The Meguiars Experience
Or. Showing my car at the NEC on the Meguiars concourse ‘showcase’ stand.
Or. Drive to, park the car at the NEC wait 3 days, then drive it home ! If only it was that easy!
As anyone who has exhibited their car at a major show will tell you, it is a mammoth exercise that in my case started many weeks before the actual show.
So how did the request to show a Panther on the Meguiars stand come about ?
Well Val, whilst in pursuance of… better of this, more of that, commitments of the other, from the NEC to enhance ‘our’ club stand was informed of Meguiars presence at the show & as a sponsor. Contact was made with Meguiars for totally different reason(s). And that’s where the question of “do you have a current award winning suitable Panther that could appear on our concourse ‘showcase’ stand” took place. I’m sure this gave Val even more headaches before I got the call to exhibit……… Oh, go on then I’ll do it !
The first thing to think about was when to start preping, too soon means that it could ‘go off’. Too late, & I may not have it ready in time.
About 3 weeks seemed about right, being as I thought I would bring a few winter mods forward. I broke it down into these areas…
Wheel clean per spoke, engine bay mods & clean, paint chassis, clean interior, wax paintwork, polish all chrome & bright work. And before any of that, clear out all of the ‘kit’ I guess both you & I carry around with us. I estimate in my case that was at least 2 kilos of ‘junk’ hidden in various dark places within the car.
On Wednesday 13th it was finished, but for the last few nights I have been watching the weather forecast as 20miles to the NEC is still plenty of time for all of the hard work to be destroyed.
I had no idea what a concourse level of presentation was, but at least I’ve given it my best shot. It did rain on the way to the NEC, no problem as Meguiars had provided a prep area (in a different hall to the stand) to which I had to drive outside in the rain again! Never mind keep smiling & polishing. Park the car on my designated pitch on White gravel no less! It was a while before I stood back & looked at my presentation.
Ah… Those stand floodlights can be your best friend by making the car sparkle, but also your worst enemy by revealing every blemish. I can’t change that now !
The Meguiars team were superb, & every aspect of any exhibitor’s requests were catered for, including VIP food. I cannot thank them enough for their care & courtesy over the weekend. I made friends with the other exhibitors, some of which were club entries such as me, others were very serious about the competition & had done concourse before. I was judged on Saturday first because of my Panther club stand commitments, & let me tell you it is like someone going through your underwear drawer when they inspect your car!
Concourse is not about a pristine car, not about presentation. They inspect & dissect every area, not really considering it to be a complete car. And that is how they can compare completely different makes & models. One competitor even changed an exhaust manifold on-site just because the enamel had cracked! Apparently I had 3 minutes more judging time than some, which was noticed!!
Three judges & a monitor were left to it. Only one award for the ‘best of the best’ which would be announced & presented on Sunday.
For the 3 show days I traversed between hall 1 & hall 4 (Meguiars & Panther) & I know I have left a well worn path between the two! Sunday came & it was award time.
The 9 year old classic Mini 45 won. And that was that. The rest of us picking up a ‘showcase’ exhibitors pack of goodies presented by Mike Brewer.
Later in the day I learned that only 20 points separated 10 out of the 16 cars, & ‘yes’ I was told mine was in the top 10. I’m happy with that.
It sure was a very different experience than that I had ever been involved with before with cars & I’m not sure that I would want to pursue concourse level exhibiting again. Yet it had been thoroughly enjoyable, especially contact with the Meguiars team & the Capri, Jag E-type, & Mx-5 owners/exhibitors who we had a great laugh with. And again at the Meguiars Gala Night held 2 weeks later at the Gaydon Motor Museum where most of the ‘loosers’ sat on the same table. We ate, drank & laughed our way through the evening, which was compared by Tiff Needell.
So that was the Meguiars experience. And I must say the cleaning/polishing products are pretty damn good too.
Lastly I need to mention ‘our’ stand. Now that was the ‘best of the best’ both the stand itself, & each and every car displayed (well done owners). Val presented the club & the cars to their very best. The P6 that I had previously researched & located was given pride of place. But to get it to the show was ‘all Val’s doing’……….’Thankyou’ sometimes just isn’t enough.