Judging Tips

Cars should be as clean as possible. Obviously a majority of the vehicles are driven to the event, so as compared to an enclosed trailered vehicle, it is hard to compete. Judges will take this into account and only deduct points where the dirt is real evident and should have been cleaned. Especially oil leaks etc.

Vehicles must have a fire extinguisher in them. They do not need to be mounted, but need to be present either in the interior or trunk. Points will be deducted if one is not present. This is done to encourage participants to carry one in case of a fire so someone has the means to put it out before the damage is extensive/expensive.

Make sure your vehicle is mechanically working. A number of mechanical checks are performed and those lost points can be the difference between 1st and 2nd place. (Wipers, turn-signals, horn, radio, heater, headlights, clock, map light, etc)

Use proper hose clamps for your Make, Model and Year if you are in an original class.

Have your hood and trunk open for the judges. This can be just popped open, does not have to be fully open. Doors are to remain closed (not locked), the judges will open to inspect the interiors. Judges will raise hoods and trunks but will not unlock hoods and trunks if closed.

Have your engine painted the correct color. There was a period in time when even Mopar was selling the wrong color paint.

Make sure you have entered your vehicle in the right class. We cannot accommodate mass changes at the event. All judging participants must sign in and pick up their Judging Packet at the Show Registration tent. Look at your Judging package you receive at registration and confirm you are placed in your entered class. See the people at Judging registration for help if you see an error.

If you must put up a small pop-up tent (10x10), it must be located behind the vehicle and MUST be staked. We cannot have the wind blowing pop up tents through the judging area.

Any specific areas you want to bring out to the Judge (especially Modified & Pro-Street entries), please supply a one sheet page laid on your driver’s seat or driver’s floor area of items you wish to bring to the judges attention. The Judge will read the document and note the highlighted parts of your vehicles presentation.

Concours Judged Show (Concours & OE-Certification)

Want to be professionally judged? The cost is $93, and your entry must be postmarked by June 30, 2013. No entries will be accepted after this date or at the gate. This entry is for those participants who want their cars judged and will compete for award plaques as well as bragging rights. The Nats is one of the only Mopar shows that feature a professional Judging Staff that know Mopars and can properly judge your car. Entry admits the car and two adults for all three days. Judged /Tribute entries may continue to park on the judging side all weekend long or after being Judged on Friday can park on either side in designated areas only. There are seven major categories, and all require photos to be included with the entry application so we can confirm classification of the vehicle. If in doubt, e-mail us ahead of time with pictures of the vehicle by the June 30 date so proper classification is performed. Some classes have restrictions or additional fees. Senior and OE-Certified classes require additional funds, with OE requiring prior approval as this class fills up fast. Remember to include two photos (three-quarter front and rear) with your application unless entering the same vehicle as last year. Include copies of your broadcast sheet, window sticker, and any other supporting documentation for the OE Certification and Senior classes. (NOTE: Since this judging class may be full by the time this publication is released, be sure to pre-schedule for an available ’14 or ‘15 opening). Judged show vehicles trailered to the track must park in the approved designated trailer areas and purchase a trailer permit ($25). Show cars can compete in the Saturday Trophy Race and/or make a time trial on Saturday during the designated times. Judging takes place on Friday from 10 am to 5 pm. Winners will be announced and displayed at the Judged and Registration tents on Saturday after 3 pm.

Achieving Mopar Gold Certification

Each year, the Nationals will take up to 4 or 5 entrants into the OE Certification program. This is a program that was designed and debuted some 25 years ago at the Mopar Nationals. It was created by known experts in the field who had/have the knowledge of how the vehicles were built, using drawings, graphics, and many years of experience in restorations and reviewing survivor cars to create a set of standards that all aspects of the vehicle are compared against. Each part of the vehicle is judged against how the vehicle came from the factory. This year, the judging program will be handled by Paul Jacobs of Jacobs Restorations. He has retired from the car restoration business, and has graciously agreed to head up the OE and Concours Judging at the Nats. Outgoing head Judge Keith Rohm while retiring from his position, has agreed to still judge and serve on the Nats advisory board.

Obviously this is no easy task, as the judges must spend an enormous amount of time researching the vehicle year, make and model beforehand, so when the vehicle is judged at the event, they already know a great deal of what the vehicle should look like and how it should be equipped. The vehicle receives points in areas of the restoration. The process takes up to four hours or more to complete, which is why the number of vehicles allowed entry each year is limited.

The OE Certification program last year saw not one, but three Daytona’s entered. All of them took home Gold. It is ironic that this year we are celebrating the tribute to Chrysler’s NASCAR offerings, the Dodge Charger 500, Charger Daytona, and Plymouth Superbird. Hopefully these cars come back to be on display for the Tribute. To achieve Gold Certification, the required points achieved for the vehicle must be at least 95-percent of the total possible points. It takes 90-percent to achieve a Silver, and 85-percent for Bronze. Point totals below 85-percent are not awarded a certificate. Last year’s entries into the OE Certification program were truly outstanding, and represented some of the best works to date, a “Gold Bar” that has been set. The Nationals does not cut corners, or reduce the requirements for what it takes to achieve gold, as a matter of fact, with the growing knowledge over time, and the years of reviewing unrestored vehicles and consulting with the true experts in the field, it’s probably even a little harder to score now, then ever before.

Manufacturer Midway/ General Swap Meet/Car Corral

Manufacturer Midway - Making New Restoration Parts? If you own a Mopar Parts or Service business, you need to be at the Nats! Where else can more than 50,000 die-hard Mopar enthusiasts see your products up close and first hand? This translates into instant sales, just ask the vendors that attend. All the big name manufacturers are there, so why shouldn’t you? Space prices are based on the amount rented, with discounts increasing on larger space requirements. Space sizes come in 20x20 increments. Remember your transportation vehicle must fit within your vendor space size or you must park in the vendor lot. The Midway is located up front near the starting line where all the action is, guaranteeing your company the best possible exposure. You can download the Midway application off our web site (www.thenats.com) or just send a S.A.S.E. to us for all the information you need.

General Swap Meet

Want to sell those used parts? If you have parts to sell, the 33rd Annual Nationals general swap meet area is the place for you. Spaces are 10 feet by 25 feet. Cost is $95 each. You must be able to park your vehicle within the size of your space, or you will have to park in the vendor parking lot in Lot H. Make sure you purchase enough space for your parts and vehicle. Additional space is available in 10-foot increments at $95 each (Pre-registration fee – prices higher at gate). The swap meet area will be located in the northeast corner of the track in back-to-back rows. Even though this area is huge, we sell out every year. We recommend pre-registering to guarantee your spaces or you can purchase spaces at the NTR gate between 12 noon and 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 8th or Friday & Saturday mornings. All vendors will set up Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday move-in is possible on special request. If you plan to purchase a swap meet space on Thursday/Friday, use the Gate H entrance off Refugee Road (CR 30) and proceed to the registration tent by the gate entrance.

Car Corral

Selling your Mopar? There is no better place than the Nats Car Corral. Last year’s event saw an over 60-percent sales rate. For just a $95 pre-registration fee, your car entry and one weekend admission pass is provided. If you’re looking for a classic or high performance Mopar, make sure you check out the car corral this year as a lot of great buys will be available. Non running vehicles can remain on the trailer, but the tow vehicle must be parked in the vendor lot. Tow vehicle/trailer parking is available in the vendor lot. Notary Services if needed are available on grounds.


The deadline for the Judged Show entry ($93) is June 30, 2013. There is no Judged show registration after this date. Regular and Race entry mail in deadline is July 12, but are also available at the gate. Call the Nationals Hotline at 313/278-2240 for the latest entry information or visit our website at www.thenats.com. Remember, pre-registration will guarantee a space and help speed up your entry into the grounds. Swap Meet and Midway vendor entries will be accepted until 12 Noon on Saturday, August 10th space permitting. For event information, including applications, maps, schedule of events and motel listings, send a self-addressed, stamped, business-size envelope to The Nationals, P.O. Box 2303, Dearborn, MI 48123-2303 or visit our Web site at www.thenats.com.