Concours - What's it all about?


I am sure that 90% of MX5 owners think that concours is a complete waste of time and effort and money, but the humble MX5 has now reached the age where the club recognise that time has come to start running concours competitions.  Firstly for the MK1 but I guess in time there will also be sections for MK2 and three and hopefully MK4's. I am sure this can of worms has just been opened!!
Firstly can I just say that the observations made here are only my opinion and could be a load of cr*p!
I have been involved in the concours scene for a number of years with MG's and seen and taken part all manor and classic car competitions.  Most judging varies from show to show but generally I think the best cars do come out on top.  Which I feel is what happened at Billing this year.  The first prize winning car was a stunner and what looked to me to be completely standard and in fantastic condition (not for its age) but as new.  It was also cleaned to perfection and definitely cleaned to a higher standard than when you take delivery of a new car, well in my case it was far superior to the new MX5 I bought a few years ago.  All the prize winning cars were fantastic I have to say.  I am sure most MX5 enthusiasts would love to own one of them.  
Now my idea of concours is that the car should be presented as it would have left the factory, that is what is stated.  This is not really correct as most cars leave the factory with import stickers plastic seat covers, wax on the bodywork and some times no badges , etc.  So really what we are looking at is a car that is presented to the customer at the supplying dealer, pre delivery inspection done, wax cleaned, badges fixed, seat covers and any other protective covering removed.  So as it is seen in the brochure effectively. 
Now I noticed at the billing that a number of cars were not standard, some had aftermarket  steering wheels and road wheels to name the obvious.  Some had painted items under the bonnet that were not painted originally.  From my understanding of these cars they were all body coloured in the wheel arches, not black or waxoyled as some were. Also, tyre dust caps. I understood that they were all plastic and black, some weren't.
I think the problem for the judging of concours is the weighting that is put on non original against not up to standard be that either cleanliness or wear. From what I can gather this is the first year of concours for the MX5 and is an addition to the best kept five competition.  So its like a best kept five with some additional points taken off for non originality. With the weighting in points being heavier on cleanliness than originality. 
If you imagine that a car has a non standard part added like a steering wheel but looses one point for this but another car has some dust on the dash board  you loose a point and a smear of something on the inside glass loose another point.  Now I think something as fundamental as an incorrect steering wheel should loose half its marks for the interior section not one. After all the idea of concours is to preserve the cars in an original state.  
Another example is a component under the engine that is dirty would loose more points than the same component that is non standard because the non standard one is cleaner.  I heard that a car that was not as clean under the engine lost points against a car that was non original. Both prize winners so I guess it doesn't matter. 
Is a panel with original paint but a repaired stone chip better or worse than a fully replaced and painted panel?
Is a car that has never been painted better than one that has just been resprayed?
If someone took delivery of a brand new car and had it transported to the event, but the same car next door was cleaner, which one should win?
I know its a tricky balance and where do you stop with this sort of thing, how far do you go and where do the rules start and end?  
As this is the first year of concours I think its worth discussing and finding peoples opinions on how this competition should run. My personal opinion is that if a car has an item that is non standard then they should be penalised properly as the idea of concours is to present the car as it was made and this should ensure that we can see cars at shows that do look the same as they did when new. Also this is not a best kept 5 competition, with a bit added on,  it's a totally different can of worms!
Does anyone have an opinions or ideas?
Great day on Sunday, wished I could have been there on the Saturday too, pics look amazing from Silverstone. Thanks to everyone.

Bloody hell

 I bet your glad you got that out of your systemWink

Does not do it for me to be honest, I have played with the idea about bringing the V.S II Mk1 up to prize standard, but she is used and enjoyed well serviced, gets some good runs up and down motorways, she looks good anyway, so I just can not be ar*ed going down that route, and then just looking at my shiny roadster that I would be scared to have some fun in just in case she gets a stone chip<v:shapetype coordsize=“21600,21600” o:spt=“75” o:preferrelative=“t” path=“m@4@5l@4@11@9@11@9@5xe” filled=“f” stroked=“f” id="_x0000_t75"> Shock</v:shapetype>, plus she would not be paying for herself, as she is now, so owners can try her, and feel what she is like on the dampers etc.<o:p></o:p>

But it is each to their own, and it is down to what rocks your boat, with being around the classic scene for years also, you seen that a hell of a lot.<o:p></o:p>

I like the roadsters that hit here with problems that need putting right, something to get my teeth into, and watch them drive away a lot happier than they arrived.<o:p></o:p>

But as said, they would need to pay there way in the 1st place what ever for me, a gift vouchers for Mx5 parts for all the effort does not rock my boat.<o:p></o:p>

Sorry just my opinion, but they are nice to have a quick look at the rallies, and I mean quick, Ian had one in for prizes, I would rather see him in his black one with the dent, with his smile on his face keeping her in control on grass having fun and being usedCool

But we are all owners with the same passion at the end of the dayThumbs up



 My Mk1 cool has re touched stone chips on the car…I drive it enthusiasticly and the class i enter

absolute cleanliness isnt as high as the 2 other clases.


I believe concourse was introduced because a lot of owners have very tidy car but were marked down on NON original items or having had a respray on body panels

Pollyannas car is a prime example…lovingly cared for custom home made items polished to a mirror finish…his car would and did do badly under the “old” criteria of best kept

But would probally place well now as I see


Best Kept …to mean VERY clean + tidy and with some small amount of modification/personalisation if it is upto a high standard. …cleanliness first …originality second


Concourse…should be VERY clean…but more importantly should be as original as possible…it would be nice to see stone chips if they are done to a very high standard

But the jusdges need to know ther MX5  background very well…EG one competitor ditched his loverly alloy wheel and sourced a set of original steel wheels

to make it “more” original…originality first…cleanliness second


Thats how I see the 2 classes


Im glad im only in hot and cool…they have defining points to them



 As it’s a “one-off” competition, not some heat in a national competition, then as long as you publish the rules and marking scheme beforehand it’s up to the individual to decide whether to enter or not. There is no right or wrong definition of a concours car.

Part of the reason I think we should be doing concours is that we do now have cars classed as classic and one thing as an owners club we should be actively encouraging is the preservation of some cars in their original condition. There aren’t that many left like that, and it would be a real shame if in another 10 years there were no original, standard 5s left.

I’m not anti modifications at all, on the contrary it’s the great joy of the MX-5, the variety you end up with and all you can do with them but in the end we should respect and treasure the car from which all this stemmed, and what better way than to have a concours competition.

We are of course new to this so will need to find our feet but I have to say I was very impressed by the standard of cars that were there on Sunday, and in particular the winning car.  Especially as that car’s not just been sitting in a garage waiting for this day, but just happened to turn up at an Eastern Region event a few weeks ago, belonging to a new member, and we encouraged him to enter the competition.

I pushed hard on the committee for us to start doing concours as a competition category, and so far I’m please with the result. I didn’t expect to see so many entries. I really do see it as being about preserving an important part of the history of the MX5, it’s a chance to look back at exactly what the car was when it was brand new 20+ years ago.

It is good to see that the club is trying something different - the club has to appeal to a broad group of people.

I know that points are scored for mileage and would like to see more credit being given to those who use their cars i.e. miles covered since last MOT. No trailer queens please.

Finally - congratulations to everyone that took part - you are all winners!

Nothing wrong with trailer queens in Concours in my opinion. Surely, the winning car would be a car with delivery miles that’s been stored in a Carcoon. Isn’t Concours about finding the nearest car to that?

Concours cars as Robbie has said wouldnt “ideally” have any mileage so points are not scored in concours events and would of course necessitate the transportation of the vehicle to the event by some other means, other competitions such as Best Kept, mileage adjustment is made for the use the vehicle has had over it’s life span and credit given.


I just don’t get the whole cocours thing

My take on a motor car is that you buy it to drive it, not park it in a Carcoon from day one in the hope that in 20 years time it will be a concours winner, what is the point of doing that? Just imagine a 21 year old MX5 with no miles on the clock, who the hell has enjoyed the driving experience in that show queen…nah, not for me…


I wouldnt think there were any Brand new concours cars around Geoff, they are all fully restored to be new with new parts, so that 5 may have been enjoyed at some point in it’s life, bit like your Fergy’s is it not Wink



If it only has delivery miles on the clock and has been stored for x number of years then it would obviously be undrivable without a lot of work.  Tyres would be rotting, oils/fluids would need to be changed, belts and hoses would be stiff and, the big one, it would not have a MOT!  Plus the owner would have never had the pleasure of driving it.  Fair enough - probably has a cupboard full of trophies but is that a fair return on his/her “investment”?

different strokes and all that

I Agree

Yes, I LOVE to see concours cars of years ago, but cars are built to be driven. What would you rather see, an original moon lander that has never been used or one that has been to the moon and back (Yes I know that it’s impossible!) and is a little ragged but still in one piece?

Thought I would Google “Concours”

Often the competitiveness of a Concours d’Elegance forces restoration of a vehicle to surpass ‘mint’ condition. Mint condition would be the state of the vehicle when it originally left the factory. Concours-quality cars often are given upholstery, paint, plating, and mechanical restoration to a standard far exceeding that of the car when it was new.


Often Concours d’Elegance quality automobiles are not driven, except for short distances from their trailers to the show fields. They are not intended to be used as daily drivers and often, are not seen outside of museums or private collections. Even after driving only the short distance to the show field, the car is ‘staged’—errant bits of dirt or pebbles removed from the tire treads, bits of grass or mud wiped from the under-carriage. The vehicle is maintained constantly and dusted frequently to keep an absolutely flawless appearance while on display.

As the OP said, “What’s it all about” 


Eh? In concours competitions I am used to vehicles being marked down for being of a higher standard than original.

For example we recently did bare metal respray on a 1950s car, we used cellulose paint and the finish wasn’t perfect. It was incredibly good, but it wasn’t as good as a robot can get it in a factory with modern paints. It is possible for the paint to be mirror perfect, but in the 50s they simply couldn’t achieve that.

The same for people who clean the inside of an exhaust pipe. As it arrived at the dealer it would be new, and the outside of the exhaust would be clean, but it would have a small amount of black in the exhaust. If you clean the inside of the thing, it is not as it would leave the factory/dealer.

Cleaning parts which should not be cleaned should also be marks lost. It is lovely being able to see your face in the rocker cover, but if it was matt silver from the factory, that is concours.

To have a competition where originality is not the aim then you are just having a “best car” award, that is very different to a concours competition.

In concours, originality comes first, condition comes second. Otherwise you can modify the hell out of a car, and because it is all polished and cleaned a lot it will win - that doesn’t preserve a small number of cars that are completely as they left the factory for historical preservation.

Would I ever build, restore or buy a concours car? No. I don’t really believe in it, I believe that cars are a tool for a job, to be driven, and used. Some concours cars are driven regularly, but the simple reality is that if you want to win at the highest level you need to control when, where and how you drive your car, and thoroughly clean it after every run. That’s not the way I want to live my life or use my cars, but those that do are preserving a piece of history.

I guess this isn’t something that the club worries about much, because there is always another car along that has been in a garage its whole life and never modified, kept in a cocoon of sorts, but in a few years time that won’t be the case. I have seen 80s cars become more and more rare, with cars being broken and scrapped because they were cheap cars, that will come for 90s cars, and the MX5 is one car that probably will be seen as a classic in the future, so worth preserving a small number of examples for the historic value of them.

I agree very strongly with the club’s decision to include this at rallies though. It is a different discipline, and it may just encourage someone not to get a completely original factory spec car and stick a roll cage in it and rip out the interior. There’s loads of other cars you can do that to, which have already been modified. It should (I hope) drive up the price of very original cars and some will pay a lot of money to have a concours MX5 in their collection, perhaps in a few years time, but that point will come. 


My centiments exactly, the Club has a lot to learn IMHO, although not many members would have or wish a 5 in a permanent stored situation not wishing to use it, even on high summer days.

Even now Mk1 cars are extremely rare in a completely original condition, if they exist at all?


…which was a key point of the Club introducing this competition category, we should encourage a few people to preserve cars in original condition, and by definition a concours competition should help do that.  Thats not to take anything way from all the other 5s, clean, dirty, modified, driven or not driven, but having a small number as original as possible is surely no bad thing for a club of car enthusiasts.  I’m sure we have loads to learn about running a comp called concours, but we have made a start.


Thumbs upThumbs up

We all need to know what the playing field is and how level it is, I am sure lessons have been learned thus far.