Rodshows.com produces the premier indoor hot rod and custom shows on the West Coast. Our events feature hundreds of the best hot rods, customs, muscle cars, motorcycles, street and competition machines found anywhere in the world. We also provide a competitive arena for those interested in automobilia such as pedal cars, custom and restored bicycles, scale model cars and collectibles.
Download a sample of our Judging Sheet . A free Adobe PDF Reader is required to download & view this form. If you have questions, please feel free to contact us.
"What Are the Judges Looking For?"
While many of our entrants have participated in our past events, each year we also receive a large number of entries from folks who are first-timers when it comes to indoor car shows. As such, there are many questions that arise regarding the overall judging process, the best way to present a vehicle for judging, and how to achieve a respectable total of points.
To assist both returning participants and those that may be new, we've put together the following guidelines that we hope will help everyone prepare for our upcoming events. Of course, you may always contact us with any other specific questions you may have.
So let's get started ...
"Who Are They?"
Each vehicle entered for competition at one of our events undergoes close scrutiny by our professional judging staff. These highly qualified individuals are seasoned veterans of the show car circuit. Our judges are organized into teams to review each vehicle class. That is, one team will review each entry in their assigned class. This system has proven best because one team of judges may score differently than another team. The judging team procedure ensures consistency in the point system for a specific vehicle class.
"When Do They Judge?"
Judging typically begins the first day of the show (Thursday night) and, depending on the number of cars, may not be completed until Sunday morning. Judging may take place at any time. That is, either during the time the show is open to the public or after-hours. Participants are not allowed to discuss any aspect of their entry with a judge at any time to maintain integrity. This may disqualify the entrant or move them down in class position as a penalty.
When the judges are done with an individual vehicle, they will place a brightly colored sticker on the entrant's showcard (the placard that is issued to each vehicle showing the vehicle number, class and owner's name). Until your vehicle has been judged, we suggest that you leave everything open - doors, hood, trunk, etc. - so the judging team will have full access. They will not open it up for you. Not being able to look inside the trunk, for example, may cost you valuable points. There should be two stickers on your show card once it is fully judged.
"What Are They Looking For?"
With each vehicle, the judging team considers many areas - the primary points of interest examined for quality and degree of difficulty of each modification. In many respects the process is similar to that used in a Concours' d' Elegance, but with exceptions made for originality (except in restorations), fit and finish and "white glove" cleanliness.
Major areas the judges address include engine, paint, bodywork, interior, chassis, wheels/tires, and accessories. Each area has its own particular needs, but in the end every item is considered for execution and finish. Also, themes or styles need to all flow together.
"How Well Do All The Pieces Come Together?"
Whether it is a designer-concept hot rod roadster or a full-on restoration, the vehicle is reviewed for its engineering qualities and the total aesthetic concept as completed. For example, does the vehicle come together visually with the right stance - the impact that says "Right On!" - or does it lose something in the translation of being conceptually correct or authentic?
Regarding engineering quality, does the vehicle work as intended by the designer for driveability and safety? Is the total engineering - either as a concept design or factory restoration - correct in functionality and to what degree of difficulty was that achievement?
"What Is Perfection?" What is the degree of difficulty in making the "perfect car?"
Are all metal finished panels correct on both sides? (or at least where the judge can see). Do all the openings - doors, trunk and hood - have the exactness of fit all around their edges? Is every panel arrow-straight? Do the reveals in the body match perfectly to the next panel? Does the chrome fit exactly, or is it mismatched at the seams? Are the custom body modifications difficult or easy to accomplish? And finally, do the modifications fit the "flow" of the vehicle?
In reproduction fiberglass vehicles, is the surface mirror smooth, without waves or distortion from the curing process? Was the vehicle hand-made or a serious attempt at modifying a production model?
Everything is looked at. Just remember this: If you can see it, good or bad, so will the judging team.
The winning car in each class, or overall, is one that scores the highest in pursuing the peak of perfection. But can one ever reach this peak? In a Judge's eye, nothing is perfect -- everything can be improved to some degree.
In other words, never look for a perfect score or you'll set yourself up for disappointment. Also remember that with class awards, each car in a specific class is being compared only to the cars in that category.
"Mild Or Wild?"
Is the vehicle painted a solid color, or does it have awesome graphics as part of the design? (This is where a degree of difficulty plays in.)
Were the graphics part of the vehicle's finish at one time or added later with pinstriping covering the separation of finishes? Does the artwork carry around edges and carry on into the doorjambs and other openings? Is the total finish mirror-smooth not just on top, but inside, underneath and behind? (These are the details that add to point totals.)
In a restoration, is the paint correct in how the car would have been finished in the factory or did the owner take liberty for improvement? (This is where a person can become overzealous when it comes to perfection.)
"Judges Use Mirrors And Flashlights."
Is the chassis custom made for the vehicle? If so, are the welds finished to the smoothness of a piece of molded plastic? If a restoration, is it finished like the day it left the factory? What's the degree of difficulty in the design for its intended purpose, be it a hot rod, a drag car or sports car? If a production-based vehicle, have improvements been made such as an upgraded brake system, suspension components, or even safety-related items?
Is the chassis aesthetically correct with the just the right amount of flash? Is the finish as smooth as the rest of the car? Is the exhaust system routed and tucked up in the chassis and is the finish coated, polished or chrome? Is the running gear installed correctly for its functionality? Are all the fasteners correct in sameness and finish? Is the brake and fuel lines correct in design, functionality and fit?
Just some more things to think about.
"Watcha' Got Under The Hood?"
What is the degree of difficulty in the engine installation - is it exotic or stock? Is the block ground smooth of all casting irregularities? Are all fuel lines, wiring and control cables and brackets installed with neatness and functionality? In the case of wiring, is it uniform and precise, color-keyed and tie-wrapped? Are the engine accessories "store bought" or custom made for the vehicle? Is the compartment pleasing in appearance with every nook and cranny detailed?
Nothing escapes a judge's keen eye.
"From the Inside Out."
How does the overall interior design theme coincide with the vehicle's exterior? A high-tech interior doesn't fit with the theme of a resto rod unless its execution flows correctly.
The type of material and the quality of installation and fabrication scores high. Are the mounting panels synthetic or aluminum? Does the total design include state-of-the-art electronics? Is the instrumentation correct and does the design work with the theme of the vehicle? High-tech gauges in a nostalgia hot rod are cool, but are historically incorrect and may be cause for a lower point score. Are there hidden functions that add to comfort and convenience?
"The More the Better?..."
...not necessarily so.
When it comes to winning vehicles, fit, function and concept are the determining factors. Finish quality is what the judging team looks for along with the degree of difficulty in achievement.
"Separating The Best from The Rest"
Overall attention to detail is what best separates the winners from everyone else. For example, are all the fasteners lined up and are they of the same type? Button and socket heads in polished stainless and slot screws all lined up and synchronized together score high.
Are the tires indexed correctly on the wheel and aligned so that the valve stems are placed at bottom as the vehicles rests on the ground? Are the tire nibs removed and the tread dressed so you see no factory blemishes? Are the wheels custom-made for the car or "store bought" - and do they fit the theme of the vehicle? Don't overlook the small wheel details, such as knockoff hubs, lug nuts, hubcaps, valve stem caps and overall cleanliness.
Is the wiring loomed with wire ties spaced one inch apart and properly run throughout the vehicle? Is the vehicle period correct with safety first as top consideration?
Is the finish near perfect with all wax and or polish residue removed? Is the weather stripping finished? Is the glass clean and clear of imperfections? Can the judging team touch any part of the vehicle with white gloves and not find any dirt or grease or sooty exhaust? Don't forget the golden rule - if you can see it, so can they.
Are there reasonable safety accessories installed? Seat belts and fire extinguishers and the method of installation help in overall scoring.
Remember, this is a car show and these are show cars! It's a serious competition to some and a learning experience for others. The judging teams are doing their best when looking at the class in competition. The mission of these professionals is to determine the placement of the vehicles in their respective class according to the prescribed criteria.
We can't emphasize enough the importance in making available a Judges Reference Book with your vehicle. Providing this information for our judges is possibly one of your biggest assets for making sure the judges are aware of all the modifications - large or small - you have made to your vehicle.
It isn't simply a case that your competitor's vehicle is better or not as good in any way. Rather, it just may score differently given the criteria of the judging formula used in "Car Shows" versus the "Cruise-In" type of event.
CHANNELED - Body dropped over chassis.
CHOPPED - Top of vehicle has been lowered from factory stock specifications. Applies to all body styles.
DECKED - Removal of all trunk trim.
FRENCHED - Headlights, taillights, antenna, etc. that have been has inset or molded into bodywork.
LENGTHENED - Body and/or wheelbase has been modified to be longer than factory stock specifications.
MOLDED - Seams filled to body.
NOSED - Hood trim removed.
PANCAKED - Hood modified with lower profile.
PEAKED - Molded accent seam on hood.
PINCHED - Forward chassis narrowed to match grille shell.
ROLLED - Bumper or gas tank removed and replaced with custom panel.
SCOOPED - Scoop-like openings have been integrated with bodywork. May be functional or non-functional.
SECTIONED - Reduction of factory body height below beltline.
SHAVED - (see Nosed and Decked)
SHORTENED - Body and/or wheelbase has been modified to be shorter than factory stock specifications.
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