by Rick Regan
To many classic car owners, the word Concours summons an image in the mind of a custom car show; forty coat, hand-rubbed lacquer paint jobs so deep you could swim in anyone of them, and sparkling glittermobiles chromed inside and out, lazily rotating over polished mirrors while the owners constantly dab microscopic blemishes with carefully folded spotless white dusters.
To others, the term brings to mind an immaculate, manicured lawn setting with row upon row of sparkling, pampered automotive objets d'art being discreetly admired, each representing a mega-dollar investment that is unthinkable for all but the fortunate few, who have probably never even driven their treasures for fear of dirtying the inside of the exhaust pipes!
For some, however, the word Concours has a different meaning. Yes, there is some glitter, and yes, a park lawn setting full of admiring onlookers is a very likely backdrop. But the object of the exercise is not merely to dazzle the spectators, it is to compete for the honour of owning the closest thing possible to the ultimate dream of any classic auto enthusiast-a brand-new, factory-fresh example of his or her favorite marque.
This, then, is Concours as practiced by most automobile clubs or associations whose members are interested in only one particular marque (or "make") of classic automobile, including most Austin-Healey owners clubs.
The purpose is not merely to promote attractivelooking cars, but to encourage historically accurate cars, both for the gutdance of current restorers and for the preservation of the marque as its makers originally intended it for the enjoyment of future enthusiasts. And, those owners with a little imagination may just be able to get a real feeling for how motoring back then really was.
All this, of course, takes a little effort, not only in car preparation and maintenance, but also in research-checking and cross-checking manuals and publications that were current for the period of the car, to ensure the authenticity of the Judges' Reference Standards. But the reward is your own little slice of history! And your weekend fun transportation takes on a significance beyond its physical form .
Interested? Then do something about it. Get out there and fix that leak that you have been ignoring for the last two seasons. Give your handsome brute a shampoo. You've got it, so flaunt it!
A copy of the Judging Standards is available from the Concours Committee Registration Standards contact.
Why wait for spring? Let this be your year to shine.
Austin-Healey Magazine. February 1989