How a Concours d'Elegance Works

Judging at a Concours d'Elegance
A 1949 Delahaye 175 S is shown on display at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach, Calif.
A 1949 Delahaye 175 S is shown on display at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach, Calif.
AP Photo/Eric Risberg

The Pebble Beach concours Web site says that, "automobiles are judged for their historical accuracy, their technical merit and their style" [source: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance]. There are two types of judges at each event. The first is the class judge. Each car starts out by being judged in their respective group by a class judge. The class judge is a recognized expert in the category and they are assigned to judge each car based on the originality and authenticity of the vehicle. These two traits are very important because a Concours d'Elegance focuses much of its attention on preserving automotive history. Each car must be correctly restored without blemishes, dents or marks on any part of the vehicle. Each vehicle is striving for a perfect score of 100, and whichever vehicle comes closest to that score in their class is awarded the First in Class honor.

Once a car wins the First in Class award, it's able to move on to the top round with the rest of the First in Class winners to compete for the Best of Show award. The Best of Show is awarded by a second round of judges called honorary judges. Honorary judges take a more subjective approach to judging each car and focus their attention on the design, style and elegance of a particular vehicle. As each automobile drives along the First in Class ramp to receive its award, the honorary judges observe each vehicle. The cars are reviewed once again in the winners circle and each honorary judge independently marks a ballot to indicate which car they believe should win the top honor. Once all the judges have voted, the best of show honor goes to the vehicle receiving the most votes.

But aside from the First in Class and Best in Show awards, there are several other Concours d'Elegance honors that contestants may be eligible to receive.

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