Concours d’EleganceDamon Beals

What is the “Concours d’Elegance”?  Wikipedia states: “A Concours d’Elegance (competition of elegance) refers to an event where prestigious vehicles are displayed and judged.”  It dates back to 17th century French aristocracy who paraded horse-drawn carriages in the parks of Paris during summer weekends and holidays. Over time, carriages became horseless and the gatherings became a competition among automobile owners to be judged on the appearance of their vehicles.  The Vintage Airstream Club has taken it one step farther….we substitute the automobile with vintage Airsream and Argosy travel trailers and motorhomes.

There are different schools of thought as to the expected condition of a trailer or motorhome. One thought is that the unit should be preserved in the original “designed and manufactured” condition, while others feel that judging should be based on general condition with either new and modern materials and components, original equipment, or a combination of both. Keeping with Wally’s lasting creed, “Let’s not make changes – let’s make only improvements!”, the VAC has opted to judge all units in two different categories. The two categories are “Original/Improved Condition” and Modified Condition.”  The Owner of the trailer or motorhome is responsible for selecting the appropriate category to enter.

What is the difference between Original/Improved Condition and Modified you might ask? A rule of thumb example to be considered Modified might be; 1) if the original floor plan and/or cabinetry is changed by more than 50%, 2) if all the windows and frames were all changed to a newer style, 3) if the trailer was converted to all electric, etc., the Owner should consider listing it as Modified.

VAC Concours d’Elegance

The Concours d’Elegance has been a part of the VAC gathering at the WBCCI International since the beginning of the Vintage Club in 1993. The Concours is a judged event, much like a car show, open to all Airstreams or Argosys 25 years or older that are registered for the WBCCI International Rally and are being used during the rally. The Concours occurs during the VAC Open House. Participation in the open house and/or the Concours is optional, of course, but all participants must be current members of the VAC and in good standing with the club. The goal of this article is to describe what the Concours is and to encourage participation.

During the VAC Open House, judges will tour your Airstream or Argosy and judge it according to a set of guidelines listed on a judging sheet. The judging sheet was designed by former VAC member, Hunt Jones, to open up the competition to more entries and to set up an objective set of criteria for judging. The judges will not open drawers, closets, or compartments etc., but will examine all that can be readily seen on the inside, outside, and underside of your trailer or motorhome. You will be asked to leave the trailer during the judging to allow the judges to freely converse.

Judging criteria for all Airstreams and Argosys consists of detailed line items grouped into three categories: Exterior, Interior, and Undercarriage.

The judging sheet included at the end of this article. This will help you in preparation for achieving the highest score possible.  Note the detailed line items in each of these groups. Each item will be assessed by the judges and assigned a score from 5 (Excellent) to 1 (Unsatisfactory).  The maximum score for a perfect Airstream would be 100 points. There’s also one bonus point for displaying a VAC emblem somewhere in or on your Airstream.

Finally, there are three additional categories:

  1. Best Engineered Feature. The Best Engineered Feature recognizes significant engineering improvements to your rig in honor of Wally’s lasting creed, “Let’s not make changes – let’s make only improvements!” For this award, be prepared to do a “show and tell” presentation to the judges.
  2. Best Tow Combo Package. If you pull your trailer with a vintage vehicle, you may enter under the Best Tow Combo Package category. Your tow vehicle willnbe judged under the same criteria as your trailer: Exterior, Undercarriage, and Interior.
  3. People’s Choice. This category is a “Special Judging event” and will not be judged by the selected judges, but instead will be voted on during the Open House by attendees. Participants, will vote for their favorite trailer or motorhome where the winner will be awarded the coveted “People’s Choice Award.” Those wishing to vote must obtain a Ticket, by providing a donation, where they will receive a receipt. All proceeds collected will be given to a local charity (food bank, shelter, etc.) from the Vintage Airstream Club. Only one ticket can be obtained per person attending. To vote for your favorite trailer or motorhome, write the Big Red Number on the back of the ticket and deposit it in a collection box located in the VAC Area. The Trailer or Motorhome that wins the People’s Choice Award will only be able to win the award once in it’s lifetime. This is designed to encourage additional participation beyond the two tiers of competition noted below within the Concours d’Elegance Award Scoring.

If you plan to enter the Concours d’Elegance, or the People’s Choice Judging you must sign up on the Concours registration sheet at the VAC tent at the International Rally. People’s Choice participants will receive a placard to display on/in their trailer or motorhome.


Take the sample judging sheet (below) and evaluate your Airstream before you get to the rally. Be objective. Then do what you can to improve the items on the judging sheet that you scored low. For instance, if your trailer coupler, propane tanks, and jack are rusty, then paint them just before the rally. Or if your belly pan is detached in several places, get out the rivet gun and reattach it. Do what you can to get additional points. History shows most points lost are typically in the undercarriage area, the tongue, and rear bumper area.


The Bud Cooper Best of Show Trophy

The Best of Show Trophy, named in honor of VAC founder, Bud Cooper, is located at the WBCCI Office in Jackson Center, OH. This trophy has a place to attach an engraved plate with the winner’s name and year. The winner will also receive an engraved plaque to keep.


Plaques will be awarded to each Airstream achieving the required point total levels. There are two tiers of competition:  First Entry and Second Entry.  Note that once a rig has been judged twice, it no longer qualifies for entry again in the Concours d’Elegance Judging.  However, VAC members can enter the People’s Choice Award judging as many times as they wish until they win the award for a specific trailer or motorhome. Additionally, any VAC Member can enter another trailer or motorhome at any time for judging.  The two-entry limit applies only to the specific trailer or motorhome and not the VAC member.

The following point breakdown allows multiple awards within the two tiers. It also means you are competing more against the judging sheet rather than against another trailer or motorhome. All trailers or motorhomes achieving the point totals shown below will win an award.

Point totals required to be awarded a trophy plaque are as follows:

First Entry Platinum:  91-100.  Second Entry Platinum:  93-100.

First Entry Gold:  81-90.  Second Entry Gold:  85-92.

First Entry Silver:  73-80.  Second Entry Silver:  77-84.

Best of Show Original/Improved Condition: Awarded to entrant with the highest number of points.

Best of Show Modified Condition: Awarded to entrant with the highest number of points.

People’s Choice: Awarded to the entrant with the highest number of tickets/votes.

To download the General Judging form (PDF), click HERE
To download the Best Engineered Feature/Tow Vehicle judging form (PDF), click HERE.

Concours D’Elegance  Judging Form


NAME ___________________________ WBCCI# _________Model ________ Year ____

1st Tier Entry _____ or 2nd Tier Entry _____

Original Improved Condition _____
Modified Condition _____

SCORING: 5 (Excellent), 4 (Above Average), 3 (Average), 2 (Below Average), 1 (Unsatisfactory)


1. Workmanship (dents, scratches,waves,grind marks,panel match, rub strips) ______

2. Finish (polish/paint/clear coat quality, vents, roof, banana wraps) ______

3. Windows/Screens (scratches, cracks,rips/tears, weather stripping) ______

4. Door (paint,polish,rust,hardware,locks,hinges,screen door,folding step) ______

5. Wheels/Tires/Spare(Paint,polish,rust,matching tires, hub or centercap condition) ______

6. Rear Bumper, Trunk (paint,polish,dents,rust,creases,exposed frame condition) ______

7. Lights & Bezels (clarity,fading,haze,cracks,rust,pits) ______

8. General overall exterior ______


1. Belly pan (complete, fastened,clean) & Wheel wells (clean,paint,rust) ______

2. Suspension (axles,shocks,springs,brake backing plates (clean,paint,rust) ______

3. Pipes & Lines (propane & sewer lines fastened, cleanliness) ______

4. General Overall undercarriage ______


1. Beds and seating (neatness,condition of upholstery & bolsters) ______

2. Cabinetry, Overhead bins, doors, drawers, tambours, hardware (finish,paint,condition) ______

3. Galley, Appliances, Kitchen Sink (cleanliness, finish, paint, condition) ______

4. Walls, Ceiling, Vents, Lights, Window Hardware (paint,finish,condition) ______

5. Floor – condition of wood, vinyl, tile, carpet (wear,scratches,finish,stains) ______

6. Bathtub, bathroom sink, curtain,door, vanity, mirror, toilet (condition, finish, condition) ______

7. General overall interior ______

SAFETY: Fire Extinguisher, Smoke Detector, Carbon Monoxide Detector, First Aid Kit, Safety Chains, etc. (5 Points) ______

VAC Decal Displayed (1 Point) ______

Overall Score: (max 101 points)  ______

Vintage Airstream Club
Concours d’Elegance Judging Form for Best Engineered Feature

Rally: ______________

NAME: ____________________________ WBCCI# ________
MODEL: _______________ YEAR: _______

SCORING: 5-Excellent, 4-Above Average, 3-Average, 2-Below Average, 1-Unsatisfactory

Describe engineered feature to be reviewed and comment here:

Overall Score: (Max 5 points) _______

Vintage Airstream Club
Concours d’Elegance Judging Form for Tow or Towed Vehicle – Tow Combo Package

Rally: ______________

NAME: ____________________________ WBCCI# ________
MODEL: _______________ YEAR: _______

SCORING: 5-Excellent, 4-Above Average, 3-Average, 2-Below Average, 1-Unsatisfactory


  1. Body workmanship (dents, scratches, grind marks, panel match, rust)_______

  2. Paint and finish (gloss, uniformity, quality)_______

  3. Tires and wheels (condition, cleanliness, cap or cover, matching tires)_______

  4. Chrome and glass (pits, dents, rust, scratches)_______


  1. Seats and carpets (condition of covering, wear, stains, cleanliness)_______

  2. Door panels/headliner or convertible top/trim (condition, wear)_______

  3. Dash, instruments, pedal, steering wheel, radio (condition)_______


  1. Underbody (exhaust pipes, rust, holes, cleanliness)_______

  2. Suspension (cleanliness of springs, shocks, axels, differential, etc.)_______

Overall Score: (max 45 points) _______