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Otis

How to Win a BMW CCA Concours Event

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All of these pretty pictures of Concours events. And folks dressed up in ties. Wow!! Makes me think back to my lone venture in the Land De La Concours, BMWCCA-style (NCC). To the days of spending lots of money on Zymol, and spending the entire weekend cleaning up my E-30, and then entering my beloved "Klaus" in the Deutche Marque (or however you spell that) "clean car" event. Only to be trounced like a Redskin quarterback on a Sunday night in Dallas.

What did I learn from that event? I remember driving home, steering wheel still slick from way too much Armour All, thinking to myself, where did Klaus go so terribly wrong? He was lookin' lovely as he was ever gonna get -- but his point total was a paltry 87! He only beat his born-on year by 3 measly points! And most of that was from the mileage bonus.

Undaunted, a man on a mission, I set about to find out what went wrong. More imporantly, if Klaus got slaughtered, how would Otis, my beloved 02, ever stand a chance?

Step one, I emailed the Concours Chair -- Sayeth I, "Would you be so kind, Sir, and would you have the time, to discuss how I could better my performance, so that I too may win one of those neato acrylic plaques?" Alas, days, weeks, months went by -- no email, no return phone call, no post cards, zero, zip, nada. Left to my own devices, I sought out past Concours judges, and fellow contestants, each time asking -- how exactly does one win a BMWCCA clean-car event?

Here for you, my friends, I share the collective wisdom.

"How to Win a BMWCCA Concours Event -- Eight Easy Steps for the Sure-Fire Winning Combination"

Rule No. 1: Silly wabbit, you can't win a BMWCCA Concours Event. Not unless you have won before. If you have won before, then you may win again. But if you have not won, you may not win. Sorry, it's in the rules. The lone exception? If you have never won before, and this is your first event, then you may place third. But no higher. You see, this way, you will be encouraged to enter again, this time, using more expensive wax. And after all, the Club needs your $20, so that it can buy trophies for the past winners. Whom as noted above, are permitted to win again.

Rule No. 2: Please make certain that everything on your car is stock. And we mean, 100% stock. Well, except for the engine - you can swap out the engine. And the brakes. Well, okay, those Recarros are okay, too. And alright, the AC Schnitzer kit is pretty cool, so that's okay. And needless to say, if you put a supercharger under the hood, you get a trophy, period (hey, you can check it -- it's in the rules!). But otherwise, your car better be stock -- and we mean stock! Indeed, if you put any of those obnoxious subwoofers in the trunk, then you lose points, bucko -- big time! In fact, you're lucky we don't DQ your butt, you obnoxious, ground-pounding, thumping butt-brain!

Rule No. 3: You must not have any lint in your AC vents. Period. Of all the things that you can do wrong, having lint in your AC vents is Offense A-Numero-Uno. In this regard, you must carry with you at all times, a dirty Q-tip. That dirty Q-tip, which you must produce upon demand, is proof positive that you don't have lint in your AC vents. You don't actually need to use the Q-tip to clean the vents -- you could use it for something else, like cleaning your ears (or something). In other words, it's the thought (and the Q-tip) that counts.

Rule No. 4: You must douse your tires in Armour All. In fact, anything short of using enough Armour All to float a battleship, is a Concours foul-out. Of course, it goes without saying that the Armour All must also appear, not only on the sidewalls, but on the tire treads themselves. Because everyone knows how practical it is, to Armour All the treads of your tires, when your car is parked in a muddy grass field. Hey, don't question the rules here -- it's just something that has to be done, if you want to win. Provided as noted above, that you have won before -- otherwise, you cannot win, regardless of how much Armour All you use, silly wabbit.

Rule No. 5: "Rags Down!" means, rags down, sucka! Unless you are a prior Concours Judge or Chair. In which case, "Rags Down!" means, "Rags Down, except for prior Concours Judges or Chairs -- you guys can keep on shinin', because you're going to get a trophy!" (Even if your car has a huge rip in the front seat, and rust on the a-pillars - hey, nobody's perfect, but that doesn't mean you're not going to get another trophy -- after all, you're a past judge!).

Rule No. 6: During the judging, it is imperative that you stand around and note, within earshot of the judges, precisely how many hours you spent "claying" your car, and that you tried "at least three different waxes" on your "other" car (a lowly mid-90s 3-series) to see "which one reacted the best, given the angle of the sun, the ambient air temperature, and the relative humidity." It might not hurt also to note exactly how early you placed your car on the field, timing matters perfectly to avoid any mid-morning dust kick-up, and any dew drops. Because as everyone knows, no self-respecting BMW owner would ever allow his or her car to be exposed to dust or dew! That might lead to something really, really bad -- like lint in the AC vents - horrors!

Rule No. 7: If at all possible, you should have a little scale model of your car, which you should place on the rear deck of your car. Particularly if it is an M-car. No Concours-winning car is complete without a scale model of itself. Also, please make sure that you bring with you, all of your past trophies. Please carry them in a large, leather suit case (preferably designer label). Please spread these trophies out on a blanket in front of your car. Because as noted above, it's important that you let the judges know that you are a past winner. See Rule No. 1, above.

Rule No. 8: Finally, if at all possible, make sure you have a new car (or relatively new car). For example, your 36-year old 2002 is bound to be dirty -- so why even try to clean it up? Much better to lease a new M-car, and then, don't drive it. Except to the Concours event, of course. You can drive it there. But please be aware, that if you drove the car, it will get dirty, but if you don't drive the car, then it follows that you increase the likelihood that it will be clean, and that you will win! Expressed as a formula: New car + little or no mileage = clean car, which in turn equals trophy. Provided, of course, that you've won before (again, see Rule No. 1). What if your new car gets dirty? Turn it in, and lease another one. Lease, enter, win, return, repeat. Get it?

So there you have it. It's so simple! Follow these eight simple rules, and those clean-car trophies will beat a path to your door. And above all, remember -- DON'T DRIVE YOUR CAR -- IT WILL GET DIRTY!!! Don't you just hate it when that happens?

Happy motoring -- Otis

PS -- To all those I have offended here -- well, to quote John Belushi in Animal House (after he smashed Stephen Bishop's guitar) -- "Sorry." To each his own, and remember, I'm just kidding -- and besides, who would you rather listen to on a Monday night, me or Theisman (does that guy ever shut up)?

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haha! good read!

personally I NEVER understood the clean car contest/concours breed.....I just don't see the point..... I'd rather watch a nascar race than spend all that OCD, anal retentive energy cleaning my car that will be getting dirty as soon finsih wiping it .......

I'd rather be doing something else like.....driving it.

so, to each his own for sure.......

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I have often wondered about the contradiction of a "clean car contest", much like I wonder about men that spend an hour in the bathroom "getting ready", and not what you think either, they are trully getting ready. I guess that's why I choose to cut my hair short, a comb... what is that?

This is trully funny, somebody please publish it!

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Enter the select circle - volunteer as a judge. Speaking just for the Deutsche Marques concours, they always need judges. I got roped in one year, based mostly on my having been a long-time club member and acquaintance of the concours chair. But I think just expressing interest should get you in.

For me, and I suspect most judges, judging is a process of elimination. Almost all of the cars entered are pretty clean and in pretty good shape. Judges have to look for things that distinguish cars from the rest.

The problem I have with the way our chapter handles the concours is that, in my opinion, after a car has won a trophy (maybe a couple of times?) it should be retired from competition instead of returning from one year to the next. I don't see what is proved to win the same competition year after year.

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David, That was funny. I have a lot of respect for people who go to that much trouble (not my thing), but the real catch22 seems to be that if you really want to be sucessful at the highest level in concours that you really can't drive the cars. I was very impressed with one guy at O'fest in Greensboro. He had an E30 M3 that did most of the track events and then he concours prepped that car (red car, Black gentleman in his early 50's, very nice guy, don't remember his name). You gotta respect that. I remember watching Dethefson's team taking the newly restored 2002 turbo off the trailer and having 3 people working on the final detail. I remember telling Bill Williams that I could build no mental scenario where I would participate in that kind of silliness. Knocking the dirt off and parking in the "for exibition only" section is good enough for me. But that's just me. I told Richard (when I picked up the Agave S14 02) that "this very moment is the cleanest this car will ever be". I'm thinking that if you got a bubble that it would solve all your concour problems. Tim

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That should be in print...too funny. Concours is a state of mind....a mental state!...J/K -Seems that concours quality is a lesson in perfection but the problem is, there's nothing perfect in this life---> So, might as well get the car dirty & drive it.

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this year's concours winners at O'fest, byron and sueann, drove their winning car from VA to MI in August and the A/C compressor broke and one of the windows wouldn't roll down...and they still won! it's a pretty white E30 325is. they drive it occasionally but yes, are VERY OCD about cleaning it.

they are very good friends of ours and are just crazy...as crazy as we are about 02s... they are nuts about keeping that E30 spotless. but, they DO drive it!

that said...dave, they have won previously, so your rules stand correct.

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Thanks, folks, for reading through my tome.

I've been told by at least one casual observer (by the way, someone who draws a significant portion of his business from doing Concours restorations), that I was a bit too hard on the Concours judges. Further, I'm sure that there are a few folks (including perhaps some competitors) who are truly steamed (okay, pissed off) at me right now. Yet I was just funnin'; and I really wasn't trying to take a swipe at anyone -- well, okay, maybe just a few people. Like my brother and his "Porsche in a Bubble" -- yes, he keeps the car in a bubble, and parks it on little mahogony slabs, to avoid "unncecessary grass contact" -- arrgghhh!!! Or the guy with the Q-Tip (I could swear that was ear wax, but I didn't want to look that closely). And the other guy who explained his "three wax" approach -- come on, fellow, your car is a 2003 3-series that you never drive (except to the mushroom fields). How hard is it to keep that car clean? Geez, your clear coat hasn't even dried yet.

Indeed, everything above is true, based on my personal experiences in my short-lived (and ill-fated) Concours career. It simply seemed to this casual observer, that the event could have benefited from something -- like a keg or two of beer, for example. I will say this -- to their credit, the Concours events gave me the requisite motivation to replace my nasty old bottlecaps on the E-30, with a better-looking set of wheels and tires. Now, we truly be rollin' -- stylin' and profilin', word to yo' mutha! But alas, I suppose the local NCC competition is not really for me. Methinks too many politics, but perhaps that's just me.

Besides, I've caught the street-rod bug again (the NSRA shows will do that to you). So what little spare time I have, will not be devoted to Zymoling the cars, but instead, to building something that rattles the dishes off the cupboards, sends the neighbors scurrying for the hills, and irresponsibly consumes far too many gallons of precious (but overpriced) fossil fuels. But that's just me - and that's another story for another post.

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I mistakenly entered my yellow little car in an Oktoberfest Concour event in Colorado in 2002 only to have the judges run out of Q tips and walk away.

Yes, the events around the nations capital only attrack those that win year after year, others need not apply. Bill Riblett has a swell idea, the winner of one year or two years, needs a year or two off, I think.

I think - because another comment I am about to make will contradict that statement.

There are at least catagories of 2002 owners:

Racers

Drivers

Concoursers (if that is a word)

Racers prep their cars with every imaginable go fast part to WIN the race and many cars are so prepped they can not be driven on the street. (to an earlier comment, they can win race after race without being ask to sit out a race)

Drivers - most of us. Some cars nicer than others, some showing rust, but we drive them and drive them alot. I wish I would have kept the mileage on the yellow car since I rebuilt the motor in 2002.

Concour folks - Like someone said, to win at major concour events, the car really can not be driven much if at all. But then again, there are varying degrees of concouring. Some can drive the car and clean them and win. But at the highest level of concour, the cars are trailer queens.

Then there are those that never show up to anything, drives, races, concours or meet and greets, not sure where to place those folks.

So with all of this said, I have to respect and enjoy all three categories of cars and people. I go to a few races, a few concour events and drive alot. All of us are a little weird to each other, racers to concoursers and concoursers to racers and ...well you get the point.

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I

Then there are those that never show up to anything, drives, races, concours or meet and greets, not sure where to place those folks.

those people are called owners...not enthusiasts. that is one issue we have with getting people involved in the local CCA chapter. most folks that join are owners looking for the dealer discount. BMW enthusiasts are fewer and far between. i think anyone that falls into the 3 groups bill listed is an enthusiast. owners should just buy hondas...or a new 7-series!

i prefer being an 02/MINI/car enthusiast...although i must admit, i fall mostly into the Ford Ranger owner category. hard to get enthused about my ranger.

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Just to clarify, Doug (Z8 and Coupe) and John (awesome tii) enter and win, regularly, and deserve to win, because their cars are awesome. Some of the other decisions are a bit of a head-scratcher, but then again, the judging is subjective. Sort of like figure skating in front of the French judge.

In any event, hopefully with the first comment, I am off Doug's and John's "S__t List."

PS - Bill and Brad, I think you accurately and succinctly identified the four categories of 02-dom. But technically, aren't these really subcategories? Because as we have been told, and are reminded periodically, aren't we all just Douchebags? (Sorry, couldn't resist -- probably should have, but couldn't; I speak only about myself, of course.)

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