Mazda, Porsche, Datsun and Mustang among the cars on display at the inaugural Future Classics Car Show | Larry Edsall photos
If you have read my stories in the past or checked out my Picks of the Day you will know that while I love established classic cars, I also love cars that are either up-and-coming classic cars or cars that have yet to be discovered by the classic car community. Monday evening I had the opportunity to put that knowledge and love of these future classics to work by being the head judge of the Future Classics Car Show staged by ClassicCars.com.
I have judged at quite a few major concours and other car shows but have never been a head judge before. I can say that there is a lot more to do when you are the head judge.
First, you have to find other judges to assist. My coworkers at ClassicCars.com found a few for me but I had to fill out the rest of the judging field. What I did was to enlist other friends to help. These included friends from Hagerty Insurance and some of my collector car insurance clients. Hagerty also had its youth judging program on hand and provided us with excellent judges from that program who made our job that much easier.
Variety is the spice of life, and a hobby
However, the day was not without its problems. First, we had nine separate classes. That might not sound like a problem, but it is when the cars were not parked according to class, but scattered along a few blocks of a street. Such are the growing pains you encounter with a new event, but we handled it.
Next, while most of our classes were quite manageable, the Japanese classes had four times as many cars as the European classes. I did not realized this until we already had fallen behind in our judging. The solution was to have the other class judges break up into teams of two and help judge the rest of the Japanese cars. My fantastic group of judges rose to the occasion.
Finally, when we started to tallly the results, they were not in order of class so we had to very quickly figure out who won which award. Again, my judging team dove right in and assisted with this.
The show itself was surprising in the number of cars that attended this first year event, 105, and the quality of the cars and the great enthusiasm of the owners simply blew me away. Many of the cars were no more that a single point apart and we had quite a few ties. To me, this makes for a great show but for difficult judging.
1977 Toyota Celica GT with factory-quality engine installation
The other amazing thing I noticed was the great range of ages of the owners, with some in their teens while others were of retirement age. And for those who think that the car hobby is not attracting the younger audience, this show demonstrated to me that young people are very definitely in the hobby and are as enthusiastic about it as older and more seasoned collectors. Not only that, but a vast number of the owners of these great cars actually did most of the work on their cars themselves.
I won’t go over the entire list of class winners but will let you know that the best of show was a unanimous decision among my judging team. It was a fantastic 1977 Toyota Celica GT Notchback with a twin-cam Toyota engine swap that looked as though the factory did it. The car was immaculate and would hold up in sheer quality of workmanship against most cars I have given awards to at top tier concours events.
I want to thank all the great car owners I met, the my fantastic co-workers at ClassicCars.com and my amazing judging team for the amazing job they did!
I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve as the head judge of what is bound to be a yearly event during Arizona Auction Week.