The purpose of Concours, as opposed to Popularity judging, is to preserve cars as closely as possible to the way they were when first produced. While owners may have “upgraded” their vehicles for racing or driving comfort, such changes, except for those, which use period or contemporary parts available when the car was new, detract from preserving the pure heritage of these cars.
Objectives of the Concours Registry
The objectives of the Austin-Healey Concours Registry are to:
- Provide information, assistance, and encouragement to those who wish to restore and maintain their cars to original specifications and quality.
- Certify and maintain a registry of those cars that have been restored to notable levels of originality.
- Encourage the continuing improvement of cars through a published and supported system of inspection, recognition, and awards.
- Establish consistent and widely accepted standards of condition and originality to assist in restoring cars and determining the quality of restorations.
The Registry is open to all Austin-Healeys, including 100s, 100-Sixes, 3000s, and Sprites. The Registry will recognize cars that have been restored or maintained at an acceptable level of originality in specification and condition by registering them in the Concours Registry and issuing a certificate of registration to the owner of the car.
Acceptance into the Registry is based on passing the inspection of a team of authorized judges, at an inspection sanctioned by the Registry Committee, using the Registry’s set of authenticity standards (Score Sheets), and point system, following the inspection guidelines established (on a scale of 100) by the Concours Registry Committee. Cars that achieve a score of 85 percent of available points by Registry Inspection will be listed with the Registry.
- Cars scored between 85 and 89.9 earn a Bronze Registry Award for the year of inspection.
- Cars scored between 90 and 94.9 earn a Silver Registry Award for the year of inspection.
- Cars scored at least 95 earn a Gold Registry Award for the year of inspection.
These scores are based on score sheet standard of 1000 points divided by 10. Awards are based on the car’s attainment of one of these levels, rather than on its merit relative to other cars. The number of each of these awards to be given for any class or model of cars in any given inspection period is not limited. The award consists of a certificate noting the year of award and pertinent data on the car. There is no charge for the certificates. The owner may purchase a distinctive grille badge indicating the level (gold, silver, or bronze) achieved at additional cost.
Publication of Policies and Standards
Concours Registry inspections are conducted using published Originality Guidelines and inspection forms developed by the Concours Committee. These standards and scoring point systems are reviewed by the Concours Committee and revised as appropriate in the fall of each year. After distribution to current members of the Registry Committee for comment, they are finalized and published, and made available to all enthusiasts. When the Guidelines were first developed around 1989, there was very little detailed information available in any of the published literature on Austin-Healeys.
To partially fill this void, a number of individuals who had extensive experience working on Healeys and who were interested in details of originality set out to document as much of this information as they could. Since then the original Guidelines have been expanded to some 600-plus pages. While the Guidelines are unique in the level of information they provide, they are not 100 percent comprehensive. Thus, they should be used as but one of a number of resources, including other published books, parts and shop manuals, original sales literature, and networking among other owners who have very original cars or who have developed an interest in originality.
As noted, the Guidelines do not cover all questions that may arise in restoration, particularly regarding unusual cars. Such issues might include, for instance, an owner’s belief that their particular car came from the factory or dealer with a modification or deviation from published or widely accepted production standards. Owners who have purchased Guidelines may request additional advice in instances such as these from the Technical Guideline Committee responsible for maintaining that Guideline. If the Committee reaches a consensus that the deviation from standards will be allowed on the basis of its likely originality, this decision will be communicated to the owner and taken into account in future inspections of that particular car. Information regarding such accepted deviations also would be incorporated in future revisions of Guidelines.