As the thread title suggests, this topic is all about the judging criteria that is used at the Bellett Nationals. I’ve created this thread for you all to read, if you so wish, so that you have a better understanding of how the judging takes place, what is judged, why it is done that way, and hopefully you can then use this info to assess your own car/s to improve your chances of winning a trophy, again, if you so wish.
First off, a few guidelines…. These judging criteria have been an evolving process since the first nationals held in 2006. They were set up by me, and have been modified as time has gone by for one simple reason…. Due to the ever increasing standards that many Bellett, Wasp, and now Florian owners go and present their car/s in, it’s necessary to slightly change things from time to time to make sure the really good cars are recognised as such, and the owners are rewarded for their fantastic efforts.
Also, as this is a thread about how to guide you on how you can maximise your chances of success, as per the judging criteria that is used, I won’t accept criticism, aggravation, or general bad comments on what others think on how things should be. I apologise if this sounds harsh from the “get go”, but as there is, and has been in the past, a lot of time spent getting the judging to where it is now, but more importantly…. It is all done for free to nationals entrants. Most other car events/shows require an entry fee to be paid to attend, where as the Bellett Nationals don’t. Adding to this, the trophies that are handed out cost money. That is obvious. But as there is no income from attendees to cover these costs, the trophies are sponsored by a small number of companies, so that the costs of them are not put onto the attendees as a whole. Please remember this if you are lucky enough to receive one if the future, as without the generosity of these companies, there would be no trophies, and they really are the reason we can award them. Added to this, and on a personal note, the judging is done by myself and a team of owners who have been involved in “show’n’shine”s, “concours” and other car shows over the years, and while we carry out this job, please remember, we are not paid for this role…. We are normal attendees like everyone else, and while the event is enjoyed by all, we have a role to do (that we do gladly), and we spend a lot of time working hard to award the car/s and owner/s that are deserving of a trophy. I know that the organiser/s of the 2010 event witnessed a few problems that arose during the judging in 2009 (namely, the judges missed out on their lunch that they had paid for, due to the extra time taken during the judging from these problems that were, at that time, out of the control of the event organiser/s and judges), so a great event can become even better for everyone involved.
Briefly, questions were raised a while ago as to why the judging is done in the manner it is, by using a formula of putting cars into the same judging “groups”, whether they be a standard car or a modified car. For the reasons as to why this is, please read my response: viewtopic.php?f=42&t=614
, and this formula will continue in the future.
OK, here we go!
The prime reason why these criteria are laid out this way is simple. They are to judge each car on its own merits, award points in each judged category, total the points at the end, and the highest point score wins. In the event of a tie, both cars are re-judged in a much more detailed fashion to decide a winner.
The judged system revolves around an easy formula. Each car is judged by 2 judges. The car is judged on the presentation, detailing and cleanliness in each area, and awarded a jointly decided number of points out of a total. For instance, if the total number of points that can be awarded in the “paint” category is 25, then a number is decided upon out of 25. As time has gone by, we judges have a pretty good understanding of what each other is thinking now, and we can usually decided upon the same score easily. If we have a difference in score, for instance, I decide a score of 20 out of 25, while my judging partner decides 18 out of 25, then we’ll agree on the “middle ground” of 19 out of 25. If the difference in our scores is more than 3-4 points, we’ll then discuss our reasons for the scores, and make a decision.
The overall JUDGED categories are awarded for the “best” and “runner-up” for each of the “GT”, “Sedan” and “Other” (being Wasp, Florian, etc.) groups. Please remember that as the number of cars attending each year increases, these categories may change slightly, but the main categories will stay the same. There are other non-judged categories awarded (being “Encouragement Award and “Spirit of the Nationals Award), but as these are NOT judged and are awarded for different reasons, as decided upon by the judging team and the organiser/s as a whole, I won’t go into them here. There is one other “judged” category, being the “People’s Choice Award”. This is actually awarded by, as the name suggests, the people at the event, not the judges, for the car that the majority of the people like the most. As this is not a “true” judged award, I won’t go into it any further here either.
In each judged category, every car is judged on the following as a separate category, with some sub-categories, and each is given a separate score to be included in the total score:EXTERIORPAINT
: fairly obvious. The better the paint, the better the score. Having said this, well maintained ORIGINAL paint would score just as well as a RE-PAINTED car, even if it isn’t quite as “shiny” as the re-painted one, due to the efforts involved in maintaining 40 year old paint.PANEL
: again, fairly obvious. The better the panel work, the better the score. Included in this category are panel gaps. Again, the better they are, the better the score.LOWER VISIBLE AREAS
: While we don’t judge the undercarriage of the cars, we do look at the lower areas of each car that is visible. Look at the front of your Bellett, and you’ll see the whole area around the crossmember/sway bar/front suspension is easily seen. Also, the under-guard area is seen, especially behind the front wheels. At the rear, exhaust outlet/s and under the rear floor is seen too. Basically, these need to be tidy, as many cars nowadays have a lot of un-clean areas in these places, so a can of black paint can do wonders under the guards, etc., to make them tidy again.WHEELS & TYRES
: matching wheels, and tyres, on the car are obvious. How clean and tidy they are is as well, as is the condition of the tyres. Added to this are little things like making sure they have valve caps, matching wheel nuts (if visible) etc. Also, even though a tyre is washed, doesn’t mean it’s clean (we’ve all washed our car and the tyres still look dirty….), so a cheap can of “tyre shine” can be your best friend!CHROME/TRIM/BADGES
: obvious again. The better the condition, the better the score. Just remember that this area is judged on what is actually fitted to the car, so if your Bellett is “de-badged”, then it won’t suffer in this area. Again, if it’s there, it’s judged, and if it’s not there, isn’t not penalised. Also, we have seen a few cars with grille badges fitted upside down….. please make sure your badges are correctly fitted.GLASS
: obviously, the better the glass, the better the score. Having said this, dirty windows are PUNISHED in the scoring. A few scratches on a clean window will always be given a better score than a brand new windows that hasn’t been cleaned. And this includes inside AND outside of each window. Also, remember that window rubbers are included in the glass score, and again, better = better.LIGHTS
: this is for front AND rear in one score. Obviously, cracked lights are a no-no, but we want to see MATCHING lights, namely headlights, not for instance, 1 “Toshiba”, 1 “Lucas”, and 2 “IKI”s. Also, a bugbear of us judges is incorrectly fitted lights, namely the small side indicators on the front guards. Yes, there is a right way and a wrong way up!ENGINE BAYCLEANLINESS
: OK, clean is best! No oil stains, grease, dirt, coolant, etc. We look at the ENTIRE engine bay, meaning up top, down low, everywhere, including the crossmember/steering rack area that is always hard to keep clean. So clean, clean, clean away!PAINT & PANEL
: basically the same as the exterior P&P, just scored as one. Again, evenly applied and polished paint and straight panels are awarded well. And we look for rust, as we all know where it happens….ACCESSORIES
: everything that’s fitted to the engine bay, like horns, battery, radiator, fan, mounts, fittings, all chrome work, etc., is judged. Not an easy category to describe, but if you look under your bonnet, you’ll see what I mean.WIRING/HOSES/LINKAGES-CABLES
: All judges hate messy wiring, hoses, etc. The neater and tidier these things are, the better. We don’t penalise original wiring, hoses, etc., nor do we penalise if the owner has taken the effort to hide the wiring, hoses, etc., but if it’s seen, it has to be neat, tidy, well maintained (ie: no “thrown in” wiring, spilt/perished hoses, etc.) and clean.INTERIOR & BOOTSEATS
both front and rear are group scored. Clean and tidy foremost, but no splits, tears, etc, are very important. A simple set of seat covers are much better to see than a split seat, and the judges will score in the same way.DASH
: this includes the steering wheel, console, gearstick, etc. Again, thinking along the lines of the seats, a cracked dash pad (we’ve all had one!) is much neater if it’s covered, but having said that, a non-cracked dash will score better than a covered up cracked one, but a non-covered cracked dash is worst of all. Steering wheel, console, gearstick and boot, etc., are to be viewed the same way.DOOR TRIMS
: this includes front and rear door trims/side panels, kick panels and parcel shelf. Clean and tidy, matching types (there are differences in Bellett trim over the years), and no rips/tears/etc are looked for.FLOOR COVERINGS
: the overall cleanliness of the floor area is judged, as well as condition. Rubber mats, carpet, etc, makes no difference. How clean and their condition does. Well fitted coverings are best, and a set of nice floor mats can do wonders to your score if they cover years of wear and use. Also, in the case of a race car (like mine) that doesn’t have any coverings, the cleanliness is easy judged, as is the condition, as this area is painted, so rough and worn paint is viewed the same way as rough and worn carpet.BOOT
: this is an overall score for the boot area, or in the case of a Wasp, the tray area. As always, clean and tidy, unlike most boot areas in 99% of “normal” cars in the world! A simple mat cut from carpet can do wonders for your score if it covers the usual scratches and marks that a 40 year old boot will have. Again, clean, clean, clean!
As you will have realised by reading the above, your car is judged on its presentation, first and foremost. Whether it’s a beautifully maintained original example, a freshly restored car, or a highly modified “hot rod” unit, makes no difference. Each car is judged on how clean, tidy, and well presented it is, over many different areas, and no preference is given in any significant way to originality or modifications. The main thing is that each car is best presented as the cleanest, nicest, well detailed car it can be, and those cars are always awarded for being so.
I haven’t included the actual amount of points that each area is scored out of for a couple of reasons. They are that as we change little things with the judging each year (as explained earlier), these points totals do change slightly, and also, as some areas of the car will always be more important than others (from a judging point of view), some areas have a higher possible total than others, and I don’t think it’s fair on everyone if a car is presented to make the most out of the higher scoring areas while ignoring the lower scoring ones, meaning that a car that might not be “worthy” of a trophy might win it. By not listing the areas points, I hope that we can all then have an even chance at the trophies by ensuring that we all try to improve our car/s in ALL areas, not just a few.
Added to the actual judged areas of each car, that when their judged scores are totalled for an overall score, there are “extra” points awarded, at the discretion of the judges, for extra things that the car might be presented with. By this, I mean things like original tool kits, handbooks, sale and service documents, brochures, display boards, etc, are given extra points to be added to the total score for the car.
Having said this though, please remember that we are VERY specific with what we will award points for. The main thing is that anything that’s presented for the car MUST be for that particular model car. For instance, displaying a sales brochure for a 67 sedan with a 68 GT will get no extra points, nor will incomplete tool kits, “toy” model cars that are not the same as the car they are displayed with, etc. Also, please consider making a “display board” to have with your car, that names the owner/s, describes the car, what’s been done to it, its history, etc. These can be a great source of info for other’s to read about your car, and can “break the ice” between you and other attendee’s when someone may want to have a chat about your car, their car, etc., and the judges like to have a read and award points for the board too.
After all, we all go to the nationals to have a great weekend (or more………..!) with people that have a like-interest as ourselves, and associating with everyone else makes for great friendships, and a display board can start that process.
I hope this has all given you some ideas on what to look for with our own car/s in respect to the judging, and that you can use this info to make your car the best it can be as well.
Mind you…. While more “nice” cars improve the Bellett world and the longevity of the marquee in the future, but 40 “nice” cars could be difficult to judge and decide which car/s are the “nicesest”!!