Story by Roger Scott, a car detailer that had five days to prepare the car for the show
I was asked by my friend Herr Hübner the owner of Jochen Neerpasch’s 1980 BMW M1 to give the car a good clean and polish as BMW asked for the car to be at the Concorso Villa D’Este 2013, only for the BMW stand and not in the concorso. I started on the car on the Saturday afternoon before the concorso doing my usual high standard detailing inside, outside and engine. I was happy with what I was doing. but the car was terribly scratched all over from light scratches you get from 33 years of being washed to very deep ones from wear and tear.
On the Monday afternoon about 4 pm, Detlef walked into the garage and we were chatting about what I should do with the car, and suddenly he announced that the car had been entered into the concorso, I nearly died, I tried to explain that a concourse car needs a lot more time than two days to prepare. He smiled at me while patting me on the shoulder and said “Scottie you can do it !” I looked at him “Well I will do my best.”
I have never ever prepared a car for a concorse in my life and this is a hobby for me! Well there was a lot of machine polishing, rubber and plastic treatment, engine cleaning. Then a nice layer of Swizöl concorso wax, to make the car look as good as I could get in the time I had. On Wednesday night I finished the outside and loaded it into the trailer for transport to the Villa D’Este.
I set off at 5AM driving to Como and arriving around 3PM. As I opened the trailer the heavens opened and a heavy downpour followed. I waited for one and a half hours and no let up . I had to get in the underground garage at the hotel so I bit the bullet and took it out of the trailer in the heavy rain, drove 500 meters to the garage and the car was soaked.
After all the previous preparation, I was not too happy.
Then to rub salt into the wounds I walked out of the car park and there were blue skies and sunshine. The next few hours and all day Friday, I dried the car and cleaned the leather interior putting all the finishing touches onto the car. It was time to register the car, and a scrutineer came with me to the car to write down the usual chassis and engine numbers. The problem was that we couldn’t find it. I called the BMW Classics’ guy over and at his turn he called two other people. A few minutes later and we found the chassis number. The only way of seeing it would be to take the seat out and the carpet then remove a plate to see it. Luck was on my side and the scrutineer decided it was all original and he didn’t want the car taken apart. Before the scrutineer left he said he thought this car was good enough for a trophy. Surprised, I looked at him saying: “Are you kidding me? I’m just an amateur detailer and at this concorse I stand no chance of winning, not against the professionals who do this for a living!” But it was a nice thing to hear from someone outside my own circle.
The day of the concorso and Herr Hübner saw the car finished for the first time. His impressions: “Car looks really good”.
Sadly Herr Hübner had to go home as his wife was not feeling good, leaving me in charge of the proceedings at the most important concorse in the world (nice to get dropped in the deep-end again). The day passed fast while chatting to people about the car and cleaning the rain off the car every time it stopped. The judges came and went, then around 3PM it was my turn to drive the car to the podium. I stopped, turned it off and listened to the commentator talk about the car and its history.
Then I went into a little world of my own while I thought I had heard him say this car has been awarded the “Trofeo ASI to the best preserved post war car.” Even as the president of the ASI was walking towards me it still had not sunk in. I got out of the car, received the wonderful clay carved trophy while still in this bizarre world of mine. I accepted the trophy on behalf of the owner and also the BMW trophy that went with it. I got back in the car, drove off returning to the parking spot in the concorso, realizing I had prepared a concourse car for the first time in my life, and one important car shows in the world, and walked away with two trophies (all be it the BMW trophy is for winning the ASI trophy).
As you can imagine as it sank in I was a very proud man.