French Rules Judging

French Rules Judging at the Des Moines Concours

The Des Moines Concours utilizes “French Rules” for evaluating vehicles shown at our event.  After all, the word “Des Moines” is French!  A Concours d’Elegance, which translates to Competition of Elegance, typically utilizes French Rules for evaluating vehicles. Unlike the judging system typically used in car club events (e.g. AACA, CCCA and marque-specific clubs), French Rules judging utilizes both objective and subjective elements.

Objective elements are authenticity and condition of the vehicle. Authenticity, in this context, is defined as the vehicle being in the state when it left the dealership showroom. Examples of non-authentic would be …

  • A Corvair with Miata seats
  • Non-factory wheels
  • Chevy LS1 engine retrofitted into a ’55 Bel Air

Alterations for safety as mandated by state laws, such as turn signals, are allowed. Factory options added post-manufacture are considered authentic. With vehicle Condition, judges are looking at items such as paint, body panel fit/dents, brightwork, glass, upholstery, headliners, dash panel and the engine compartment.

The Presentation of the car is where subjective elements of design/beauty (elegance), rarity and historical significance come into play. Additionally, consideration is given to vehicles for which there is a story. For example, the ownership history/provenance, or the owner’s involvement in restoration improves award probability.

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