Concours and Weigh-In

I’ve been negligent recently. I attended two car events the last two weeks without making any notes. So here I am, in catch-up mode.

Colorado Concours d’Elegance

The 36th annual meeting of the Concours was held at the Arapahoe Community College back on June 9. It has been five years since I last went, so I figured it was time to make another appearance. Last time, the day began with nice weather but in early afternoon we had a tornado warning and everybody had to go into the school for a short while.

This time, the day began quite chilly. I took a jacket and a hoodie and ended up wearing both for much of the morning. It looked like it might rain heavily, but aside from a few sprinkles early we stayed dry. And as the day wore on it warmed up considerably, with the clouds breaking up and bright sunshine (if not totally clear skies) by the end. We had so much sun, in fact, that I managed to get a bit of a sunburn on my face.

We had eight Lotus turn out: a Stalker (a Lotus 7 replica), a Europa, an Evora, an Elite, an Esprit, and three Elises. I thought I was the last to arrive, but another green Elise showed up a few minutes later. We were directed to opposite ends of the line, so our Lotus contingent was bookended by green Elises.

I almost never have the roof mounted on the car. It hangs on a bracket on the garage wall. I’ve pretty much decided the only time I’ll put it on the car is for car shows. I have vinyl outlines of all the tracks I’ve lapped displayed on it, but nobody ever gets to see them. So the car shows are a good excuse to put the roof on, and the track decals serve as an explanation of the somewhat rough condition of the car.

I made a lap of the field mid-morning to get a look at all the cars. Because it’s not my first rodeo, I pretty much knew what to expect. The show is put on by the same car clubs every year, so the bulk of the entrants are regulars. Although Lotus Colorado is one of the hosting clubs our turnout this year is fairly typical for us, which means we’re one of the smaller clubs to appear. The other clubs tend to have much larger appearances: Alfa, Aston Martin, Audi, Ferrari, Maserati, Mercedes, Porsche, Jaguar, Saab, Triumph, and a few others. A highlight for me was seeing a handful of really old cars: what I might tend to call horseless carriages, those cars that are now a hundred years old or older.

As a part of my recon lap I scoped out the food choices. There were a handful of food trucks there with a variety of menu choices. Towards one o’clock I wandered over to grab some grub and first picked on the Cajun truck. I decided I’d have the jambalaya. The line was fairly long; I found myself behind about a dozen people. After a short while, there were only about six folks in front of me. Then a gal came out of the truck with a sharpie and crossed off about a third of the menu, including the jambalaya. That was disappointing.

So I decided to switch to Plan B: toasted ravioli from the Italian truck. Again, I found myself at the end of a significant line. I turned to the guy behind me and said I hoped he wasn’t looking to have the ravioli. “Why? Do you think you’ll get the last order of it?” “No,” I answered, “Somebody in front of me will get the last order and neither of us will get it.” Sure enough, a few minutes later somebody came out and crossed off a number of menu items. Luckily, the ravioli wasn’t one of those deprecated.

I spent most of my time hanging around my car. Lots of people commented on or asked questions about the track decals. I challenged a number of people to name as many of them as they could. Some had some off-the-wall suggestions, including Brands Hatch and Sebring.

It was an enjoyable day, in spite of a couple issues at the end. I’d neglected to plug the car into the trickle charger in the preceeding days and when I went to leave it wouldn’t start. Wes and Toni gave me a jump and I was on the road. Dave G., however, locked his jacket in the boot. That’s not a big deal, except that his key was in his jacket pocket. We tried to get the boot open without success, so he had to Uber home to get his spare.

Lotus Only Car Show

The next Saturday, the 15th, we had a LoCo Meeting at Ferrari of Denver. It wasn’t just a club event, but it was mostly club people. The big event of the day was a weigh-in. Prizes were given for lightest Lotus, heaviest Lotus (an ironic prize, no doubt), lightest Elise, and lightest car overall (because, even though it was a “Lotus Only” event, there were other kinds of cars). Oh, and there was a food truck serving up fish and chips

The whole time I’ve owned the car, whenever anybody asked what it weighed, I’d tell them “the previous owner told me 1965 pounds”. This was my chance to see it weighed and get a number that wasn’t hearsay. I didn’t know whether that 1965 pounds was accurate, or which wheels were mounted, or if the hardtop was on, or how much fuel was in the car, or even if I remembered the number correctly.

Photo stolen from Ryan’s Facebook post. Don’t know who took it.

We did the Elises first, and I was second on the scales. Dave G’s car was first and came in at 1964 lbs. He and I were joking before we were on the scales about who had less fuel in the car. My low fuel light came on on the way to the event, so I knew I was nearly empty. He said the same thing, so with his car at 1964 I figured he was lighter. As it turned out, mine came in at 1901 pounds, lightest Elise by 24 pounds. Knock me over with a feather. So I’m guessing that 1965 figure is with the lighter wheels and a full tank of gas. My prize was a gift certificate good at Ferrari of Denver.

Total weight: 1901 lbs

When they were going over the results and giving away the prizes, there was talk of doing it again next year. They’ll have to come up with different competitions than this time, or chances are all the same cars would win. Ryan said maybe something along the lines of “the biggest loser”, seeing who could shed the most weight for next time.

I’m game!

31st Annual Colorado Consours d’Elegance

Back on June 8 I entered the car show at Arapahoe Community College. This was my second year in the show. Last year I had the car judged and came in second. This time I didn’t bother with getting judged but somehow ended up with another second place ribbon!

The rules are that entrants be on site from 9am to 3pm. Any early departure requires rounding up a police officer to help navigate a safe path to the exit. And, of course, we had to be there well before 9. I left the house a bit later than I’d hoped. To make matters worse, I soon realized I left my paperwork on the kitchen counter so had to run back home. In the end, I was only a few minutes late.

This year’s show celebrated the 100th anniversary of Maserati, the 60th year of the Porsche Speedster, the 50th year of the Ford Mustang and McLaren, and the 40th year of the Porsche Turbo. There were more McLarens there than I’d seen in one place before – the Phoenix McLaren dealer trucked a few cars in, and there was a McLaren race car as well.

2014-06-08 12.31.32sI was a bit delinquent in taking pictures, but so it goes. I was thinking I had plenty of time to do this, but the weather became a problem. Skies to the west were slightly threatening most of the morning, but I kept a positive attitude that we’d be spared any grief. My positive attitude didn’t help much.

It started raining before long. Lots of people scrambled for cover. Some of us sat in our cars. Others got in their cars and drove off – we were given permission to leave the grounds early. It didn’t stop with rain, though. Soon we had hail. I can only imagine what was going through the minds of those folks who brought out their seven figure museum pieces.

After the rain and hail stopped, a police cruiser was circulating with an announcement to take cover in the building. Other officers came through on foot: “Go inside now! There is a tornado warning! Take cover!”

IMG_0741sBy this time, well over half the cars had left. Most of us Lotus folks were nutty enough to stay. I think only the Saab owners adjacent to us stayed in a greater percentage.

Even with the less than ideal weather, I had a great time. I made the day for a 3 year old boy when I let him sit behind the wheel. I spotted him from thirty yards away when he first saw my car and came running toward it. “Look at this one, daddy!”

CP Colorado

Yesterday was the 30th Annual Colorado Concours d’Elegance & Exotic Car Show, benefitting CP Colorado. Local and regional car clubs showcase about 500 rare and exotic sports cars. I’ve known about the show for a few years. The first year I owned the Lotus, the promoters were looking for a car that wasn’t in the show so they could do a television spot during channel 9’s local Sunday morning show and I volunteered for that.

Porsche Carrera GT

Porsche Carrera GT

But this is the first time I’ve entered the car into any car show of any sort. They have two kinds of entries – display only and judged. Not knowing anything about how it works, I elected to enter as a judged car. In the weeks leading up to the show, I learned that at this one the judging is done entirely on how clean the car is. That is, you won’t lose any points for having the non-original equipment. There are a lot of different car makes and models in this show, and the judges aren’t experts on all of them.

I didn’t manage to get the car detailed before the show. The extent of my preparation was a fairly thorough wash after the Braille Rally on Saturday. I have a number of black marks around the rear wheels and a big splotch of dried adhesive where the prior owner mounted his radar detector. And, of course, the car isn’t a museum piece, like so many of the other cars entered. I’m driving it all the time, and that includes four or five track days a year. So I’ve been joking that I expect to get last place. Somebody has to be last, right?

2013-06-09 10.44.23s

1937 BMW

Michael went with me. We got there a bit before 8am, entering the gates a couple cars behind a 1937 BMW. Porsche is the featured marque for this year’s show; they arrived using a different entrance, so we did a little “zipper merge” with them as we rolled onto the field. We didn’t have to go far – the Corvettes were immediately to the left of the entrance, and the Lotuses were just past them. Steve directed us to a spot between Tatiana and William. When we got onto the grass from the sidewalk, we heard the strangest noise. The car is so low, the grass is taller. The blades of grass brushed along the flat bottom of the car making a noise that sounded a lot like water coming off the tires, as if the sprinklers had run too long and had just been shut off.

After getting situated, I headed out for my first pass to check out all the cars. Because Porsche is the featured marque, it seemed like they comprised half the field. That’s a bit of an exaggeration – they probably weren’t there in any greater number than for the typical Cars and Coffee Saturday in Lafayette. Okay, so maybe they were half the field. There were several notable cars there, including a Porsche Carrera GT. And for the first time, I saw more Ford GT’s than Elises (3 to 2).

2013-06-09 11.19.10s

The Lotus area

I don’t know how many cars actually showed up. I know we were expecting a few more Lotuses. There are sixteen listed in the program but I only counted thirteen (twelve in the Lotus area and one in the Founder’s Circle). Four Elises are in the program, but we only had two. So I’m not sure if the 500 cars is a count of cars entered or the number that actually show up.

The weather was very nice. We were situated near some trees which provided welcome shade and there were a couple of picnic tables nearby. I’m still in the dark ages as far as lawn chairs go (having only the prehistoric aluminum folding chairs), so Michael and I either wandered around, used the picnic table, or sat in other people’s chairs. Clearly, I need to upgrade to a chair I can carry in the Lotus.

It was after noon before the judges showed up in our area. There’s a place on the form for “Class”. I had no idea what class I was in, so left it blank. Turns out the judging for Lotuses is broken down to Chapman era cars and post-Chapman cars. I believe Tatiana’s and mine were the only Lotuses getting judged. So my prophecy of being in last place was confirmed. Maximum score possible for my car was 250.5 and I managed 214.8. As I said above, it’s totally based on cleanliness. I was awarded full score for “operation of lights, wipers, door latches” even though I had a headlight burn out last week. And full points for “tool bag, tools, jack and tire strap” and “spare tire and wheel assembly”. The Elise has no spare tire.

Second Place!

So my last place entry managed a red ribbon for second place!

I think I’ll do this again next year, judging and all. Now that I have a “baseline” score, we’ll see how many points a good detail is worth.


Three car related items today. Plans for events, rather than events themselves.

First, I just registered for the 30th Annual Colorado Concours. This is my first time entering the car in any sort of show. At this one, I had my choice of being judged or just being on display. I have no illusions that this is a winning show car, but what the heck. I’m going to be judged. Here’s how the organizers describe it:

Now in its 30th year, the Annual Colorado Concours – Exotic Sports Car Show & Concours d’Elegance is large-scale, highly-visible and well-attended. Local and regional car clubs showcase nearly 500 rare sports and exotic cars. Come take a look at these beautiful high-end, high performance vehicles. Meet the owners and exchange your favorite car stories. And, don’t forget to bring the kids as this day is filled with activities for the entire family! Mark your calendars now for a car event that has established itself as the premier auto show in its class. All proceeds from the event benefit CP of Colorado’s Children’s Programs. The featured marque for  this special anniversary edition of the car show is Porsche!

If you’re in the Denver area, come on out and see the cars. This is happening on Sunday June 9 at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton. Gates open at 9am. I believe it’s $10 to get in, and it supports a fine charity.

Second, every year Lotus Colorado puts together a long weekend drive. We haven’t gone on any of these yet, but I just made reservations at the hotels for this year’s trip. They’re calling it “The LOCO Four to the 4”. We leave Denver Saturday morning, May 18, and head down toward the four corners. One night in Telluride, one night in Pagosa Springs, then back home Monday, May 20. Ross describes it thusly:

Many of you have been with us on our Colorado Good, where we do a bit less than the Colorado Grand; three days instead of four, about 800 miles instead of over a thousand miles; stay at good hotels instead of grand hotels and dine at good small yet really cool specialty restaurants with reasonable prices. This will be our fourth trip and will go to the Four Corners via Telluride and Pagosa Springs.

Finally, CECA is having their first track day of the season at Pueblo Motorsports Park on May 11 and I just sent in my registration.

CECA 2013 EVENT SCHEDULE (Tentative):
May 11                            Pueblo Motorsports Park
June 29                           High Plains Raceway
August 24                       Colorado State Patrol Track
September 28                 High Plains Raceway
October 12                      Pikes Peak International Raceway
I’m not sure how many of these I’ll attend. Last year I managed all except PPIR. I’d like to do them all, but if I miss any it will likely be one of the HPR dates.