“When the cars line up for the 2017 Concours South Africa at Sun City on 3-6 August, owner-passion will be as important as the presentation of the cars,” says FMM curator Wayne Harley. With a wealth of concours experience, last year he was appointed Chief Judge for the very first Concours SA and this year he has once again taken on the role of directing a panel of experts that includes two international as well as an experienced local team of judges.

“I would like to state, first and foremost, that I have huge respect for anyone who is brave enough to enter their car in a competition such as Concours SA,” comments Wayne. “It takes something special to display your pride and joy in a public venue and then allow some ‘anorak’ to come and do a critique of all the hours of blood and sweat that you have poured into restoring that car. For this reason, interaction with the judges is going to play a vital role in this year’s competition. Owners’ passion and knowledge of their vehicles will carry great weight in the judging process and in the overall appraisal of the entries.”

Wayne also points out that the unique character of Concours SA stems from the fact that it is held in a country far away from the mainstream of classic car culture. Classic car enthusiasts in South Africa have not been exposed to the levels of competition that have been accepted as de rigeur in Europe and America for many decades. “Hopefully, a national level event such as Concours SA will be seen as a learning opportunity as much as an outright competition,” Wayne explains. “Don’t get me wrong, winning the concours is every entrant’s main goal, but over the years of being involved with the museum, I have seen hundreds of cars and so often an owner will state that his or her car is in ‘concours condition’, but in reality… The truth is that, generally, South African owners and collectors are usually only part of the way there. In attending a national concours with international judges and other marques present with which to make comparisons, the standard of knowledge and restoration skills will improve. And we must not forget, too, how the value of an owner’s asset will increase if it takes top honours.”

In view of the increased importance of Concours SA 2017, the judges have planned two workshops prior to the event. “We will work closely together to set standards on vital aspects such as originality and presentation. And, of course, owner knowledge is going to be key, too. We want to see passionate involvement from our entrants, not merely people who can afford to pay for the very best car or restoration,” Wayne adds. In this vein, Wayne is passionate about Concours SA being always accessible to the ordinary collector with limited means as well as to owners of valuable exotics. “I don’t want to see Concours SA evolve too much in the direction of, say, a Pebble Beach or a Villa d’Este. I would like to see a situation where the man with a Morris Minor has as much chance of winning as a Bentley. South Africans have their own way and style of doing things, and I would like to see Concours SA become an event with its own unique and totally South African identity,” concludes Wayne.

Concours South Africa 2017 will be run over four days at Sun City, starting with an international conference on Value in the Classic Car Market held on Thursday 3  August. Final judging will be held on Sunday 6 August when the winners will be announced at a glamorous prize giving. For more information on how to enter Concours South Africa 2017