A Valuable Lesson in Concours Humility!

Missing manual and tools just some of rookie mistakes in showing our 1968 365 GTB 2+2

Nika Rolczewski
Toronto Star

Jul 19, 2008

We now know how the parents of Miss Congeniality at the Miss Universe pageant must feel.

When my husband and I decided to show our 1968 Ferrari 365 2+2 in the National Ferrari Club Concours d’Élégance last weekend, we were admittedly a little smug.

The “Queen Mother,” as she is appropriately named because of her size and stature, is a four-seater, V12-engined beauty.

It was purchased four years ago in Arizona. She is a flawless car, having been restored from the ground up. Her Majesty was a sure winner

Or so we thought.

Rookies to these pageants, er, competitions, we started off the day getting the car primped and polished. A short drive to the beautiful Eagles Nest Golf Club in Maple and she was placed in position on the perfectly manicured lawn. The waiting game began.

There were six other 365 GT 2+2s and a few Ferrari 400s in our class but none that compared. Parents are always biased toward their own, but our Queen Mother really was the prettiest one.

As the three judges descended on our group, the tension was thick. With a total of half a century of experience among them, none was going to be fooled by anything.

Clipboards in hand, each was responsible for one part of the car – exterior, interior and mechanical. The cars began with 100 points – the car being judged against a standard, not other entrants. From there, points were deducted for any defect the judges found. Suddenly, our smugness evaporated.

Thomas Kizer’s example was the first to be judged. He admitted he was nervous and tripped over his tool kit displayed behind the car. We were reminded that it is the cars being judged not the owners, but we still wished it would cost Kizer a point.

Wayne Obry has an intimidating title: Master Judge IAC/PFA (International Advisory Council for Preservation of the Ferrari Automobile). He was in charge of the exterior. The obvious dings and scratches are automatic deductions.

He inspected the chrome and rubber, felt for rust and the fit and finish of the doors. Hand-built in the late 1960s, many Ferraris were far from perfect when they left the factory. They took all of that into account.

Judge Mike Perrot crawled inside to look at the interior and check the knobs and buttons. He tried the factory radio and it blared to life. My husband and I glanced at each other – we’ve never even tried ours. Blatant bribery crossed our minds.

Greg Jones inspected the chassis and engine. The judges huddled and notes were taken. Our Queen was up next.

Panic set in as we visualized the owner’s manual sitting on the table – back home. My husband tried to borrow one, only to find owners protective of their possessions. It seemed we weren’t the only ones in this to win it. A total of four points can be deducted for missing this paperwork, tool kit and tools.

Our Beauty Queen was flawed. A trunk light was burned out and we rushed to fix it, salvaging a point.

Back in the late 1970s, Ferrari owner, enthusiast and judge Ed Gilbertson established standard rules, in great detail, that stressed originality of the motor vehicle over high-dollar restorations.

The cars were “meant to be driven,” he said and made sure to recognize original components, material and finishes showed some evidence of use and thus were not worthy of point reductions.

With this in mind, there was no need to take the air out of our friend Randy Paisley’s 365’s tires or put raw liver in his car.

A car with 95 or more points wins a platinum award, 90 points nets you a gold award, 85 a silver.

At this point, we know our Beauty Queen didn’t win an award. By late next week, we will be able to get our detailed score from the Ferrari Club. In other words, where our Queen went wrong.

Initially sobered by our first-time experience, there is an addictive quality in seeing the beauty of these vehicles maintained. There is art in these cars.



Nika has had a love for cars and racing since childhood. A regional racing license holder she has been involved with the industry, working with racers, teams, journalists and automobile manufacturers in sponsorship solicitation, logistics, hospitality, road show and communication program implementation.