Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
January 4, 2010
Photos By: The Mustang Monthly Archives

In sports, they say winning isn't everything-it's the only thing. Thankfully, in the world of Mustang Club of America judged show competition, everyone gets a chance to go for the Gold-or Silver or Bronze. These days, MCA concours Mustangs don't compete against each other for First, Second, and Third place prizes. Instead, the cars compete against a standard for Gold, Silver, and Bronze, which means several Mustangs in the same class at the same show can take home the top awards.

Competing in MCA judged competition is yet another way to enjoy your Mustang, just as some prefer weekend cruises or open-track racing. Show competition helps improve your Mustang by rewarding you for cleanliness, workmanship, and condition. While many people associate MCA judged shows with authenticity and originality, especially for the '65-'73 models, that's just part of it. In the Concours, Unrestored, and Thoroughbred classes, it's true that points are deducted for non-original parts and finishes, but in the Occasional Driven and Daily Driver classes, cars are judged primarily for cleanliness, workmanship, and condition. In the Modified class, authenticity doesn't count at all. In fact, you get points for your modifications along with quality of workmanship, attention to detail, innovation, level of engineering, use of custom components, extent of modifications, and degree of difficulty.

"There's room for everybody," says MCA National Head Judge Charles Turner. "If you look at the show statistics, we are heavily weighted toward the Occasional Driver and Modified cars. Concours and Unrestored cars make up only about 15-20 percent of the judged cars at our shows, so it's kind of a misconception when people think the MCA is all about concours."

Regardless of class, MCA judges note that there are plenty of things that show-car owners can do to improve their scores. At a recent MCA judges meeting, seminar presenter and Assistant National Head Judge for Shelbys Jeff Speegle mentioned the small things that people can fix for "$20 and 20 minutes." So we contacted Jeff and three other top MCA judges to learn about the common but easily corrected things that judges see all the time. "It's one thing if they can't afford a $1,000 part," Jeff told us, "but I hate to see people giving away equivalent points in silly stuff."

In addition to Jeff, we also talked with Charles Turner (National Head Judge for '65-'73 and '74-'78), Bob Perkins (Technical Advisor), and Shorty Brown, Assistant National Head Judge for Modifieds. Here's what they told us:

Read the Rules
"The most important thing I can tell people is to join the MCA and get the rules from the website," says Turner. At one time, the MCA printed a rule book, but with so many frequent changes and other dynamics, the rules, classes, awards, and other show details can now be found in the Member's Section of the MCA website, You'll need to have a membership to access the rules, but if you're planning to compete in MCA shows, you'll need the membership anyway. The rules alone are worth the $40 membership fee.

The rules explain all of the MCA classifications, which will help you decide which class is right for your Mustang. You can also learn about how points are deducted (Concours) or added (Modified), and the percentages required to obtain Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards. You'll also find descriptions for special awards, like Prestige, Platinum, Authenticity, and Pinnacle. If you're interested in the Concours classes, sections for the various Mustang eras ('64 1/2-'66, '67-'68, etc.) explain the point deductions for originality. For example, you can lose up to two points if you don't have the correct sun visors on a '64 1/2-'66 Mustang.

The website rules are separated into various categories in pdf form, so the specific information you need can be easily printed out on your home printer.