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Thread: Club Concours Judging Criteria

  1. #1
    23K Original Miles slover's Avatar
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    Club Concours Judging Criteria

    An ongoing project that has been undertaken by your club leadership, is a redevelopment of the Club Concours Judging Criteria. Specifically, this is the standard and process by which Concours level cars are judged at 190 SL Group Conventions. As a result of the judging process, levels of Gold, Silver and Bronze are awarded and a Best of Show winner picked. This is determined by a mathematical result using the Club Judging Sheets, which are attached below.

    The judging sheets are a work in process at this stage, and we are looking for club membership feedback. In doing the judging, a score is provided for originality, how close the item in question is to original factory specifications, and condition, the cleanliness and wear of the item in question. The score is a “deduct,” that is, you remove a percentage of the allocated points for the item for lack of correctness (originality), or condition. It’s helpful to do the scoring by thinking in percentages. Is it 50% correct? Is it 10% worn? The sheets are organized by category of judging, each category having a team that judges and evaluates that category for all of the Concours car entries. The sheets right now are in a working form and are not in the final form which will be much more graphically functional.

    Please feel free to use this thread to offer criticisms, comments, questions, suggestions, etc., as they relate to the attached judging sheets.

    The sheets are also posted in the technical section of this website.

    Thanks in advance for your help,

    Judging Committee:
    Bill Ainsworth
    John Lewenauer
    Jim Villers
    Attached Files Attached Files
    John Lewenauer - Newsletter Editor - Regional Director
    1961 190 SL
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  2. #2
    Ricardo AJ MBMEX's Avatar
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    May I suggest to be more specific in details in some of the accesories as per 19004 MB book? Some examples of the details requerided are:

    1) automatic antenna; does it has be the Hirschmann 6000 Auta? I believe it is the only one factory installed.
    2) gas can; It has to be Allboy as stated in the book.
    3) Luggage; Karl Baisch up to 1957, 1958 and later Hepco as it has been documented in several catalogs of accesories.
    4) Spot lamp; Hepco or Hella? Has to be fixed at the windshield? does it has to include the 2 pole fuse box? Why is necessary to have the box?

    What about the rare spare parts travel box offered by Mercedes Benz?
    Ricardo
    Mercedes Benz: 190SL - 1961, 220 Cabriolet 1952, 300C - 1955, 220S - 1957 & some other vintage cars.

  3. #3
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    The committee has done an extremely thorough job, thanks! A couple questions: how can "depth of color" in paint and "deep" chrome finish objectively determined? Also, how many "judge hours" per car will it take to get the job done?
    jrs190sl

  4. #4
    23K Original Miles slover's Avatar
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    Ricardo, when we get down to the nitty, gritty details on options, we'll consult you for documentation. Thanks.

    Jim. How about you print out the sheets and judge your car in each section, timing each section as you go? Your feedback would be helpful along with the results for your car. One thing we're working on is the point cut offs for the three levels of Concours awards. The more input, the better we can do. If you're willing to do this, you can contact me offline and mail or email your results to me. Thanks.

    Depth of color and chrome is subjective and the job of judges. Some paint jobs just come off better than others as does chrome. Some aspects of judging will always remain subjective.
    John Lewenauer - Newsletter Editor - Regional Director
    1961 190 SL
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  5. #5
    Registered User tommd's Avatar
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    I thought I would try posting my thoughts on concours judging. I am not presenting this like I am correct, but only as a basis for possible discussion. Or maybe those in the know have already discussed and discarded similar thoughts. I should preface this by stating I am not a strong concours person, so my thoughts may not reflect the proper concours position. I hope I do not get kicked out of the club for this post!

    First off- my perspective of a concours Mercedes Benz 190SL is that it should be as designed and built by Mercedes Benz. My thoughts are that the “perfect” 190SL is one that just rolled off the assembly line. The next goal of a concours car (in my view) would be to keep it as close as possible to when it just rolled off the assembly line. Not to make it “better.” That is, if MB made them with a wave in the door, they should have a wave in the door. (Please keep in mind, I am telling no one what to do with their car, and mine does not meet concours by my perspective or anyone else’s.) It seems to me current concours cars take the design of the 190SL and not “restore” it but rebuild it, often better than new. If an old, faded, torn Rembrandt painting is “restored” by a museum, my understanding is they find ways to brighten the original paints to keep them as original and reinforce or patch the tears. In contrast, it seems many 190SL restorations are equivalent to taking the Rembrandt, stripping all the paint away, throwing out the torn canvas, replacing the rotted wood frame with new, replacing the canvas, and then repainting the artwork from scratch. That is, many restorations of a 190SL strip all the paint, all the leather, all the mechanicals, everything down to the bare nothing. Then many items are replaced, panels are replaced or massaged to better than new, all soft items that are not perfect are replaced. Chrome is redone not to factory standards but to “show” standards. By the time the car is done, there is virtually no item assembled, painted, chromed, stitched, glued, dyed, or fitted by any original German craftsman. It has all been redone, almost like a repainted Rembrandt. What is accomplished seems to me to not be a Mercedes Benz 190SL, but a 190SL replica. After all, at what point in a rebuilding process are enough components replaced that it is no longer a “Mercedes” 190SL but the “rebuilder’s” 190SL. Although it is great that owners take the time and money to save a very poor condition 190SL and rebuild it, as it’s paint, leather, etc are so far gone there is no “restoring” it, only replacing and rebuilding are possible, it seems to me it worthy to have a concours system that honors original and “restored” Mercedes first, then rebuilding next, both because it seems to make some sense to honor the original craftsman, and to help preserve those nice original cars (or original portions of cars) as long as possible. For example, there are still many cars with at least some original leather- leather that can be restored to very nice if not perfect. There are still many with original chrome. There are still many that never had major body work, etc. At 50 plus years, none of these would be in “show” condition. But maybe if they are not too bad, they “should” be the “standard,” maybe they should be the show winners.

    Would it make sense to have a judging system to reward original first? This could maybe be done by using a handicap type system. I do not know what a good factor would be, but let me use 85%. For example, maybe in judging a brand new show quality chrome, it would be worthy of 100% of the given points. Maybe if original chrome were judged, on its merits it would receive 85% of available points, but with a 15% handicap, they would score as equal. If the new were judged at 98%, the original at 90%, the original would win. This would create an incentive to “restore” original chrome, not strip the original German and replace it with “show.” The same could maybe be done for each area of the car. I know some of this may be difficult to determine, but maybe it would be possible.

    Or maybe it is just a poor idea.
    (Again, this is not to demean total rebuilds- I have seen many I would be thrilled to have.)
    Tom D.
    1961 190SL

  6. #6
    23K Original Miles slover's Avatar
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    Tom,

    Thanks for your thoughts and your points have merit, in my opinion. As you explained, there are not many 190 SLs out there that are mostly original and yet fall into the "presentable" category. You may be aware that in the collector car market, a premium is now being paid for "original," untouched examples. The Bloomington Gold Survivor show in St. Charles, Il. is a show devoted exclusively to judging "original" cars. Their awards are based on percentage of originality and condition. My good friend and I are introducing and judging a Survivor class in the Milwaukee Masterpiece Concours this year recognizing the uniqueness of these cars and the trend in the collector arena. The market is filled with money-doesn't-matter, over the top restorations and originality is the new must-have.

    So, you are absolutely correct that most Concours level restorations are over-restorations. However, I would submit that the panel fit, panel quality, upholstery, chrome, glass, top fit on these cars were well above average when they were new, after all, they were Mercedes. Today's restorations will show better paint, sometimes higher level chrome (although original MB chrome is damn nice) and unique "enhancements" that some restorers will do. The way the above sheets are designed is with a 60% weighting to "originality," ie., correctness, as in how the 190 SL came from the factory. The effort is to create a judging criteria where the restored example is as close as possible to as it was when it rolled off the assembly line first, and its condition second. There will always be differences of opinion about certain items and also when certain changes occured. In spirit, the higher scoring judged cars are closer to your vision than the lower, even if they are not untouched or unrestored.

    To my knowledge, a totally unrestored, beautiful 190 SL has not been entered in a group Concours judging. I could be wrong. However, should one show up, like this 6500 mile one pictured here, I feel the club would recognize it with a special award and judging, recognizing it's special place as an unrestored example. I'd go so far as to say, it'd be the hit of the show, no matter what glitzed and glammed example was sitting nearby. What you are really advocating for is a Preservation or Survivor class at the Concours judgings and I believe it would be the club's pleasure to have enough entrants to have such a class annually.

    But, I do understand what you're saying, how could this car not receive a Best-of-Show? Your handicap idea is definitely food for thought.
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    John Lewenauer - Newsletter Editor - Regional Director
    1961 190 SL
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  7. #7
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    You may be aware that MBCA has what is called a Silver Star Preservation Class that is aimed at recognizing owners and their cars that are driven and not show cars, with the focus on originality. The class is judged separately from the show class. There are some spelled out criteria if you would like to see them.
    jrs190sl

  8. #8
    Registered User Dave Polny's Avatar
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    New Judging Sheet

    I invited a few of the National level AACA judges to assist me in judging a car for show. After reviewing the judging sheet and comparing our notes, I referenced the Club books, volume I and II and educated the judges with all of the info needed to properly judge the car according to the new sheet. Each judge did an entire car, we started at different points. About 30-40 minutes later we had our judging done and we were all very close in our scores. Everybody was amazed how fast and accurate a car could be judged and be able to document exact details. They all agreed it was either black or white and it was either in compliance with the year model and the change schedule of the 190SL down to the tool kit.

    I think the biggest challenge will be education. Maybe a informal judging school prior to the convention or even the day / evening prior to the Concours would be time well spent.

    People spent countless hours of time and money making their cars the best they can be and a good judging session at the convention would be money in the bank for a 190SL enthusiast.

    Now is the time to upgrade and look at positive change for the future.


    dave
    Dave Polny
    Collection Manager
    dpolny@wilson-collection.com

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