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Thread: Judging clarifications

  1. #1
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    Default Judging clarifications

    Rather than continue this discussion in my other thread, I thought I would start anew and try to get some actual usable info. I still don't get how you can use the exact same phrase at multiple places in the rules and have it mean something different in each application. If WERA had done that back in the 90's when we was still racing it would have been bedlam in the paddock. But I am over that, it went down how it did. Changes have been made. I'm done complaining about it, after all I wouldn't want to be determined to be detrimental to the purposes of the corporation. But I do need to understand exactly what they will be looking for on the judging field these days so I can get back to simply having fun. So here are the questions I feel need answered as of now.

    1; If we are to use the hallmarks to gauge a frames accuracy, are we checking to see if the markings are correct for the application, or merely that similar markings are present? Also worth mentioning, some of these marks can be rather faint and easily covered by thick paint.

    2; In reference to question #1, What if any reference sources will be used to base these judgments on? These items are fairly technical and were changed who knows when or how often. For the process to be as fair and even from one meet to another, and if we are going to delve more deeply into the minutest details during judging perhaps some of the burden of proof should now shift to the judges.

    3; If date codes are missing on top end components , obviously they are reproductions, but will those codes now need to coincide with a theoretical production date based on VIN? It was my previous understanding that date codes were not checked in this manner.

    4; Will case half numbers now be regularly checked to verify VIN? After all, decent quality stamps are available and anyone who has been around awhile should know someone who has a set of original factory number stamps.

    5; The above question has brought another to mind, Why haven't we been checking case half numbers? After all if a repop top end will keep you out of the winners circle why would we let in a machine with mismatched cases?

    I know my questions center around H-D models as that is my area of interest. I would also like to here from those involved with makes other than H-D and see what questions they have specific to their marque of interest. We can't move on if we don't know where we are going.
    Last edited by bmh; 06-05-2010 at 07:32 AM.
    Brian Howard AMCA#5866

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    Brian, good questions, and I wish we could see the process in action here with an example, as in cyber judging. But I'll snoop in at St Paul, if I can wait that long, and if the grand kids have the patience.
    The Harley guys have it tough imo, with the complications. The Indian camp is still pretty old fashioned, tough as hell to find those specific-year cylinders.

  3. #3
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    brian the rules are to stop people from getting a brand new bike judged. no more keystone frames from compdist. or 8 valve top ends from fred. guys have been making bike with the only original part being the handlebar spirals.

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    and what are you going to do with competition bikes, this is my main area of interest

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    Quote Originally Posted by speedracer View Post
    and what are you going to do with competition bikes, this is my main area of interest
    gas it up and ride the snot out of it ! can you show us a photo? maybe someone with less of a wise ass answer can help you.

  6. #6
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    [QUOTE=bmh;96773]

    1; If we are to use the hallmarks to gauge a frames accuracy, are we checking to see if the markings are correct for the application, or merely that similar markings are present? Also worth mentioning, some of these marks can be rather faint and easily covered by thick paint.
    Hallmarks are tooling marks. These markings changed as tooling wore out.

    2; In reference to question #1, What if any reference sources will be used to base these judgments on? These items are fairly technical and were changed who knows when or how often. For the process to be as fair and even from one meet to another, and if we are going to delve more deeply into the minutest details during judging perhaps some of the burden of proof should now shift to the judges.
    Are you saying an owner can't question a judge?

    3; If date codes are missing on top end components , obviously they are reproductions, but will those codes now need to coincide with a theoretical production date based on VIN? It was my previous understanding that date codes were not checked in this manner.
    Date coding on H-D parts started in 1938. Many parts have the date code in a place not visible when the motorcycle is assembled.

    4; Will case half numbers now be regularly checked to verify VIN? After all, decent quality stamps are available and anyone who has been around awhile should know someone who has a set of original factory number stamps.
    How do you verify a VIN by the case number? Do you have a list of line bore numbers and the serial number assigned to them?

    5; The above question has brought another to mind, Why haven't we been checking case half numbers? After all if a repop top end will keep you out of the winners circle why would we let in a machine with mismatched cases?
    You haven't been checking?
    Be sure to visit;
    http://www.vintageamericanmotorcycles.com/main.php
    Be sure to register at the site so you can see large images.
    Also be sure to visit http://www.caimag.com/forum/

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmh View Post
    Rather than continue this discussion in my other thread, I thought I would start anew and try to get some actual usable info... So here are the questions I feel need answered as of now.

    1; If we are to use the hallmarks to gauge a frames accuracy, are we checking to see if the markings are correct for the application, or merely that similar markings are present? Also worth mentioning, some of these marks can be rather faint and easily covered by thick paint.
    You're still missing the point, Brian. An "obvious" reproduction, trying to make a silk purse from a sow's ear and failing at it will keep a bike out of the Winners' Circle of Excellence as an exemplary representative of that particular marque, model and year; not just the fact of having a judge-detectable repro frame, if that frame has been exhaustively reworked by the restorer until it otherwise conforms to the specs of a frame for that particular marque, year and model. The catch word "Obvious" takes on a positive meaning in that regard. Take off the generic junk and make it look real, is all that is being asked, Brian. It may be missing casting numbers, or hallmarks, but it looks like a stock frame for the year and model, for all intents and purposes.
    No one suddenly has to match all the possible casting numbers and hallmarks on a Harley frame, for instance. It's not the being it is a reproduction that will get it docked, it's being an obvious repop. Exhibiting the things that I went into in the previous post: flat plates instead of cast rear axle hangers, electric welded instead of sweated frame joints, wrong locations of things like toolbox mounts and various brackets, etc.

    2; In reference to question #1, What if any reference sources will be used to base these judgments on?
    How about our AMCA judges' brains? Our judging teams are led by at least one "marque expert." He may be holding class for four or five apprentice judges around him, but it's a human endeavor. We're not taking Joes off the street or whoever's shopping the swapmeet at a particular time and making them AMCA Judging Team leaders. Every single one is a known quantity to the Chief Judge, or Chapter Judge in charge that day. This year is nothing if not a learning curve for everyone involved in the judging, but let it shake out. We have some superlative, experienced marque experts in the AMCA; we are "it," in the field of American motorcycles, our judgements are the absolute world gold standard concerning what-goes-with-what, and what is pure BS. Give the process a chance without all the second guessing it's getting before it even shakes out.
    These items are fairly technical and were changed who knows when or how often. For the process to be as fair and even from one meet to another, and if we are going to delve more deeply into the minutest details during judging perhaps some of the burden of proof should now shift to the judges.
    WADR, "Nonsense, Brian." You're still endeavoring to make mountains out of molehills. Each case is considered individually, if the owner questions the judges' decisions, just like it always has.

    3; If date codes are missing on top end components , obviously they are reproductions, but will those codes now need to coincide with a theoretical production date based on VIN? It was my previous understanding that date codes were not checked in this manner.
    "Need to?" No. As it has been in the past, it is nice to have date codes that jive with one assembly date for the bike, those that you can see without touching the bike during judging. Usually, that would be an indication that a particular bike came down the assembly line together, a single motorcycle, before it was disassembled and restored, but it's not essential.
    As Chris Haynes pointed out in another thread, and it made sense there: reproduction aluminum heads on a 40UL do not a disqualification make; entire repop 8-valve racing get ups, trying to make a common JD into something it never was, make a replica, a "counterfeit," he called it, and do earn one a DQ. The difference is between restoration and counterfeiting, Brian. Counterfeiting is inventing an alleged heritage for the bike that's only a replica, and will only get you a DQ. That is the point.

    4; Will case half numbers now be regularly checked to verify VIN? After all, decent quality stamps are available and anyone who has been around awhile should know someone who has a set of original factory number stamps.
    We have regularly checked line bore numbers (the formal name for what are called "belly numbers" and "case half numbers") whenever there was a problem with the appearance of the VIN, or the engine cases, in regard to Harleys. But a '42 Knucklehead left case (long ribs) connected to a '39 Knucklehead right case, wearing 1939 VIN, is identifiable to a marque expert without even that. OTOH, if the entire bike "hangs together," with no obviously way-out-of-time major components, I don't care if one case has a different line bore number than the other. It's all in what's reasonable for the bike being examined: two case halves that were meant to go into the same model bike, consistent with the year numbers the left case wears. That is as far as it has to go. The fact of different numbers is just the proof. It would only be consulted if the judges could tell it was early-and-late, or different model engine halves mated together that didn't originally belong together.

    5; The above question has brought another to mind, Why haven't we been checking case half numbers? After all if a repop top end will keep you out of the winners circle why would we let in a machine with mismatched cases?
    If they're both cases of the same era, and the VIN stamps don't look like something bought at an ACE Hardware store, smiling up at us from a shiny, machined number boss, I don't care. Just be sure that the stamps are egg-zackly the ones in use in the year the bike purports to be, all of them. It's not rocket science, Brian, despite what appears to be your self-appointed mission to find the new rules inadequate, and lacking fairness in some respect, it is quite simple.
    Remember what the purpose of the new rules is: to keep out bikes that never, ever saw the inside of a factory in the years they represent, "replica bikes." Engine cases that were cast in the original factory, at a minimum, and everything else that would have been wrapped around it in the year it purports to be. Period.
    Give the new rules this year's judging season to shake out. There may be some "practicality" tweaks introduced in the exact wording, but it won't be without a lot of discussion and deliberation, and it won't be until next season, at the least.

    I know my questions center around H-D models as that is my area of interest. I would also like to hear from those involved with makes other than H-D and see what questions they have specific to their marque of interest. We can't move on if we don't know where we are going.
    Like Christopher Columbus? Like Robert Peary? Like Roald Amundsen? Or Neil Armstrong? No, don't want to do that(!), without worrying ourselves into total stasis, afraid to "offend" someone who MAY be confused down the line, while total replica bikes and outright forgeries ascend to the Winners' Circle of Excellence as "exemplary examples of the year and marque," diluting the very idea of what a restoration really is. That is the alternative, and it is now.

  8. #8
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    Chris, I am not saying we can't question the judges. I'm not saying anything, I'm trying to get some answers so I don't waste my limited time and $$$. In the case of the 6 point rule in regards to paint the matter is very simple, either the color used is listed on the order blank for that year or it is not. I have heard a judge make that exact statement. Now we have in essence a 6 point rule for frames and another for top ends. These matters are not as simple as checking an order blank and deciding if that red paint is Ruby red or Persian red. In regards to date codes, there are also many that can be seen on an assembled machine, cylinders, starter covers, heads, even the trans case if you carry a small mirror just to name the ones that come into mind. As to VIN and case half numbers, while you can't absolutely verify, you can absolutely exclude. IE, if the VIN is 49FLXXXX and the case halves are 151-XXXX I think we could say they are not as they left the factory, at least during initial production. Could they be factory replacements? Yes. But it seems I remember discussing a certain Shovel that was DQ'd at Eustis for a similar type thing even though the owner possessed factory documentation of the replacement. And I always check case half numbers on anything I intend to buy, I have yet to see a judging team check them.
    Brian Howard AMCA#5866

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    Gerry, As I stated I'm not the person using the same phrase for three different rules with two different meanings. I'm not making mountains of molehills, This is a game of details, it's not just the little things, cause the little things is all there is. In case ya hadn't noticed it's all molehills here, each a quarter point or so high. Most I talk too who are having there bikes judged are not expert restorers, they are hobbyists and and at least half will never question the team of experts, as you put it. As too those experts, I thought the teams were divided into the same classes as were the bikes. From the current yet outdated handbook.(don't you see the problem with that last statement?)

    JUDGING CATEGORIES
    Today motorcycles 35 years of age or older are
    considered antiques and the younger generation will
    often ask “post what war?”. Also with our new
    judging system each motorcycle is considered on its
    own merits and not in relation to others, hence the
    following classifications were developed:
    CLASS I: All motorcycles manufactured
    through 1919
    CLASS II: 1920 through 1929
    CLASS III: 1930 through 1939
    CLASS IV: 1940 through 1949
    CLASS V: 1950 through 1959
    CLASS VI: 1960 through 1969
    CLASS VII: 1970 through 1979
    COMPETITION CLASS: Any year machine
    (35 years of age)

    GENERAL INFORMATION
    1. Three judges will compose a team for each
    category. One member will be selected as the
    team captain and will complete the judging form.

    11. Certain categories may have a greater number of
    entries. To facilitate judging it is recommended
    that these categories be divided into the
    following sections; Harley-Davidson, Indian,
    European and other marques. Judging teams
    should then be composed of those with
    expertise in a particular marque.

    That is the way I have witnessed the judging to proceed, not one team of H-D experts judging all the H-D's and another set doing Indians Etc. Even when two teams judge a category, I have not really seen them split along manufacturer lines as described above. So I don't see why my question in regards to frame hallmarks was so absurd to you. After all no one on the 70's team at Oley this year realized the blue plastic electrical splices were not on the bikes when they left the factory, but were part of the factory replacement and dealer install kits for certain items. Simply because they appeared on an original machine they were believed to be original. I gladly pointed this out to one of the judges as my remembrance of what they were and how they got there and left them get back to judging. Whether or not they took my advice I do not know, But it shows I am trying to be helpful most of the time, not just a PITA. To ask them to verify hallmarks on a frame I think would be a big stretch, hence my question.

    The clarification on date codes is important to me, Thanks. I have a beautiful set of heads for my pan with date codes about 4 months too new to have been there originally. Before I spend time and money to send them out for new seats and then sweat and cuss over replacing the intake nipples just so I can start to rebuild them I needed to know I wasn't setting myself up for a big deduction. If I need to find other suitable heads , I would rather do so now, and honestly I will at least hold off doing anything with them for a good while . Till I know how all this is really going to shake out.

    Call them what you will, Production numbers is what all my friends at the factory called them, I call them case half numbers. I still wonder why they are not being checked all the time. Why so much cloak and dagger politics to exclude repo frames and top end jobs from the winners circle "of excellence" as you put it and then stand back and proclaim that mismatched cases are excellent enough, but the man capable of making from scratch a set of very authentic appearing cases is totally out of luck. And the man who can recreate from an old stained photograph an accurate appearing top end of a long lost to history machine, he too is out of luck, just not as much so. Do not confuse what I am saying. I am not arguing for these things to be allowed as I really have no care if they are or not. I am making the case that I think checking to verify the line bore numbers are at least a match should be done and at least be subject to a 6 point rule like those already in place. Though I concede that puts us on a slippery path of never ending 6 point rules, and closer to that checklist type ballot I mentioned elsewhere. This is all of no matter anyway, it is the way it is and the general members (or "contributors" as we are legally known to the state of Florida) have no say. So I now need to understand how all this effects me and my endeavors.

    So yes in order to move on we need to understand where we are going. The great explorers you mention all had one thing in common. The crew that was behind them made their discoveries possible. Non of them could have done it on their own. The only reason that happened is because the crew had faith in their captain and his leadership. From what I've seen and heard, a good bit of our crew may be standing by the life boats. We are so worried about fraudulent motorcycles being shown on the field, yet every issue of the club magazine I receive these days is just crawling with forgeries. From the advertisers ( S&S? Seriously?, V-twin, Flashbackfab's fake Excelsiors and on and on). Even the articles. The photo at the top of the article on page36 of this issue on the much talked of eight valves is indeed of one of those fakes we want to keep out of the show. Yet they are good enough to go on display in our museum directly beside genuine antique motorcycles. They are good enough to use for photo's in our club magazine yet some how unworthy of being judged? We've even done articles centered around machines with faked age and patina ( fall 07). Or around the construction of both the entirely fake Excelsior and the seemingly now much despised 8 valve top end. Don't you see where this can get a bit confusing? On one side we appear to be saying one thing and then doing another on the other side. We welcome the chopper crowd with open arms at two meets this year and seek to exclude some of the truly talented people in the Antique bike community? This is exactly the type of stuff I had hoped to leave behind by opening a different thread. But since you brought it over those are my thoughts. From now on I have no care in club politics as I have completely no say in any of it, and at this point really have no urge left to have one either. All I want to do is understand what is now being looked for and try to work within that frame work. After years of tearing apart fairly new stock motorcycles and modifying the daylights out of them I thought it would be fun to put one or two back to original. And I gonna have fun if it's the last damn thing I do.........Hakuna Matata.
    Brian Howard AMCA#5866

  10. #10
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    It is good that we seem to have gotten past the wild rumors and imaginary extrapolations that characterized this discussion in the first few months after adoption of the new judging rules. Now, I think, we're in the wait-and-see stage. No one knows exactly how it will all shake out, yet. As I've known all along, the lifeboat exercise was only a drill. You may now return to your cabin, or to shuffleboard, or where you came from when the alarms were sounded by the less inexperienced members of the crew.

    The calmer discussions we're having now, and you're an important part of that, Brian, bringing up these details, will help lead to the fine-tuning of these rules before they're chiseled in granite (published in an entirely new Judging Handbook). Discussion like this is what we need. Demands for impeachment of the entire BoD are part of the nonsense that delayed this stage for so long.

    I never look at line bore numbers as a prerequisite to qualifying a bike I'm judging. I only pull out the little inspection mirror and look if there is first a question about the VIN on the number pad. Those stand out like a sore thumb, in my experience, and invite the closer inspection. Otherwise, it's kind of "cart before the horse."

    Likewise, the production dates. If the parts you are looking at are the same model, same parts with the same details expected for that bike and year, except, perhaps, for the specific, tiny numbers in the little cast cartouche, that's fine with me. We may get to a point that the heads or other readable casting production numbers must pre-date the expected date of production suggested by the VIN, but I don't expect that. THAT's going overboard, IMO, and by then it may be time to lower a lifeboat to search for survivors.

    I only look at line bore numbers if other red flags are apparent. Judges can't know that two engine halves might be a 1938 and 1939 unless tipped off by a crappy number job on the VIN pad. That's the DQ: the bad restamp itself. The different numbers are contributing evidence.

    Nobody said that frame qualification would hang on "hallmarks," or casting numbers. Only on "obvious reproduction," once again, something that sticks out like a sore thumb. But don't forget that we're talking "Winners' Circle of Excellence," not average, hobbyist-restoration. Bikes admitted to the Winners' Circle will have to be exemplary, something that can be emulated; reproduced with confidence that this was the way it was the first time it went down the assembly line many decades ago (at lest three-and-a-half, anyway).
    Thanks for keeping this discussion alive, Brian. It is food for thought for everyone involved, and will contribute to the final judging products, at all the National Meets this year.
    Last edited by Sargehere; 06-06-2010 at 10:53 AM.

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