[ by Gary Cooper ]
As a board member and enthusiast volunteer, I have been briefly involved for the 2018 NER Concours d'Elegance. Most of the real work is being done by Rick Archambault and the rest of the Concourse committee, and they are planning a spectacular event this year at Prowse Farm in Milton.
My introduction to the world of Concours began last year when NER hosted the Zone 1 Concours, and I had volunteered to work the registration table. So I got a brief taste of it, and was blown away by the presentation of many fine cars from around the Zone. This year, the call went out for volunteers to judge cars. Now, I didn't see how that could be for me, since I've never entered a Concours, let alone judged someone else's car. However, Rick explained that anyone can judge, once they know what to look for. See, the thing about the NER event - even though it has a fancy sounding name reminiscent of the world famous Pebble Beach or Amelia Island events - is that the only things that are judged are cleanliness and presentation. You won't lose points for not having the correct valve stem cover for your 1965 356C - but you may, if it is found to be dirty!
However, new judges can't just show up on Concours day and don their blue blazers, straw hats, white gloves and clipboards. Just kidding, I don't think anyone does! So, we were asked to attend a judges training seminar at the home of long-time Concours attendees, winners and judges - George and Cindy Markell. When I arrived, George asked me - much to my horror - to pull my decidedly non-Concours, 140,000 mile 2003 Boxster into his garage. He wanted the judges to be trained by evaluating my car!
They explained the Boxster, because of its mid-engine design and the access difficulties that entail, would not have the engine bay judged. However, if you have a pre-997 Carerra, you better detail that engine fan. For the Box, they would just focus on the exterior (top only) and interior. George walked us through things to look for and what we could and couldn't do as judges. For example, when judging the interior we had to have our feet on the ground and could not sit in the car.
Needless to say, it was a fairly humbling experience to have these guys going over my old car - I hadn't even washed it recently! But George, perhaps feeling bad for me, explained my car was actually in pretty good overall condition and - with some preparation would certainly be a car he would encourage me to enter in the August NER Concours d'Elegance event. And if I didn't want to be judged, I could simply enter the Display Only group. So, what the heck, I have a garage full of cleaning products - I think I'll give it a shot. You should too!