Displaying Your Ride
10. If you’re not going to do something right, don’t do it at all. That’s right. Execution is everything. Thinking about installing a monster air scoop on your carbon fiber hood? Forget it unless you have enough resources to make the final product look perfect. Please spare the judges the frightening sight of haphazard Bondo work, nasty glue residue, or fabrication asymmetry. It’s just not worth it.
9. Make the car a stud, not a scud. The better a car looks, the more attention one pays to it. If you want to attract the attention of the judges, your car’s “at-a-first-glance” appearance must be up to par. And if you want to keep their attention, the finer details must be there as well.
8. Be subtle. Don’t reveal all of your cards at once. Build your car so only a more astute observer will notice the smaller details such as a slight color change or a mild fender flare. Most observers, judges included, don’t always like to be spoon-fed with details. If you make them work a little bit, they will more likely appreciate what they find. However, if you make them work too hard, they’ll ignore your work, quickly lose interest, and walk away.
7. Keep your distance; don’t get jaded. Often, a builder gets a bit near-sighted when it comes to judging his own creation. This tendency to over-appreciate one’s work is the downfall of many artists. Whether it may be a particular piece of bodywork that you spent a lot of time working on or a mystical pearl paint job that cost you an arm and a leg, don’t let your efforts color your perspective.
6. Women are people, not decorations. While it may be awfully tempting to have bikini-clad woman sprawled over your show car, don’t expect to earn any brownie points with the judges. While there’s no doubt that beautiful ladies attract their attention, they do so by taking it away from your car! Not to mention the fact that having whistling men surrounding your car makes it difficult for the judges to get a close look (at the car, that is).
5. Presentation is everything. When it comes to displays, be as creative as possible. The right display, whether it is as extravagant as a neon backlit hydraulically actuated platform, or as simple as a well-placed smoke machine, can add a big impact to your overall appearance. While display may not be worth any hard points from the judges, the right one can make a nice-looking car look better.
4. A winning car must look great from every imaginable angle. Judges pride themselves for their ability to find flaws by looking in the deepest recesses of your car. Don’t let them win. Be creative. With a flashlight, look in every nook and cranny of your car to find and eliminate even the slightest imperfection. It would be a shame if a single rusted bolt head, nestled in your fender well, kept your otherwise perfect car from taking home a prize.
3. Make bolt-on’s look like they weren’t simply bolted on. This applies to electronics as well. A show car should look well thought out, with all of its modifications carefully integrated to its surroundings. Having something simply bolted on to the engine or screwed into the dashboard looks crude. Don’t be afraid to spice things up by fabricating an attractive mounting bracket or a custom holder. Remember that there will be other cars with the similar or same, modifications as yours. Distinguish yourself! It’s your only chance.
2. Keep your eyes, ears and mind open. Listen to what the judges say and try to learn from it. If a judge says that your car is too distracting and dissonant, find out what he means before assuming that he doesn’t know what he is talking about. It’s as important to learn from others, as it is to figure things out for yourself. It saves time as well as money.
1. Have fun! Remember, it’s only a car show. While driving home with a fat check in your back pocket or a trophy is nice, don’t get obsessed with winning. In the long run, the friends that you make and the people who you positively influence will be the real prize.
Prior to entry into the show, make sure the vehicle is thoroughly clean inside, outside, engine bay and underneath. Always clean your engine bay, wheels and undercarriage first so that any grease or dirt sprayed onto the car can be cleaned when you do that. Take your wheels off and clean both the inside and outside of the rims, there's nothing worse then seeing brake dust and dirt on the inside of a rim, also clean your brakes as you can see them through the wheels and they will be judged.
Final detailing can be attended to when the vehicle is in sit u at the show. You will notice some judges use torches to check areas, when you're doing your final clean go over it like they do with a torch and clean any areas you missed.
Consider how the vehicle will stand in the given space, either diagonally or square-on. Open one side for interior inspection, leave the other side closed for appreciation of the vehicle’s line. Open the bonnet and boot for judging.
Whatever they are, barriers should not obstruct the viewing or photographing of the vehicle. If they are upright stands, they should be stable and capable of withstanding the climbing tendencies of young children. Height needs to be no more than 30-40cm. Ground barriers offer little risk to either the public or the vehicle and still clearly define the display perimeter. They too should be stable and firmly joined together. Reticulation pipe and wooden logs have been used to effect and can easily be recycled after the event. Consider also using the barriers to channel lighting cables and support display lights.
When lighting a vehicle for display, the sky is the limit. Used to highlight chrome and paint, an engine bay or an interior, the techniques of placing lights into, above or alongside of a vehicle are always going to be a case of trial and error. Blue lights work brilliantly on chrome wheels, mixed red light creates a mood within the interior while white fluoro brings out the best detail in the engine bay and undercarriage. The direction of light should assist the eye, not glare into it. If possible, the light unit itself should be hidden from view, together with its wiring. Lights get very hot, burning both materials and any body part that may come into contact with it but problems aside, a well-lit display will always attract more attention than a non-lit display.
It is common for a vehicle to be displayed so that its undercarriage detail can be appreciated by the public and judges alike. To elevate the vehicle means using either wheel ramps or axle stands. Some entrants disguise ordinary ramps and stands with cloth or material, others construct custom units. However it is done, the units must be secure and sturdy. Once elevated, wheels can be removed to display brake and suspension detailing. Mirrors are often used when the vehicle is elevated.
As many of the patrons attending the show are not die-hard auto enthusiasts, it is often an advantage to use a show board to explain technical details about the vehicle they might not otherwise be aware of. At a minimum a board listing the make, model, year, engine type and size, body modifications and the owner’s name should be used as this also assists with photographer’s, and journalist’s records as well as helping judges. We have received numerous calls from magazines for customers contact details over the years as they couldn't catch them at the show, so it has definitely be worth it for those people.