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Hagerty Employee

Can this Ferrari 365 GT4 Berlinetta Boxer win a Platino Award? | Beyond the Details

When judging a Concours d'Elegance or, more specifically, the Ferrari marque-specific Cavallino Concorso d'Eleganza, it's all about the details... or maybe it's even Beyond the Details? Join Concours prep master Tim McNair as he walks you through the INSANE steps taken to get a car ready for the most competitive car shows in the world.

I have shown a judged car shows for near 35 years and when I started out I would as for my score sheet at most events I attended. 

I wanted the sheets to learn where I needed to work and I attended shows that were tough scoring. This really got me focused on the details so many miss. 

It reminded my car to a point that I placed over a Lamborghini and Pantera with a Fiero of all things in a sports car concourse. 

Everyone faints and cleans the engine and the fender wells. But it is the tough areas like the firewall and the space between the bumper and radiator no o e touches. 

The side glass is it marked up or in good condition? The seat backs of the cars in the 60’s with plastic backs, are they unmarked? 

the under side is it clean and prepared. Not the new dirt but it it a collection of years of dirt? 

You need to look in the areas most miss but are still visible. 

If it is a concourse event does everything work? Yes the check the head lamps and radio or clock. 

Not all events are dow to nuts and bolts but fo get them indexed in areas they can be. 

I do the tires and wheels inside out. Especially if it is an open wheel. I also do the tread at events. On wide tires it makes a big difference in how it displays. 

Also I polish and prep the paint panel by panel. Half my car is original paint. But careful work it all comes together. 

Note I still drive and enjoy the car. Most of the work once done just needs a light. Touch up now and then. 

I don’t do this for the glory. I just love to detail and it is a way I measure my work yearly. I have select events I attend and see if I can repeat my class. 

The only thing to keep in mind some events have the same judges yearly sone not. Some will not always score correctly but that is just part of the process. I have been marked off for orange peel in my paint but it was factory paint and the judges don’t always know. 

The cool thing was with what I learned I have taught others in my club the things I learned. We now share the things we know and when we attend national events most of us have place first in class or best of show. We cheer each other on and if one of us beats the other we know we got beat by a very good car and odds are the next year it might be our turn if we work a bit harder. 

I have detailed for family and friends. I have considered doing it on a larger scale but just don’t want to turn this into work. To me it is my zen like activity. 


I have respect for the people that maintain a car in concours condition, and even more for those daring to bring a wreck back into that condition.


They are cool to see, and a nice historical record. Same as the "untouched" time capsule cars we see from time to time that might be a bit dingy for concours.


I can see how the detailing and pursuit of this can be a person's thing.


I have to admit that it isn't mine though. My cars would look dirty, beaten and used next to the lowest scoring car at a concours. My fun is different and that is okay too.


Some people smoke, some drink I polish and detail. 


To be honest it is my exercise. Some people will jump on a tread mill. I would rather mow grass or detail a car for activity. I want to make best use of my time. 


I call them Auto Aerobics.