It’s easy. Just tell a proud owner you’re putting their car in this class, when they want to be in that one. I’ve seen it happen before, and likely been responsible myself. After hosting the British Car Festival in California for five years, and now preparing for our second Motorfest next summer, we’re still trying to figure out how to make everyone happy.
Popular vote shows are worse because at least in a concours, originality rules the roost. Motorfest is decidedly on the easier going side. And as a popular vote contest, the judges tend to look aside when proud owners are obviously buying votes. If you don’t know how to buy a car show vote on a hot sunny day, go ask a thirsty friend.
As our man behind the curtain grapples with the controls, he and I have been circling the drain on what constitutes a modified car, and how to encourage owners to self-identify. “Miata seats are ok, but not Miata motors…” “Custom grills are fine, but you can’t change the shape of the hole…”
The only reason we’re having this discussion is owing to the fact, like Nelson before me, I wear my Chairman’s hat athwart ships. All ships of the line should be painted in a “Nelson checker.” Deviation from tradition is viewed with great suspicion, and generally frowned upon. Okay, this from a man with a Toyota transmission, Wilwood brakes, and a homegrown supercharger on his TR4.
The real reason for creating a modified class is there comes a point where the cars are different enough they should not be judged together. An original MG Midget should never have to face off against a Clénet, just because the latter car is based on a Spridget cockpit (with apologies to all Clénet owners who were unaware of this fact).
Heading into 2017, we have decided there will be a Modified class. Of that I am sure. How well it will be received remains to be seen. But by the time you read this, the rules for Motorfest II will have been cast in spackle—a seemingly hard, but eminently brittle substance.
All right, there may be one rule still in flux. Those gosh darn MGB bumper conversions. Last time, while serving in the role of parking director, I managed to send at least one late MGB in among the chrome bumper cars. Was that the right thing to do, even if only accomplished by accident? Or, does he now fit our description of a modified car? I give up.
While the ballot counters are out back, burning me at the stake in effigy, I’ll be on the show field giving a seminar on vote buying. I actually kinda did that once. It got me a first place prize for my ratty, smoking MG PB. The other prewar guy, in a far superior supercharged N-Type, probably hates me to this day. I sure hope the statute of popular vote limitations has run out by now.