After watching many a best kept car competition, both at VPCC national Days and being scared to death by an RS owners club concours competition, i thought the time had come to have a go myself.
My Vectra was nearly 3 years old, had covered 31,000 miles so although its still relatively new, its still got its fair share of stone chips and scrapes.
The competition i chose to enter was the Best kept car competition at the Vauxhall Sports Car Club National day, held at PVS.
The class system meant i was in class 1, which was for cars 52 plate to brand new, so i just squeezed into this class.
Preperations started weeks ago, with a good engine clean. Using Autoglym engine cleaner, a decoraters brush and a watering can, i set about cleaning 3 years of road muck from the engine. Its came up suprisingly well.
Next was painting the rusty brake calipers and scrubbing the wheel arches clean. I chose a satin grey for the calipers as i didnt want them to stand out. Cleaning the wheel arches with a scrubbing brush, fairy liquid mix and more autoglym engine cleaner wasnt really the most pleasing job in the world but it had to be done. Although they didnt come up as well as hoped, weekly blasts with engine cleaner and a powerwash helped them on a bit.
Bodywork wise, i spent a small fortune on polishes and waxes and did a huge amount of research into how to get the best finish. It turns out i'd chosen the worst possible colour for getting a good shine, as silver is very hard to get that wet look with.
Weeks of polishing ensued, with a very understanding wife looking after our 2 month baby.
When the weekend finally came, i was as prepared as i could possibly be. I did a lot of question asking before hand, and scanned pictures of RS concours shows for some tips and little tricks that may steal the class win for me.
My brother and myself travelled down on the day before the show and spent a good few hours cleaning the now filthy car from the 300 miles of road grime and spray delivered by the storms we drove through on the way down.
With the car clean it was time for a few beers, a nice steak and a good nights sleep ready for the big day.
Up at 5.45am the next day to ensure we werent stuck for hours to get into the show, we made our way to Santa Pod and luckily got in without too much trouble.
More cleaning. This time we had to basically check over the whole car and think like a judge. Everything we thought 'they wont possibly look under there' was cleaned, including things like behind the alloy wheel spokes, underneath the rim of the wheel arch etc etc
Car is about as clean as it was ever going to be
With the car as clean as we could possibly get it, it was time to down tools and enjoy the show a bit. Lots of people came over to chat which was great, especially the fellow C owners who were appreicative of the effort we had put in.
Judging time came and the car was driven onto the ramp. I was a bag of nerves by this point but the judges were really freindly and chatty. There wasnt much to do at this point, apart from stand back and watch them swarm over the car like locusts.
Car up onto the ramp ready for judging
yes, he has just wiped his finger around the underside of my wheel arch
Mike Broad (below), the MD of Irmscher Uk, was one of the judges and he just does the final check of the interior and checks the mileage
After they had finished i drove the car back to my parking spot and went to enjoy the show and chat to a few more people along the way.
When the presentation time finally came, i was again a bag of nerves.
When the head judge started talking i was so wanting to hear my name called out as my class winner. I need not have worried. All our hard work had paid off and was awarded the class win.
Myself, being awarded my class win by Vauxhalls representative
I was really pleased, and for my first ever entry i think i did quite well, although i dont think i'll enter anymore as my nerves wont stand up to it. Plus my Wifes patience has all been used up on this years entry!!