A Concours d'Elegance (from French meaning a competition of elegance) is a competition between automobile owners to be judged on the appearance of their automobiles. These are commonly held at auto shows or after racing competition. Notable Concours d'Elegances include Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, Villa d'Este Concours d'Elegance, Louis Vuitton Bagatelle Concours d'Elegance, Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance, Scarsdale Concours d'Elegance, and Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance.
Numerous local organizations sponsor 'Concours' events; traditionally vehicle judging at a Concours d'Elegance is much more demanding than that of a neighborhood or general car show. Trained judges examine the vehicle thoroughly and in its entirety and rate each and every component. Only those vehicles that are judged perfect (or very nearly so) in every way are considered trophy class.
Often the competitiveness of a Concours d'Elegance forces restoration of a vehicle to surpass 'mint' condition. Mint condition would be the state of the vehicle when it originally left the factory. Concours-quality cars are often given upholstery, paint, chrome (or nickel) plating and mechanical restoration far exceeding that of the car when new.
All too frequently Concours d'Elegance quality cars are not driven, except for short distances from their trailers to the show fields. They are not intended to be used as daily drivers and are often not seen outside of museums or private collections. Even after driving only the short distance to the show field, the car is 'staged'; errant bits of dirt or pebbles removed from the tire treads, bits of grass or mud wiped from the under-carriage, and the vehicle is constantly maintained, and frequently dusted to keep the absolutely flawless appearance while on display.
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