Being a judge at a concours for prestigious collectors cars is an honorable, but sometimes difficult job. To be recognized as a member of the judges team you have to wear an off-white Panama hat.
The White Panama’s.
The dress code for the judges is worldwide the same, a dark blue jacket with golden buttons, a white shirt, a blue tie and a pair of sand-coloured chino’s, but the most important thing is the hat.
For the ladies it is quit the same, but of course they can also wear a sand-coloured skirt. And instead of a tie, a scarf would be fine.
When the judges come to watch and rate your car, you better be prepared. Sometimes it is a bit funny to watch how nervous the owner of the cars are, it is a bit like in school days when the teacher asking something that you don’t know about. But most of the owners are very confident and proud of their presented car.
Everyone having their own preferences and their own passion for collectors cars. So I think that the most difficult part of being a judge is to stay always impartial. But nevertheless, the way of presenting the car is most important, catching the judges with the history of your car, showing pictures and maybe original buying contracts or other original documents. Presenting your own passion about having this car in your collection is the key.
Of course the facts has to be checked too, does the lights work, is the engine starting, all original parts and so on. If you can also present a perfect racing history or a famous celebrity as a pre owner it will make the difference.
At most of the famous concours worldwide, there are many categories to be rated, best restored car, best unrestored car, best coachwork, best originality, best design and many more.
Most of the time the judges are not alone, they come in a group of three to five people to take a close look to your collectors car. To be a judge you have to be related to cars, there are car designers, former racing drivers, professional experts and many more types of connaisseursa. It is very remarkable how many the judges know about the cars, sometimes they have a close look to every screw, to the smallest detail. This knowledge and passion makes their decisions so valuable for the owners. And maybe they can give you some advice of making your car even better for the future or even the next concours you will visit.
Winning a price at a concours is prestigious, even more when you get the most important price „Best of Show“ or „Best of Public“. It shows that you did everything right with your car and often the value of your car rises, if you win at Pebble Beach or Chantilly for example.
The judges has to be straight and tough, never missing a trick or something, never loosing the perspective, staying always cool and keeping distance to the owner. The dress code or the official look of the judges is very helpful I think. The white hats shows, hey, we are coming to rate your car, so be prepared and please don’t talk us anything that isn’t true about your car but convince us that yours is the best one here.
The men and the women with the white hats deserve all the respect for the sometimes difficult decisions they have to made. So be prepared. I will continue to watch the Panamas through the lens of my camera. Find out more about our photographer Ralph Lüker.