l rather enjoyed MN Rushton’s amusing letter on the subject of concours competitions. However, unexciting though they may be, they do give a lot of pleasure to a lot of people and, therefore, should not be dismissed out of hand.
Furthermore, clever though Mr Rushton’s little pun was, surely it was totally inaccurate. Whatever one thinks of the spectacle of “classic” cars looking better than they did when brand new, one can hardly describe them as “tatty”! In fact, this is where much of the problem lies (and, of course, in using the term “problem” I am expressing a personal feeling, not stating a fact). For it is becoming increasingly difficult for a serious concours entrant to actually use his car if he is to stand any chance of winning.
I believe it is still normal to drive the cars to concours competitions, but “trailering” is an increasing practice. And even those cars which do arrive under their own steam are rarely in regular use.
Inevitably, there must be deep differences of opinion between those who believe that a car is meant to be used as a means of transport (some offering more pleasure than others in that respect) and those who see them as “works of art”. But, surely, one factor is beyond dispute: “originality” must be at least equally as important as beauty. If a car did not have highly polished, or plated, rocker covers when it was new, it ought not to have them when it is entered for a concours (and, if it has, should be marked down accordingly).
Further, there is a strong case for running two classes at major concours events: one for “show” cars and another for “working” cars (with the owners of the latter being allowed to enter their cars in the former class if they so wish). Some clubs (eg the Riley Register at its annual Coventry Rally) do have special classes for “working” cars, and are to be applauded for so doing. At the end of the day, however, it is the organisers (and, insofar as they can decline to enter the contests, the owners) who must be allowed to make the rules. The rest of us may express our opinions, but we must agree to live and let live.
John Waine, Nuneaton, Warwickshire