Monday, June 16, 2014

David vs. Goliath: Our tale of the 2014 FCA National Concours

In our last installment we showed the car after it had been finished and put on a truck to Virginia for the Ferrari Club of America (FCA) Annual Meet. Part of that event is the concours which we aimed to participate in. For the uninitiated, a concours is an evaluation of your car by expert judges who begin with a score of 100 and remove half or full points as they find flaws in workmanship, condition, or historical accuracy. The FCA has a standard that anything over 95 points is considered a 'Platinum' car and it was our intention to shoot for as close to 100 as we could get.
Perfect scores almost never happen as judges are reluctant to score a car as faultless making the last 5 points very very difficult to get and the last point near on impossible to achieve. That said we felt we were well prepared and wanted to do our best.
The concours was last Thursday but things really started in earnest when the car was delivered to Ferrari of Washington on Wednesday for its final prep. The guys at FOW were great and we want to send them a special thanks for allowing us a few hours in their service bay to give the Dino its last spit and polish before the show. The weather was ungodly hot and it was great to have the air conditioned comfort of the dealership to work in.
Finally the day of the show arrived and we thought we would tell our story one photo at a time.
The first two photos are of Paul ready to join the show field. It had rained the evening before and we had 01464 looking its best.


Next up were the competitors. The Dino class was small with only 3 cars entered. Despite this they were all of a high standard and the other two cars would go on to score Platinum themselves. The red GT in the photo belonged to our friend Hugh who had 3 flight cancellations the day before and would miss judging having shown up about an hour late after an early morning plane ride. As such we fielded and showed his car for him and he was able to take home a top prize.

Now it was about to be our turn. Paul and I have a last minute discussion before it is time to be judged.

In addition to the concours supplied information sheet (seen on the dash) we included an additional information board indicating this as the Dino profiled on this blog. It was great to have a number of blog followers come and show their interest and give their feedback on the project.

Prior to inspecting the car Paul introduces himself and the vehicle to the judges. With ominous skies overhead they were a little rushed for time fearing the opening of the heavens.

First up was a visual inspection followed by an operational check of the lights and horn. No problems there.

Next up was a look in the trunk to inspect the factory books and tools where a surprise was in store.

In the trunk we had a special treat for the judges. In addition to the requisite books and tools, we had a plethora of additional period documents including sales brochures, paint and leather samples, expanded parts books, service manuals, and period road tests. Many of these items were kindly given to us by the original salesman Scot MacDonald a few months before his passing making them incredibly genuine to the car.

By this stage the judges were all smiles and struggled to contain their excitement for the car. With every passing moment they uncovered more and more details.

Once it was all over Paul and I posed for a photo and anxiously awaited the results.

It was then that the heavens opened in a big way. The weather turned for the worse and we just managed to cover the car before rains of biblical proportions began to hammer down. So intense was the rain that we feared major flooding with some cars having water up to their doors. As it was we were well positioned near a drainage canal and the water never broke the level of the grass where the Dino was parked. Even so it was a bit of a scare that led to the cancellation of the awards presentation leaving us to wonder about our result for a few more days.

With the rain past we got the car off the soaked field and back on the truck. With almost no mileage on the car since completion we decided to forgo any more driving until we had the chance to properly execute a running in procedure on the car to catch anything that may cause problems. Regardless Paul looks pleased and now all we could do is wait.

So how did we do? Well the exact score of the concours will not be known for a few weeks as the judging sheets need to be mailed to us. That said we did score Platinum and were awarded an FCA Major Award for Best Dino. Below is an image of Paul accepting his prizes at the final awards banquet dinner.

Dad could not be there for the awards presentation but this photo was taken for him. The next day was Fathers Day and below are the two of us holding the awards that he helped us achieve.

But wait there is more. While we were very proud to take home the hardware the real prize carried no trophy but some words and actions we did not expect. During the show many of the worlds top Ferrari restorers including the guys at Motion Products (the only shop ever to score 100 at Pebble Beach with a Ferrari) took time out to inspect our work. All of them gave their praise and approval that our work was as best as the best no expense spared restorations they have done. In addition we were able to share some of our restoration processes and it was great to be able to interact with the pros in this way.

Furthermore we came to learn that our Dino was being strongly rallied by the judges to be given the award of Best of Show (BOS). This prize is the top of the top and takes into account quality of restoration, vehicle rarity, difficulty of restoration, and historical significance. Realistically BOS was never going to happen as this is the domain of the one-off multi-million dollar 12 cylinder cars but we came to learn that our little Dino took them on and came within the very last few cars considered for this honor. In the end BOS rightfully did not happen but we came much closer than any Dino had ever come and were proud to have been considered for the distinction. For a Dad and two brothers working in their spare time we truly felt we had come close to toppling the giants.

Stay tuned to the blog as we fill in the missing parts of the restoration and chronicle the final tuning to get our Dino ready for the road and race track.

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