I have only ever entered a Concours D'Elegance once. At a show about 7 years ago, I paid to park in what i thought was just a better parking area with no mud and undulations which i was not sure my car would clear. It turns out that this was the show field, and I had unwittingly entered my car into the show. By the time I discovered it, it would've been embarrassing to move it, and it became more of a funny story to tell later. Then I won 3rd in class ! It seems that an unrestored car had a certain appeal to someone. To be fair, there were only 5 cars in the class in total, but I have that trophy proudly displayed.
The actual winners, of course, actually get their cars right. They study, they research, they obsess. They hunt, they investigate, they pursue. They pay through the nose, and through every other orifice. They wash, they polish, they shine. I once joked with a friend of mine who entered many Concours, that his real hobby was cleaning. But I digress. In most cases, this legion ensures that their vehicle is as close as possible to the state in which it left the factory. As a result, a Concours is a great event to attend. It allows you to see what your vehicle should actually look like, it allows you to put eyes, if not hands, on the unmolested example of the breed, it brings the museum outdoors.
It also brings you into close proximity with an array of experts that you may not otherwise be able to gather. The guy that knows exactly how much overspray should be on the underside of the longitudinals. The guy that knows that one of your five Lugnuts is not the correct one for that car. The guy that knows where you can get 3 yards of the original houndstooth cloth insert material. Not all of us have what it takes to play in this sandbox, but we are all indebted to those that do.
The slide shows here are from the Radnor Hunt Concours last weekend. They select 100 cars each year to display, and have added motorcycles as well. The variety is great with both domestic and foreign cars from all eras. They must all run and complete a tour in order to be on the lawn, similar to Pebble Beach. With the perfect condition of the cars, you are hard pressed to see the evidence that they were all driven a fair amount. The exception are some fantastic survivor cars like the 1912 Packard. Not exactly shiny and restored, but all the more interesting because of it.