Chris Kramer

Chris H. Kramer has had a fascinating and extensive career in the automotive industry, particularly focusing on classic cars. His background in the German Air Force and experience in owning a computer service company adds an interesting dimension to his journey before delving into his true passion.

As a Classic Car Consultant, Restoration Supervisor, and Value Appraiser with over thirty years of experience, Chris has played crucial roles in preserving and appreciating vintage automobiles. His involvement as an appraiser, collection advisor,  FIVA Scrutineer, ICJAG charter member, and director of Technologies indicates a deep commitment to maintaining high standards and technical expertise in the field.

Being a special advisor and member of the Selecting Committee for prestigious events like the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, Chief Judge for events like the 21 Gun Salute Concours in India and the Lugano Elegance in Switzerland as well as judging advisor for The Amelia, and judging at renowned events such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, La Jolla, Salon Privé and CAvallino Classic, showcases his influence and recognition in the global classic car community. It's clear that Chris Kramer's core expertise and passion lies in European sports cars, both pre- and post-war.

His frequent involvement in major events worldwide and commitment to advising collectors globally highlight his dedication to the preservation and celebration of automotive heritage. 

Question 1: How did you become involved in the world of classic cars and elegance events?

was always interested in cars  - my first experiences date back to an age of 10 when our neighbour took me in a ride in his brand-new Porsche 911 Turbo. The 911s never were old cars for me as I grew up with them and that was already 50 years ago. As I am notoriously curious I wanted to know more about cars and their heritage. In later years when I was acting as a collection advisor It was logical to learn more about the cars even earlier ones. I was asked to participate as a judge as my knowledge about certain cars seemed sufficient  - concours judging became my hobby. 

There are several methods of judging cars. I think that the most important thing is to keep cars as authentic as possible to preserve the automotive heritage. The judging method that we use in Lugano is deviated from the traditional 100 Point system where cars start with a perfect score and deviations from the originality cause a deduction – we have adapted the system and include a score of 5 points that can be applied either for elegance, provenance, significance or other soft factors that need to be considered. These points are at the discretion of the individual judging team. This way we pay tribute to the sometimes long life of the vehicles and make sure that the cars are correct. Period modifications and discrete modifications to keep the cars on the roads in modern times are also fine.  We rolled out this judging format at The Amelia in the USA, at Salon Prive in the UK and 21 Gun Salute in India. The Best of Show will then be selected from the Class winners by secret ballot. 

We need to built a bridge between the original Concours that were established in the early 1920s where all cars were brand-new and the fact that we want to preserve our automotive heritage. Nowadays the cars have lived a live and a large majority has been restored. We cannot treat them as if they were brand new. We want to preserve the automotive heritage and the  Cars are not sculptures and if we judges their design or beauty we leave out their history. This would not reflect the automotive heritage but only the work of the designer. We judge all cars no matter if they are from the 1920s, 1950 s or 1980s. The task is to find the balance and include all aspects of a car’S life. And sometimes this requires to adapt the judging process and not to be too strict. 

There are several however I always find the most joy to convince an entrant who initially enters a car for display only and then after I could convince her or him to have the car judged. In many cases these entrants go home with a price and enjoy the experience.

The ingredients of a great Concours are the cars, a great location and a capable judging team. The unique and wonderful location that is second to none with the team involved will take the event into a bright future. Nowhere else visitors will see cars in a pedestrian zone on a lake lined up between the shops. The word has spread quickly and Claudio and myself are looking at a list of 80 high profile and very experienced judges who want to participate. We have to rotate the judges from a pool to give everybody a chance to participate as a judge. The location and the judges will attract wonderful cars and this is just the start of the success story. I am very proud to be part of it ! 

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Media Edizione 2023
Lugano Elegance 2023 del 06.05.2023