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Home Car Culture How my 1970 Dodge Dart Swinger stands above competition at car shows

How my 1970 Dodge Dart Swinger stands above competition at car shows

Proper preparation has earned a national first prize from the AACA

(Editor’s note: During the month of June, the ClassicCars.com Journal is publishing a series of stories all about show your car at car shows and concours. Today, guest contributor Giles Fronce shares tips and tricks on preparing your car for judging events. If you have a story about your showing your car at shows or concours, please send it to us at journal@classiccars.com.)

I’ve entered my car, a 1970 Dodge Dart Swinger, in a number of judging shows. Here are some of the things I’ve learned over the years on how to stand out above the competition:

  • Look where the judges look and not where the everyday spectator looks and then clean these places. These include seams where wax can build up, leaf springs where dirt and rust might accumulate, door jambs where water spots can manifest themselves, polish swirls, tire condition, grease on engine, sill plate condition, dirty weather stripping, condition of the engine compartment, undercarriage detailing, condition of exhaust tips and dirty trunk lid hinge pockets. Any defects in these areas will cost you points.
  • Leave anything that can be left open, open. This includes under the dash vents, jockey boxes, hood, trunk and console. These should be as clean as the rest of the car.
  • Window scratches will cost you points, no matter how minor.
  • Look for oxidation around body screws and in general nuts and bolts.
  • Have a good supply of clean microfiber towels and cleaners ready. For the body and interior, I prefer Meguiar’s detailer, interior detail and mirror glaze for swirls. Glass Renu is good for refurbishing car glass. I prefer not to use Tire Wet as sometimes to0 shiny of tires is detrimental. Clean but not being able to see your reflection in the tire is preferred.
  • Round end toothpicks for cleaning wax out of seams come in handy as does a couple of toothbrushes for those hard-to-reach places. Carry some rubbing compound, it comes in handy for removing last-minute trouble spots such as minor oxidation and minor rust.
  • Show your car off with special awards, national recognition, etc. You’ve worked hard to get your ride ready, be proud of it.

Proper preparation has earned me a national first prize from the AACA, first place in an all Mopar show, cover car for Mopar magazine and numerous other first prize and best of show awards.

-Giles Fronce

Cars Shows & Concours Series

Stories all about showing your car at car shows and concours.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Is that grime in the grooves on the radiator top or just a reflection? All kidding aside……that is one gorgeous 340 Swinger. Had a ‘70 Dart 340 Swinger just like yours back at the end of 1970. Unfortunately no power accessories anywhere which made steering tough on my fiancé at the time (now my wife of 50 years). Traded it for a Cutlass Supreme.

    Just a side comment on judging. You’re right. Judging a vehicle can be unforgiving for the stupidest things. A friend of mine had a triple black 1955 Chevy Belair convertible back in the early ‘80’s. It had the Blue Flame straight six and “three-on-the tree”. It was a looker. Literally purchased from a little old lady who “only drove it to church.” Just 16,000 miles. It was entered in a concourse competition event. Took second place because one judge detected a small paint spray on one of the radiator supports and a replaced bolt that wasn’t original somewhere in the engine compartment. Took off points. Now, that is going too far I thought at the time, but the judge was right. Concourse expectations requires extreme scrutiny, right down to the correct fasteners holding everything together.

    Again, great looking Swinger wearing Plum Crazy purple no less and a 4-speed! I am envious.

  2. You say to show off your special awards. Won’t some of the judges think you already won maybe someone else should get the chance? I have 7 awards in the past 2 years and never take them with me. I personally feel like that is bragging that your vehicle is better than anyone else’s! I’m not there to show off but to compete and have a great day!

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