I have been competing in Car Shows for a little over 20 years. Everything from Hot Import Nights to Sanctioned Lowrider Shows, to Texas Heat Wave and Import Face Off. I wanted to provide some of the things I have learned in the last few years, which have helped my chances at winning a myriad of awards. The following will not guarantee you a Best of Show, but will help you attain many points that people forget about.
CLEANLINESS: I remember being in line for Hot Import Nights in Dallas, back in 2002, taking each wheel off to clean the inner barrels of my car after the 700+ road trip. The attention to detail helped me win Best 4 Door for the entire show. Many points are taken away from the judging sheets because some people choose to be lazy and not concern themselves with cleaning. Clean your engine bay, the inside portion of your wheel wells, vacuum your interior, clean windows, use a Q-tip on air vents……you get the idea. Make your car cleaner than one coming off the dealer lot !
OPEN EVERYTHING: Trunk, Doors, Hood….. If it is not opened, it is not judged. Even if you do not have mods in a specific area, still open it. You could gain points for cleanliness. Some may argue, “my car looks better for pics all buttoned up”, but I say, it’s a car show, you are displaying your car. Worry about pics after the show
DISPLAY: Not everyone can afford a turntable, hundreds of lights, and chrome stancions. But, for a few hundred bucks you can get a rug, some items from Home Depot to “section off” your ride, and custom accessories to prop up your vehicle to show off your suspension and brakes. Some judges give up to 10 pts for display, so, putting some effort into displaying your vehicle is a smart choice.
MOD LIST: Noone will know more about your car than yourself, and the best way to ensure the judges have all the information available is to create a mod list of everything that has been done to your vehicle. I like to break it down by Performance, Interior, Exterior, Suspension/Wheels and ICE; listing the company before the mod. I then make two copies of the mod list, with pics of hard to see mods in the back, and laminate the two. I place one on the dash (passenger side) and one in the driver’s side front seat. Do not cheat and list parts that were installed through a dealer package, i.e., carbon fiber side skirts on a Nismo GTR, or Supercharger on a Mustang GT500.
INTERACT WITH JUDGE: Judges are different, some may want to talk to you, and allow you to discuss your car, others may not. Be polite, and ask the judge if you can name off your modifications. If he/she says yes, then proceed to discuss your vehicle. Like the Mod List, I like to start off with Performance, Interior, Exterior, Suspension/Wheels and then ICE. It is also important to let them know rare items, or anything that is custom.
ASK FOR ADVICE: If time permits, after you have been judged, or after the show, ask the judge what you can do to gain more points at the next event. Many are very helpful, and will point out items, that will gain you more points at the next competition.