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AACA crowns first Zenith Award winner

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KANSAS CITY _ After almost six hours of evaluation on Sunday, the 1928 Auburn 8-88 Speedster owned by Richard and Helen Harding of Xenia, Ohio, was chosen as the first recipient of the AACA Zenith Award. The new Zenith Award recognizes the most outstanding restoration of the year. The Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) conducts competitions all across the USA for its members and in 2016 more than 3,500 cars, trucks and motorcycles were shown.

Two nominations from each AACA national show were brought forward by the national awards judging team from the 10 shows held in 2016 and thusly 20 cars and trucks arrived in Independence to compete for this inaugural award. The AACA Kansas City Region hosted the 2017 Annual Grand National Meet, the most prestigious show of the year..

A team of AACA senior master judges along with three guest judges spent a day evaluating all the vehicles. The three extra judges were brought into the mix to provide a greater spectrum of thought and included Bob Larivee, former owner of Championship Auto Shows and the force behind the Ridler Award (generally considered the top award in the hot rod community); Angelo Van Bogart, editor of Old Cars Weekly; and Paul Sable, a nationally recognized concours d'elegance chief judge.

 Richard and Helen Harding of Xenia, Ohio

Richard and Helen Harding of Xenia, Ohio

The winning car has won numerous awards and best-of-shows at concours around the country, as well as garnering top national awards from AACA. It was restored mostly by Richard Harding himself. The runner-up was a 1942 Cadillac Series 62 club coupe owned by Steve Cooley of Homosassa, Fla.. 

"I was extremely impressed with the depth, variety and quality of the Zenith nominees. All the cars certainly were capable of being shown at concours events and some I have seen at other shows. They truly were the crème de la crème of cars and the winner just simply spoke to you as a world-class restoration. I thoroughly enjoyed my judging experience with AACA and congratulate this most deserving winner," said Sable.

Click here to view the AACA Zenith Award program listing all of the cars in the competition.

For more information on AACA, judging guidelines, National Awards or National Meets,

The AACA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, has served as the country's premier resource for the collectible vehicle community since its formation in 1935. Through its national office, publications, online forums, Library and membership, the Club has assisted countless individuals, historians and collectors, along with other libraries and museums, in the quest to preserve and enjoy the antique automobile experience.

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