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General concours questions

General Concours Questions

Roger Payne & other concours buffs - Roger, I note that you are restoring an xk140 to concours standards I am in the process of restoring a 140 fhc which I may possibly enter in a competition, in early next year. It depends how things go. One of the difficulties I am experiencing is getting things as right as possible, knowing what part is painted, or zinc plated or chrome plated etc or what screw goes where (I bought a car that was in pieces and hence my enquires about standard parts lists etc). Some times looking at other cars is not always conclusive.I am reluctant to keep asking the xk list members otherwise I would have a stream of questions. Are there other sources for this type of info? Is there an xk concours list. What have you done? - Regards, John Brown

To John Brown, NZ: there is a source for all the info (well, a fair bit of it, anyway) and that is this list. So just go ahead and ask. Someone will be bored by whatever you ask, but a few will be interested, and we all understand that that is what this list is for. You have some chance of finding out what you want here if you persist (ask Zoran M in Switzerland). Roger P has done a heap of research on things like the print on top of BEES bolt heads, so you will be a long way ahead if someone like him can help you. Your next problem will be to find concours judges who know 1/2 as much as you do. That's the frustration of concoursing. Hard to understand why people keep entering, really. There is a guarantee that your beautiful and much beloved car will be criticised up hill and down dale by someone who appears totally uninterested in what a great job you have done to get that former wreck mobile, and who may well give you second or third place instead of first through total ignorance. - Regards, John Elmgreen

John, Unfortunately there is no easy answer. I've put 100s of hours into researching originality through every means available. Extensive collection of factory literature, in conjunction with I'm sure 1000s of photos and looking at as many original cars as I can, throughout Australia and also in USA and England, and lots and lots of comparing notes and ideas with similar crazy people all over the world. You do however get to a stage where you know who KNOWS what they are talking about, and those who THINK they know, or just like having opinions. Unfortunately the book publishing industry is full of POOR books, that are big on glossy photos, but full of factual errors. There are a lot of Jaguar magazines that are extremely poor in there accuracy, so do not believe what you read in the magazines. Many an argument has erupted at a Concours because restorers have believed what they have read in these poor books/magazines. The problem is you do occasionally get something good within the poor magazines so you can't totally dismiss them, but be wary of any publications editors that panders to their advertisers, as the vested interest often gets in the way of the facts. There are some major offenders in this regard. I have a very high opinion of the books and magazines that Paul Skilleter, Philip Porter and the late Andrew Whyte are involved with, however even they have made mistakes. I can't offer the same general endorsement of other book authors or magazine editors, although the JEC's magazine editor Nigel Thorley does some pretty good work on 1960s Saloons. I'm not saying everyone else is poor, although some definitely are; its just that I am very careful whenever I read there offerings as you need to be prepared to sort out the fact from the fiction. I think there is some excellent specific advice on this XK-Lovers forum, but also some offerings that are not; again you have to be able to interpret what is quality comment and what is not. The big strength of this forum is it is predominantly enthusiasts and not those in it for commercial gain, so you avoid the vested interest comments that are usually inaccurate. I do highly recommend Philip Porters "New Edition" book "Original JAGUAR XK" which has been a painstaking effort of Philip's to do better than his First Edition. I haven't yet seen final publication (its due out NOW) but as one of those inputting to this book was very involved in reviewing the draft. I would not recommend any other book on XK's as a reliable reference source, including the First Edition "Original JAGUAR XK" (which although groundbreaking when published has too many errors throughout) I've probably given you more bad news than help, but the only answer is you do have to put a lot of time and effort into research, and/or establish reliable sources of help. Specific questions on this list usually get a very good response, and you usually see issues where the opinion is divided. And all of the above is just MY opinion! - Roger Payne

Roger: Your reply regarding information sources and how they are used was very appropriate, as was John Elmgreen's caution that concours can become a highly frustrating pursuit as in a Jaguar chasing its own tail. In my experience very few judges have as complete a level of knowledge as does the owner/restorer. Out of curiosity, a member of our local Jag Club just returned from three week visit to Australia and attended your National meet. He was surprised to observe that the cars were not separated into different classes but judged all as one group. Was he correct? He also spoke at some length about an SS1 car that had been driven several thousand miles to the event. He said it had a front guard/protector (which approximated the mesh from the side of a large chicken coop) to catch and ward off animals, birds, etc., that were encountered enroute. Assuming that to have been somewhat heroic, I hope the driver's efforts were rewarded. - Regards, Dick Cavicke

John, A difficult question since this list has shown that the "Gospel according to Concours Judges" to have been wrong in some places. James Warren xk140dhc S817518

Dick, Roger will confirm that cars are judged in classes. Who judges what of what classes depends on local availability. Terry McGrath, who I think is still on this list, organised it all. A 150 S OTs won as the best car of the day. This was the one that there were arguments about: what colour is blue? Regards, John Elmgreen

Dick, I was actually judging at the National Event recently held in Perth, WA (not Washington!). We judge all cars in sequence in random Class Order, using the same judges for Condition and Cleanliness for all cars, but Specialist Class Only judges for Originality, with some judges having sufficient expertise to judge more than one Class. For instance at a local club level I judge Originality of several classes, but at a National level I judge only XKs and E-Types. My knowledge of the other classes is not I think sufficient for other classes at our Premier Event, which is the problem; getting consistent expertise judges across the classes. So cars are all judged together, however Trophies are awarded in Classes, but in absolute terms against our 100 point system where scoring plateaus earn Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards. We also give a Best of Show Perpetual Trophy, and a Runner Up. In Australian Concours circles the opinion of those who have seen Concours cars in US and UK is that our Gold Award cars, are every bit equal to JCNA cars getting 99/100 points, although in our scoring system you get a Gold for 90.0+. And yes, Ivan Stephens, a long time and icon of the Jaguar Car Club of Victoria drove his SS.1 Tourer from Melbourne to Perth, and back, as is his normal practice of driving one of his several SS cars to wherever the National is held each year. For those who don't know Australian geography, this is like driving from San Francisco to New York and back, but on much poorer two lane roads, not freeways (or I guess Madrid to Athens for Europeans who aren't used of our distances) - Roger Payne

What would be ideal in Concours judging is that a judge could not judge a particular class, UNLESS he had restored one himseld. Impossible to have, but it would sure improve sanity. - Lee Eggers

If you have any questions or comments send e-mail to: ted@jag-lovers.org
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