modified,  most with several modifications that would create lots of deductions in 

the 400 point class.   Rain forced a stop in the judging and during that time we suggested to the owners they would be better off in the 

modified class and most of them changed classes.   Unfortunately those of us that might see a car in the wrong class do not have the

opportunity to suggest to the owner his cars is in the wrong class because the cars have not all arrived and some that have do not have

their class cards in the window. 

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Might it be the human competitiveness orientation?  Sometimes good, sometimes otherwise?  Over the years, to me, the BCA National Meets have grown to a "Really BIG Shew", as it probably should be to celebrate everything Buick.  A "people event" and a "vehicle event" combined for everyone to enjoy and participate in to their desired level of involvement.  Awards are just ONE part of the whole situation.

 

To me, the shows should celebrate the vehicle marque and those who own them.  Plus a sharing of knowledge such that vehicular knowledge horizons are expanded, openly swapping tips of how to do things, for a better Buick ownership experience and appreciation of the engineering which went into them. 

 

With a very diverse Buick family, spanning the World, there can be LOTS of tips to swap and things to learn about!  As "How I Love To Drive My Buick" plays in the background (physicall8y or mentally).  (It's on YouTube, too)

 

NTX5467

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2 hours ago, BUICK RACER said:

why don't we quit competeing for trophy and trash and go enjoy our friends and accomplishments with the best cars and friemds evEr?!

 

  BINGO, Roberta!

 

   I only enter my driver so I have a parking space. And a bench on which to rest my weary bones.

 

  Ben

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As with any business entity, non-profit status or otherwise, survivability is rooted in the ability to give folks what they want.  Significant numbers of people show up at a National Meet and want, and expect to be, rewarded with an award for their efforts.

 But all forms of judging are voluntarily entered.  There is nothing saying the people have to participate in judging.  Still, a significant number do.  So, if the Club does not provide that service, then it runs the risk of losing those who want or need to have it. 

For those who want no part of being judged, there has been nothing that forces you to be judged.  Just like you consider not being judged to be fun, others consider judging to be fun.  This club is already situated to provide the best of both worlds to most of us then, just the way it currently exists. My thought, however, is that there are those would like to have an award or acknowledgement for their fine vehicle, but they do not fit into any existing class.  And I still think it would be advantageous for longevity of this Club to fill that niche.   

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With all being said with folks' opinions, it sure beats "peer judging" which is truly a bummer.

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My lone vintage is not unique, nor a show-stopper. But I don't care. I go to shows for the fun, the education, the camaraderie, etc. I'd probably feel differently if I were bringing something truly unique. Modifications are so personal in many cases I doubt that there will ever be a consensus of what is the "best" modifications on a car.

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OK, guess  it could get pretty boring if all we had to do at a National Meet is talk to each other and stare at each other's cars! LOL!

So look for me in the swapmeet area and then Class P on Saturday in Strongsville, yeah a judged car, my second one to be judged at a BCA Meet ever!

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On 4/4/2024 at 4:23 PM, BUICK RACER said:

yeah a judged car, my second one to be judged at a BCA Meet ever!

I thought you brought a car to be judged to Richmond in 2000? I know you ran at VMP (Virginia Motorsports Park). I was too busy with the hospitality room to go to the racetrack.😞

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6 hours ago, ted sweet said:

i thought driven class wasnt judged

Driven class started out as being  judged. There was an age requirement and the rule of driven the entire way to the meet, plus the allowance of some modifications such as radial tires and different headlights and the car being essentially intact. 

Then the rules changed around 2015 to allowing cars to be not driven a certain percentage giving long distance travelers some leeway in case of unforseen circumstances. Then in 2017 the rules changed again to making the driven award an item for sale thru the registration process.  And lastly the rules were reverted to the first set at some point but I don't know when that happened except to say it was in place for Spokane in 2023. 

I do believe in each rule situation the owner was asked to sign a certificate saying the vehicle met the qualifications. I was never sure what happened to those certificates.

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As I recall, being at the 1999 General Membership meeting when the proposal for a Driven Class was presented, at the time, I felt it was a good deal for those that wanted to drive Buicks to the national meet, but not enter the 400 Point judging.  I was under the impression that it would be "normal cars" rather than "Modified", although some considered that adding an alternator to replace a generator was "Modified".  Or adding an add-on hang-down air conditioner was "Modified".  Then came the BCA BOD's approval, with "conditions".  I was not aware of the current status of the Driven Class, or how it has changed over the years of use, yet I see it as a way to have MORE Buicks participating in the national meet, for everybody's increased enjoyment and recognition.

 

What I also remember is hearing comments from BCA Members who had registered for the then-first year Driven Class at the BCA National Meet we hosted in Plano, TX, its first year of implementation.  They were surprised at the "conditions" that the cars had to meet in order to be in the Driven Class.  It was not as they suspected and they were not pleased.  Since that first year, it appears that somebody has been responsive to "customer input" for the Driven Class.  Yet a constantly-changing (seemingly) set of "rules" needs to be standardized and stabilized for best results.

 

ONE thing I foresaw for the Driven Class was that people who did not desire to maintain their 400 Point and archival achievements, could transition their cars into the Driven Class, if they might desire.  Still enjoying the car they worked to restore/maintain rather than letting it sit home instead, or be sold.  Even if they might desire radial tires, halogen headlights, or even some drivetrain enhancements to make the vehicle more safe and enjoyable to drive on trips and excursions.  Yet not altered to the extent it would easily come under the umbrella of the Modified Class.

 

Hopefully, some common ground can be found where a flag can be planted and celebrated.

 

Willis Bell  20811

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The "Driven" award is given out to anyone who drives their car to the meet, and it has to be model year 1999 or older.  It can be purchased regardless of if the car is judged or not.  

 

Day 2 class is geared toward attracting folks who make modifications like headers, intake manifold, aftermarket period correct wheels, racing stripes, aftermarket gauges, etc.  A place where the 400 point system would eat them alive...the modified classes provide a place where those changes are embraced.

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My observation is that criteria for participating in the Driven Class have changed from the initial 1999 proposal several times.  I understand that those worried about such things do not want a "modern car" being a part of this class, but now even a 25 year old car can be termed "modern car" in their way of looking at things.  In other words, if somebody might drive a 1940s car to the meet, at moderate discomfort, these people want ALL participants in the Driven Class to have similar discomforts as they did.

 

All of which tends to make it look like those who are now formulating the criteria for the Driven Class might be advocating a variable orientation, over the years, rather than something consistent and well-considered.  To me, the Driven Class can encompass ANY Buidk which is not desired to be judged, but still mostly "as produced" with the intent to maintain it as an "as produced vehicle".

 

To me, the Modified Class should attract vehicles with modifications, which initially was more toward customized body changes, it seemed.  Some great customized Buicks have existed, over time, for ages, which were far outside of the realm of the 400 Point system.  When this class was first proposed, the vast bulk of Buicks with engine modifications and such were in the realm of the "GS Club" operatives and not the "General Buick Owner", by observation.  The GS-oriented people were already in the national GS Club and had no intention of joining the BCA and its 400 Point judging system, by observation.  In some cases, the two groups had cross-over members, but I observed this to not be universally true.

 

If I was going to design a judging system expansion . . . I would leave the existing 400 Point system and Archival class exactly as they now are.  

 

The Modified I class would be divided into several orientations, by "intent" of the owner.  One section would be the Body Modified section, where the bulk of the modifications were related to body customizing, with some improved underhood cosmetics and possibly ride height modifications.  My observations have been that those who desire such modifications, do not always desire to make other chassis or engine changes of equipment.  ALL Buick-powered or with an engine which could have been period-correct for a Buick.  Unfortunately, "LS Swaps" would not be allowed, but NorthStar swaps would.

 

A Modified II Class would be "Fast with Class", which would be for owners who desired to make many of the "Day Two" changes mentioned, which would be related to increasing road performance for competitive events.  Related to engine performance and handling performance, mainly.  Ride height modifications can exist here, too.  This is also where enhanced GS cars could be judged. 

 

The Modified III class could also include "Clones", "Tributes", or well-executed "Buick should have built this car this way" vehicles.  Which would include G or B-body "El Camino" type vehicles, station wagons with GS drivetrains and ornamentation, 

 

A Modified II-R Class would be for pure race Buicks.  Drag racing and or road racing.  "Street Legal" use would be marginal for some.  These vehicles would be known by their Sanctioning Body Required roll cages, with race seats, easily-reachable fire extinguishers, and/or a visible external "On-Off Switch".  Including a race-oriented power train and suspension items.

 

The original orientation of the Driven Class was that it would be a Buick driven the complete distance to the national meet.  Specifically excluding "trailer queens".  This class might be considered something of a "Car Corral" class, as it would be all-inclusive of any other vehicle which was not desired to be judged or would fit into a specified criteria.  Which could include vehicles which had been prior 400 Point cars which the owner now desired to "drive and enjoy" rather than show, although still keeping them "nice".  It could ALSO include Pre-400 Point Vehicles, too!  Those that might be "in process restorations", but still drivable and enjoyed for their Buick traits.

 

Some might disagree, but I would ALSO include "non-Antique" Buicks, no matter how new, in the Driven Class.  I feel we need to embrace THOSE owners, too!  Let them feel like a new "Part of the Family".  If they don't have an older Buick, perhaps they might "get the bug" for one"?  Some might discover that their well-maintained/preserved Buick might be capable of entering the 400 Point judging, more than they suspected it might be easier than they suspected.  In any event, letting them enjoy driving their Buick to "See the USA".  

 

In conclusion, I fully realize how much larger this could make a BCA National Meet bigger in scope and operations.  How the various awards presentations were handled, together or separately, would need some consideration, too.  A KEY orientation would be that anybody who drives any Buick to a BCA National Meet would have a place to show it, if they desired to do so.  A place to park it amongst their peers, if desired, no matter the model year.

 

I also fully realize that having more participants in the National Meet show field parking can also put more criteria on where the National Meets are held.  Both in physical venues and geographic locations.  Which might tend to move them away from host hotel areas into areas which might require "driving to" to get to.  Which could mean additional security measures would be needed, plus some other side issues to deal with.

 

In prior decades, the use of technology to speed judging activities has been discussed and considered.  Perhaps it's time to put more of those things into play?  Even if it might be "short-term leased"?  Perhaps our Office Managers might have some input here, considering their involvements with other vehicle groups?

 

Also in prior decades, One of my observations has been the "general non-inclusiveness" of BCA National Meets.  The "12 Year Rule" automatically excluded the Riviera and GS enthusiasts, from the introduction of their cars, right up front, which then motivated them to form their own groups, way back when.  As they might wait for their cars to get old enough to participate in BCA show events.  For an organization which professed to embrace "all things Buick", this did not seem to fit.  Many did not want to see "new Buicks" being judged against their older, restored/maintained Buicks, which I understand.  I also understand that a new vehicle, back then, was not a "perfect vehicle", too.  In one respect, you paid $$$$ to get a new vehicle, then spend time detailing and spiffing it, or you paid the same money to re-do an older car to the same level of execution.  Same money spent, same ultimate vehicular result, in theory.

 

II also kept hearing the word "antique" as describing the BCA, which indicated a particular mindset or orientation.  Yet, when I specifically looked for the "antique" word in BCA documents, I did not find it anywhere.  Where did that orientation come from as I have heard it used many times over the years?  Is it an unspoken orientation that has influenced BCA operations for years?  If the BCA is considered to be "An Antique Car Club", that could well be the reason for declining membership and few younger members?

 

Just some thoughts and things to ponder,

NTX5467

Edited by NTX5467 (see edit history)
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We have spent months, nearly a year reworking a functional plan and judging system for the Modified group that is fair and inclusive.  We've consulted several other clubs and organizations on how they treat/judge this type of class so that we don't miss anything or anyone who might be left in the dust. 

 

Here are the classes/criteria for Modified now:

 

The new system has new classes, and a new approach to judging using a 100-point scale. Modified judging is open to all Buick-bodied cars with a Buick or GM engine, at least 12 years old. Classes under the new system:

Mild modifications or “Day Two” – Must have a period-correct Buick engine. Simple modifications such as intake manifold, chrome kits, headers, wheel and tire upgrades

Resto-Rod: 1948 and older; Buick or GM engine.

Resto-Mod: 1949 and newer; Buick or GM engine.

Radical- all years: Major body changes are allowed, such as chopped or channeled; may have drastic interior changes.

Display Only: May include “Rat Rods” and Buick less 12 years old; also non-Buick bodied or non-Buick/GM engine. Car must have either a Buick body or a Buick/GM engine to be displayed.

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I appreciate the idea, WIllis, but the short answer is no. 🙂  We will not alienate anyone who modifies their car in the Modified classes.  That is exactly what they are.  The argument came up about having LS style engines and SBC, etc installed....the counter to this argument is that recently there have been factory Buicks with the LS style V8's installed, and also the mid 90's Roadmasters with 5.7L "SBC" engines.  So, the argument that Buick-only engines in Buicks is moot.

 

Also, you can't help but notice the wildly popular LS swap phenomenon that has swept the community in the last 5-10 years.  My gut says that the modified classes will be seeing MANY more of these as time continues.  We cannot turn our noses up to this, ESPECIALLY in the modified classes where it is literally in the meaning of the word.

 

I love me an all-Buick Buick, but we have to have open arms to changes.  If not, this is what kills clubs, and has been killing clubs.

Edited by Smartin (see edit history)
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