如何為老爺車選美作準備 How to prepare your car for Concourse (Part 2)

如何為老爺車選美作準備 Part 2: 接受挑戰 ~ 勇敢地參加經典車選美

*Check out the English Version below

KENNETH WONG 黃恩揚- Classic insider 創辦人,經營高級經典及跑車買賣。對處理高檔車種擁有豐富經驗。曾是香港首間經典車拍賣行的營運總監。經常參與高端古董及跑車的相關活動,貼近市場脈搏

「要記住最終結果不是完全由數學計算產生的,有時你會發現入圍的兩部車,可能是一部完全經過修復、另一部是完整保存的經典車,會有着完全相同的分數。而評判也是人,各人會有自己的品味和見解。不過,評判團在選美會前會制定一致的共識和評選原則,因此是公平的。」

上回提到怎去為心愛的經典車作參加選美的準備,今次則說一下參賽實際的情況。當心愛的古董車給別人評頭品足,當然覺得百感交集。但你已接受挑戰,就一定要勇敢下去。參加選美會的一天會很漫長,大家要早一點到達會場。請永遠記住,在這裏不是工作,這是和朋友享受經典汽車的一天。

於入場的早上,場外多數都會大塞車,請務必留意自己那部車的冷卻能力。可以的話,就在前一晚將汽車停放在正確位置,並以保護布蓋住。另外,若果是早上開車去的話,可趁這段路將經典車加熱,因為車輛身處車展會場的一整天裏,隨時要啟動引擎,讓評審看看車輛狀態,故事前的warm up動作實在不能缺少。

在最後準備時,所有重要事情已經完成,只需要處理某些細節,而使用超細纖維布去拭擦,總是一個好主意。記住去除任何灰塵,檢查車廂細節。同時將想要展示的文件和物品,放在一個防水膠板上。大會通常會早一點通知車主評判何時到達,車主不要把這些展示品留在車外太久,始終觀眾一多的時候,情況就會比較亂。你該知道自己愛車的一切,自己亦可練習一下怎去介紹和表現自己對這部車的熱誠,同時練習怎去回答評判的提問。而在評判來到前,正圍在你愛驅旁邊觀賞的人群,會是完美的觀眾和練習對象,加上大多數經典車選美都設「公眾投選最愛經典車」獎項,你亦可借此打好關係,可能會獲得大眾青睞。你亦可跟同組別的參賽者打好關係,聊聊天介紹一下自己。這樣你就能夠知道自己該怎去表現自己,知己知彼,同時也能透過聆聽他們的故事,學多一點關於經典車的知識。

參賽者經常忘記評判不是他們的敵人,事實上他們是具有專業知識的經典車迷,很高興看到這麼多漂亮汽車。即使他們沒有表現出來,評委也會喜歡花半天時間看你的車,傾聽你能告訴他們的一切,並提高他們的知識。

要記住最終結果不是完全由數學計算產生的,有時你會發現入圍的兩部車,可能是一部完全經過修復、另一部是完整保存的經典車,會有着完全相同的分數。而評判也是人,各人會有自己的品味和見解。不過,評判團在選美會前會制定一致的共識和評選原則,因此是公平的。

評委們常常驚訝地發現參加比賽的經典車,準備程度都很低。很多評判跟我們談話間,都建議車主應該更謹慎地準備經典車。凌亂的駕駛艙和沒有打理的引擎艙也是很常見,大家要好好注意。不少評判告訴我們,車主很多時都告訴他們許多無謂的資料,同時某些車主卻不肯透露許多資料。但其實不用怕評審的提問,因為他們對你提問,其實只想了解你的經典車多一點。這是一個表現自己的好機會,不妨對評判說多點,而且不要怕答錯,有不懂的地方是可以理解的。當評判來到愛車面前評核時,他們會傾向聆聽而不是交談。因此車主應要說重點,不要讓評審覺得沉悶。你要盡量發揮自己那部車的過人之處,並誘導他們去發掘你那部經典車的獨特之處和重點項目,而仔細地檢查文件也是重點之一。

大家宜以笑容為評判留下好印象,剛才說到要跟評判說重點,如果那部車曾去過一家著名車房或workshop作復修,那記緊要跟評判提及,因為他們很有可能熟悉那店舖的質素,心底裏會加分;你也可說一下復修這部車的心路歷程,又或者是當中遇過的困難,這會讓評判了解你和你的車子更多。當評判詢問你的經典車的賽車歷史,或者是否在期間進行了不尋常的修改時,你不應擔心反而應該高興,因為他們正對你那部車收集更多資料,證明他們很有興趣。

最後當評分結束後,你的工作也結束了。好好享受剩餘的時間,把你的東西放好,記緊要檢查車燈有否關閉、車匙在哪裏、各扇車門、尾廂和引擎艙蓋有否關好等。無論最後結果如何,你都將會有美好的一天。此時不妨放鬆心情,欣賞一下場內這些美麗的經典車,認識一班志同道合的經典車迷吧!

How to prepare your car for Concourse (Part 2)

BY KENNETH WONG - Classic Insider

Entering the event where your classic car is about to be judged is always an emotional experience. You have to be a bit brave, because you are undoubtedly accepting a serious challenge. The day will be long: you will usually need to wake up quite early to get there in time, and you will have time to kill before the judges arrive. Make the most of this time to enjoy yourself. Always remember that this is not supposed to be work, or a life-and-death matter. This is a day out, among friends, to enjoy classic cars.

Entering the show

Usually very early in the morning, you are likely to find yourself in a rather wonderful classic car traffic jam. Keep this in mind if your car has limited cooling capabilities. If it’s possible to park your car in the right spot the evening before, do so, but protect it from the elements with a cover. If you drive there in the morning, try to warm the car up in the process, to help it get through a day of engine off/idling/engine off.

Final preparation

At this point, everything major should already have been done, and you will just have to attend to small details. It’s always a good idea to wipe with a microfiber cloth. Remove any dust and check that everything inside is as it’s supposed to be. Place the documents and things you want to show to the judges together on a waterproof laminated sheet. This will protect them from damp and keep things in order when the crowds arrive and the day gets hectic. It also makes things easier for the judges. The organizers will usually let you know the approximate timing of judging well in advance, so you can avoid leaving everything out of the car for too long.

Practicing

You know everything about your car, and you can repeat everything you’ve written in your cockpit notebook by heart. Even so, a final practice is always useful, and the crowd admiring your car is the perfect audience. They are obviously interested – why else would they be there? – and will listen attentively to every word you have to say about your pride and joy. The added bonus, if they have the opportunity to vote for a “public trophy”, is that they will feel more involved with your car. Treat them as if they were judges, answer their question, and try to gauge their emotional connection, because it’s likely that the judges will feel something similar. The only difference being that the judges are more professional and will show it less.

Look around

Introducing yourself to fellow entrants in your class is not only a sign of good manners, but gives you an awareness of the space surrounding you and the challenge you face. Knowledge is everything. Knowing who you have to compete with is a good starting point, because it allows you to adjust your strategy when presenting the car, enhancing aspects where your rivals are weak, or playing down areas where others are stronger. Of course it’s also a great opportunity to look at beautiful cars and learn their history too.

First and foremost, please remember to be there next to your car, fully prepared and here are 6 common mistakes to AVOID.

1.Enemies or friends?

Entrants often forget that judges are not their enemies. They are passionate people with specialist knowledge who are happy to be seeing so many beautiful cars. Most of the time, even if they don’t show it, judges would love to spend half a day looking at your car, listening to everything you can tell them and improving their knowledge. After a judging week-end, the most common regret among judges is that they simply didn’t have the time to explore a couple of the cars more deeply and talk more with their owners.

2. The result

The final result is not usually produced by a mathematical formula, because when totting up all the final scores you may well find that two cars, maybe one totally restored and another totally preserved, have exactly the same score. This is where judges have to make a decision based on their personal taste and instinct – which is of course endlessly debatable. However, judging teams are usually very consistent and at the start of the day will establish the criteria to be followed for all the cars they see.

3. Level of preparation

Judges are often surprised to find so many cars entered in competition with a very low level of preparation. Most of the judges we talked to, suggested that, generally speaking, cars should be prepared more carefully. Leaving in the over-mats is a very common mistake, for example. It would take 10 seconds to remove them to show the real mats. Messy cockpits and very dirty, neglected engine bays are also all too common.

4. Too much or too little information

Sometimes you feel like the potential buyer of a second hand car, with the seller trying to convince you to buy on the spot, without giving you time to think. Others act like you’re trying to steal their secrets.

Owners tend to give us too much useless information, while others can be very tight-lipped about any work done on the car. It helps if you tell them what’s really important about your car: tell them as much as you can, but avoid general information about the model and stick on the history of your particular car. I’ll be more impressed and ultimately they will remember more. It’s good to stick to the essentials. Sometimes owners don’t like it when judges ask questions. This is wrong, because they might actually be trying to find some information that could tip the balance in favor of one car over another. If you don’t know the answer, that’s not a problem, but if you do, it could make all the difference.

5. Drive the Judge

While judging, judges have to listen more than talk and owners really ought to point them to the important things so we can focus on them. Most owners fail to do this, which is strange. If you tell them that a huge effort was made during the restoration to keep the paint in straight lines even round all the curves, the judges will look more deeply at this point because we all know how difficult this can be. And if you are one of the first cars to be judged, the amazing, perfect straightness of your lines could become a reference point for other cars for the rest of the day. Play to your strengths. Original parts or documentation, special equipment, a preserved part with the original finish – all of these things could put you ahead of the competition. You don’t have to tell them how good your car is. Just prompt them to look in the right places, and you’ll make easier for them to see for themselves.

6. Double check the papers…

It may seem silly, but sometimes car registered as “show only” even though the owner thought he was actually competing. And if this is only discovered on the day of the show, it’s already too late. So double check all documents received from the organizers, and check again when the final program is published.

THE MOMENT OF TRUTH

Remember to

1. TALK TO THE JUDGE

Here they are: after so much effort, work and expenses, this group of 3 to 5 judges, are coming to judge your car. This is the very moment you worked for, and in the next 8-10 minutes, you’ll have to “sell” your car at your best. No mistakes are allowed, because you are under exams, and the time is so tight that there will be no time to correct anything. While judges will play their role, looking cool and very difficult to impress, you have to play your, being a gentleman who, entered your car into the competition to win.

2. GOOD MANNERS

If you are alone, simply remain close to the driver door and welcome them. Most likely will be the “chief” of the team being the first to shake your hand. If you already know each other, a quick “how are you today” will be more than enough, because in this very moment time is everything. If not, after introducing yourself to the first judge, he will introduce you to the others. Judges will show good manners in not touching your car, never: they are there to look only and, if they want to look inside the cockpit they can’t simply opening the door, but they have to ask you if could do it. At the end, they will usually thank you for bringing the car to the show, and you’ll thank them for judging your car.

3. DIRECT THEIR FOCUS ON THE IMPORTANT STUFF

Skip all the basic information, and directly go on what is really important, and, of course, in this you can enhance what is more a bonus for you. If you spent extra money in going to a famous restoration shop, this is the moment to show the name, because judges most likely will know him and the quality of its works, and this make them feeling better. In the same time, show them how well you did in the difficult areas of your car, every model has its weakness, because of if you did well in there, the assumption is that you did well in the easiest part too. If you drove the car to the event lets them be aware of it, because they will more friendly in judging the cleanliness of the car and of the interior. Explain them the difficult decision you had to take during the process of the restoration, and how you managed it, based on what information and experts you had access to, because this show attention to detail and an analytics approach to every issue.

4. OPEN TO QUESTIONS

Most often judges will make some questions; it is not because they are doubting about your car, but is a real sign of interest and, if your car has the right potential, a “underline” request of support in helping them to “sell your car” to the other judges team. What is often forget on the field, is the fact that Judges, your “enemy” of the moment, soon after finishing the first part of their duty, looking at the cars to pick the best in their class, they become your best allied in convincing the other judges that “their pick” is the perfect Best in Show winner. In this moment, when questioned by the other judges, more answer they are of giving, better is for you. So, when a judge will ask you if you have any evidence of your car racing history or for the unusual modification it sustained back in period, be happy, because they are trying to collect the information they could need.

5. WHEN THEY ARE DONE

As soon as the judges thank you and move away to discuss their views privately and fill in the score paper, your duty is over. There is nothing else you can do now but enjoy the rest of the day. Put everything away that you had out to show the judges, check that trunk and engine hood are properly closed, double check that the lights are off and the ignition key is where it should be. If the car has a soft top and the judges wanted it closed, this is when you can open it again to show off the cockpit.

From now on, the day is yours. Many people go around looking for other cars, owners and friends, others relax by taking a small nap or chatting with onlookers. If you go for a wander, be sure to have your cell phone with you with the ringer on. The organizers will have your number, and if you have to move the car for any reason – hopefully to go to the stage to collect a trophy – they can call you.

WHAT CAN YOU DO AFTER THE EVENT

It’s over. The event is finished and you are preparing to go home. If you won, give yourself and your team a break. But if you didn’t win, force yourself to look around the field, no matter how tired you are. Many people make the mistake of leaving as soon as they can, which means they might miss a vital piece of information that could help them next time. As in many areas of life, the time “just after” is an important time for analysis: you still have a fresh memory of what has happened and are still in an “event mood”, which tends to be a better frame of mind for finding solutions.

1. Look at the winners

Best in class winners are often declared well before the end of the show. If you are not one of the winners, your day is done. This is the time when you must try to learn something from your experience. Spending 10 minutes looking at the class winners could teach you a lot about what it takes to succeed. There will probably be a very happy owner around, who is more willing than normal to disclose some of the secrets of car preparation. Look at how he or she put together the book to show the judging team, look at the condition of his car, including the small details, and don’t forget that even if the cars are very different, many principles are the same. Don’t forget to congratulate the winner. Trust me when I say that even the richest collector, with the greatest team supporting him, will have worked hard and slept badly in the run up to the triumph.

2. Ask the specialist

Just think: you are enjoying the unique opportunity of having one of the greatest specialists judging your pride and joy. Analyzing it in every practical detail and then, just afterwards, offering a 5 minute debrief for you, full of their ideas and opinions. How much would it cost you? So ask them if there is any way for you to improve your car. Even if you don’t bring home a trophy, you will have made your trip to the classic car show extremely worthwhile.

3. Final consideration

There is no single recipe for winning best in show. Which is good, because if there was we’d lose 90% of the fun on the field. Showing a classic is like a military campaign: have a strategy to follow but once on the field, you must adapt as you go along. The most important thing is that we never forget to enjoy every single moment, because we have the most difficult, challenging, fulfilling hobby in the world. If you feel less in love with your classic after a series of bad show results, simply take her out for a drive in the country. You will soon remember why you drive a classic, and how wonderful it is to have perhaps not a best in show winner, but a car that you can use without too many worries.

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