P4-2021-04 – Judging the Details
Article by John Khami
All photos are courtesy of Fred Young
A honey bee caused a Concours point deduction for Porsche Club member, Fred Young.
Fred washed the wheels around the lug nuts then washed them a second time on the back side to remove brake dust. He swirled the top of his 1985 ½ Guards Red Porsche 944 with soapy water that ran down the windshield, back end, driver side door, front and rear fenders and then sprayed the body with clear water. Fred towel-dried the 944, stood back and smiled to himself as the Porsche gleamed in the summer sunlight. In the cooler garage, he polished and waxed the body, cleaned the engine and storage compartments, polished the plastic knobs, cleaned the rubber trim and vacuumed the carpets. The windshield was so clear of streaks and blemishes it was invisible. For Fred the 944 looked as new as it was the day it came from the factory.
The late-summer 1992 Concours, sponsored by the Southeast Michigan Region of the Porsche Club of America or SEM, was held a week later in Novi. Fred drove his 944 to the location dodging road divots, water and sprinklers to keep the car clean. He arrived an hour before the event, parked in a shaded area, cleaned the carpet and pedals, then wiped the body and glass with a new towel. He noticed water spots on the paint that judges always deduct points for and made them vanish with a touch of wax. He wiped brake dust off the wheels and continued cleaning everywhere until the main judge called for everyone to stop. It was just before the noon hour when the judges walked up to the different model Porsches entered into the Concours with their judging sheets.
“The engine judge called me over to say that if I had spent a bit more time cleaning the engine, I would have done better against the other 944s that day. I spent a couple of weeks with buckets of soap and water, towels and Raindance car wax, prepping for this late-summer Concours,” Fred said. He was frustrated, but there was more.
Another judge asked Fred to remove the spare in the trunk for inspection. When it was lifted, the judge found the area clean as he expected, but there was a dried honey bee resting on the trunk floor where the wheel had been secured. “Bees were not standard factory equipment so, there was a point deduction because of one tiny BEE,” Fred said. Judging ended and when the votes were tallied, Fred received a third-place trophy that afternoon. He was determined to win first place at a Porsche Parade Concours. That honeybee was the great teacher for Fred.
|Fred Young in his Guards Red, 2002 Porsche 996||Ready to remount the wheels, Fred takes a seat as Kathy said she had a few more spots to clean.|
Fred joined the Porsche Club in 1991 and attended his first Parade at Cincinnati, OH in 1993. His first Parade Concours with the 944 was at Milwaukee, WI in 2001 where he finished “out of the money”. Fred was a spectator at the 2003 Florida Parade, but drove to the Hershey, PA Parade in 2005 scoring 296.6 out of 300 possible points in the Concours, placing second in the Full Preparation Class with his 2002 Guards Red Porsche 996. “The 996 was factory ordered and when it arrived there was Cosmoline on the underside of the car to prevent rust during shipping. I decided to clean off all the parts to make a better impression, even though Cosmoline is not a point deduction. I missed a few spots and knew I needed someone to lend a hand to win first place at the next Concours.” That someone was Fred’s wife, Kathy, the best helper.
“If you want me to clean it, I want to drive it,” Kathy said. A short time later Fred drove the 996 to a large open parking lot at a local college near their home. Stopping and shifting to neutral to keep the engine running, Kathy and Fred switched seats. Kathy glanced at the stenciled pattern on the gearshift for the forward and reverse gears. Holding the gearshift in her right hand, the steering wheel in her left and looking through the windshield, Kathy pushed the clutch in with her left foot and shifted into first gear. Pressing on the accelerator with her right foot while at the same time lifting the clutch pedal, Kathy engaged the engine and picked up speed. She moved the 996 into second, then third, making turns, downshifting and catching the curves. “Fred’s jaw dropped when I got behind the wheel and drove away,” Kathy said. “He was impressed that I learned long ago how to drive a manual transmission.”
That summer of 2008, Fred and Kathy drove to Charlotte, NC arriving two days prior to the Porsche Parade Concours to prep and clean their 996. They washed, waxed, and detailed the car using Fred’s list of “Road Trip Essentials,” that included Q-tips, detailing solution, microfiber towels, a wash mitt, leather conditioner and tire dressing. Two tubs full of cleaning items and sprays. Using a jack, they placed stands under the car, removed the wheels and cleaned everywhere including the underside of the fenders. It all came together for Kathy and Fred in Charlotte as they won first-place in Full Preparation Class. “Kathy made all the difference in the world. We were a team,” Fred said.
Kathy and Fred continued their success with a string of five first-place wins at Parade Concours events. In St. Charles, IL in 2010, Savannah, GA in 2011 and Traverse City, MI in 2013 they scored 299.1 points. At Jay’s Peak, VT in 2016, Fred attended by himself and earned another first-place win with 299 points. The highpoint was at Lake of the Ozarks, MO in 2018 where Fred and Kathy scored 299.3 out of a possible 300 points. “The more you attend judged events, the more you increase your chance of winning because you remember where the points are lost and won. You most always do better,” said Fred.
Judges are trained to look for imperfections and always appreciate a clean car and one that looks like it did when it was delivered new. “The closer to original the better,” Fred says. “Keep the car clean, inside and out, because the shiniest cars do not always win. In all my years as a Porsche judge and participant at Concours, I have seen only one, close-to-perfect car with 299.9 points out of a possible 300.”
“Pull the carpet away from around the foot pedals where dirt and little stones settle next to the accelerator and clean them away with a lint roller,” Kathy said. “Empty the door pockets and then the glove compartment where a manual was included from the factory, but not your wallet. Judges look for dirt-free gauges on the dash, vents set in the same direction, clean door panels and headliner. Many owners shine small fluorescent lights through the glass after wiping the windows and windshield in one direction on the outside and the opposite direction on the inside. It helps them to locate the smudges and streaks. Presentation is important.” At a Concours, many Porsche owners share their experience with the judging process including the products and websites they use for preparation. Porsche owners enjoy meeting others, sharing stories of winning and finding ways to improve their cars.
Fred always cleans the outside of the car first followed by the interior as owners are often in and out of their cars leaving dirt behind. “Ask a friend or family member to judge your car with you, before the summer concours/picnic, because everyone sees different things at different angles that need attention. Detailing is a process that takes time to do it right,” Fred says. “The day before a Concours is not the time to start prepping your car. The goal here is to make your car look like it came from the factory. I achieved the results I did with help from longtime club members in both Concours and Judging. Their helpful hints and comments are always welcome.” Fred and Kathy enjoy prepping cars and they are always willing to help Porsche owners achieve better scores at a Concours.
Fred Young is currently a Board of Directors member and Secretary of SEM, Region Concours Chair and a National Concours Judge. SEM member Bill Kreager, who along with Fred, revived the club’s summer Concours in 2001 said, “Fred got into judging because he is a perfectionist, he was up on it and it is something Fred likes doing.” Fred designs and creates the trophies that are awarded each year at the SEM summer Picnic/Concours, giving those who enter a chance at winning one of Fred’s original and creative designs.
SEM is fortunate to have “Team 996”, Fred and Kathy Young, as members.
Porsche. It’s not just the cars, it’s the people.