Judging at the PCA Werks Reunion is a mystery, but there is one thing Air Brigade has learned and that is if a Porsche 356 is in your class, you don’t stand a chance. Spectators and Judges love Porsche 356’s, especially a well-done one.
At the recent Amelia Island Werks Reunion, the Air Brigade 911HR (Hot Rod) was entered in the modified class with high expectations of a ribbon since the car gets such attention and favorable comments. Departure for the show field was the usual crack-o-dawn drive and arrival of Amelia River Golf Course. Anticipation was high to view the competitors, thinking none of them would have the eye-catching look and show field appeal of the Air Brigade 911HR.
You can imagine the shock and dismay to drive across the dew-soaked grassy fairways to see the first car lined up in class P13 Modified Porsches is a pristine Porsche 356 Outlaw. OMG – I thought the Air Brigade 911HR would be judged against all 911’s and that my early 911HR would be a standout.
What was a 356 doing in the class?
The judging hasn’t started yet so the final detailing got underway. With each shine of the wheel spoke and dust-off of the hood, confidence built as the Air Brigade 911HR had person after person stopping to admire and discuss the car. The Griot’s Garage videographer stopped to film Commander Jim using Griot’s Spray Detailer on the back bumper. Then the Early 911S Registry Photographer stopped to capture similar photos.
Confidence was building, the attention was on the Air Brigade 911HR, and the 356 Outlaw was still covered in dew with no owner in sight. Maybe there was a chance.
Other competitors arrived and were “judged” by my competitive eye. Cody Bowman, of Bowman Vintage Restorations was across the aisle with a beautiful blue RS Tribute car. There were another 356, a white 914 purported to be the original Porsche factory test mule, and a multitude of air-cooled and water-cooled modified 911’s. It was a mixed bag of Porsches all coming together under the guise of being modified.
The sleeper was the 356 Outlaw that now had an entourage arriving to clean and polish the car; getting it ready for the judges. As the dew came off the 356 and the shine and polish appeared, it was apparent that this was the front-runner. It was perfect in every respect, and it was a 356. As I stated earlier, these are hard to beat at every show and I hate to see one in the same class as the 911HR.
Judging went from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. but by 11:00 the judges had not yet been by to view the Air Brigade 911HR or the 356 Outlaw. The judges had been flitting in and out of the class so concern rose that the 356 and 911HR had somehow been missed. By this time, Air Brigade had developed a relationship with Jeff, the owner of the 356 and Martin, the builder so we were commiserating about what was going on. The skies were also darkening and a check of the Dark Sky Weather App, said rain was moving in. The judges had to see our cars before we were in the middle of a rainstorm.
Suddenly, I heard behind me: “is this your car?” and turned to see two Judges in their tan shirts and straw hats. It was “showtime”!
Judging at Werks Reunion, is totally different than a PCA Concours. The judging standards are about the appeal of the car on the show field as opposed to the cleanliness, attention to detail and originality judged in a normal PCA Concours.
Judges first want to know about the car; what is special, what is the history and how much is the car driven. One of the judges stated that when he saw the 911HR arrive on the field he said to himself how much he liked the looks of the car. Great sign, the judge is verbally saying he likes the car. After 5-10 minutes they were off to the 356.
A sigh of relief as the judging was complete and positive comments had been received. It was now time to watch as they judged the big competitor, the 356 Outlaw. The judges and owner seemed much more engaged with the judges digging-in to the interior and engine bay as opposed to the cursory glances that they gave the 911HR. Twenty minutes later and they were still going over the 356.
I was resigned to the fact that a second place ribbon was now the target for the Air Brigade 911HR. With the judging complete, it was now time for lunch and a breather before the winners were announced.
As I returned to the show field I started eyeing the windshields of the cars as I approached the modified class and immediately saw the Blue Ribbon for first place on the windshield of he 356 Outlaw. No surprise there, but what about the Air Brigade 911HR, did it have the second place red ribbon? No, it didn’t! I was crestfallen as I thought I was a lock after the 356 Outlaw.
A walk down the line soon revealed that second place went to the white 914 that was the Porsche factory test mule. So much for the 914 being the red-headed stepchild in the Porsche family. It had just “stolen” my second place ribbon. The car had terrific history documented by the owner and couldn’t be denied as being a unique Porsche on the show field, but I still had to say it didn’t have the spectator appeal offered by the multitude of comments and photographs lavished upon the Air Brigade 911HR.
Unlike a concours, the judging sheets are not provided, so I will never know what the judges thought or didn’t think about the Air Brigade 911HR. I guess the consolation is that I have the lawn plaque from the show and it is now part of the history of the car that it was shown in Werks Reunion.
And, once again, I learned the ugly truth of showing Porsches: Beware the 356! If one is in the class, you don’t stand a chance. The Porsche 356 was the origination of the Porsche brand and mystique and it continues to today. Congratulations to Jeff and Martin on their win with the 356 Outlaw.
Tags: Werks Reunion, Show Judging, Porsche Concours, Porsche 356