Announcing The 2013 Jalopnik Contest: The Big Year (of Cars)

The Jalopnik Mainframe, safely located in its airtight pod 75 feet below Gabe Kaplan's Hollywood Hills hot tub, has been working overtime for me, processing an algorithm telling me what the average Jalopnik reader loves more than anything. This morning, my Telex' bell clanged, announcing that I finally had my answer: birding. Just as I suspected. Based on that, the contest we'll be having for the rest of the year will be birding related. I knew you'd be excited.

Specifically, we'll be borrowing the birding concept of the Big Year. A big year is a year-long contest where avid bird-spotters compete to see who can see or hear the most unique species in the course of one year. The Jalopnik Big Year will be similar, but with, of course, cars. You'll have the rest of the year to photograph as many different cars as possible. We'll announce a judging date in December.

To win, you'll need to make a post showcasing your 15 best car photos. The winner will be picked by who has the most impressive set of pictures, based on rarity of the cars, quality of the photographs, the age of the cars (older gets higher points), and the general opinions of the Jalopnik staff, who will judge these. In the event of a split decision, the overall number of car photos will be the deciding factor.

Individual years of the same make/model still only count for one entry. The goal is as many unique individual models of a car. You can't have, say, a 1959 NSU Prinz and a 1965 NSU Prinz and count them as two different cars. They're both NSU Prinzes. However, the older models will most likely count for more in the end, unless there's an unusual circumstance.

Also, car photos must be of cars in the wild. In their natural habitats, on streets and garages. That means no going through a museum shooting pictures of cars. That'd be like the bird people shooting photos in the natural history museum. You can do better.

The pictures themselves need to be taken by you, dear reader, and not just grabbed offline. That's why every picture needs to have an index card with your Jalopnik user name written on it, placed on the car or held in the shot. No cheaty Photoshopping, we can tell, having seen many 'shops in our time, and by looking at some of the pixels. But you knew that.

You'll keep your photos on your own Kinja pages — if you don't have one yet, then, buddy, go make one now. On your page, tag your photo posts with the tag "Big Year 2013" so we can find them.

And we have a good prize. See, as an incorruptible auto journalist, I'm not allowed to accept any gift over a certain pathetically low amount. Both fortunately and unfortunately, I won an amazing FR-S RC car at the Scion FR-S launch event. This is one of those 1:10th scale $200+dollar no-joke RC cars. It's made by HPI Racing, and I was really hoping everyone would forget I had it. Because it's awesome, and it's been taunting me in its box there. But no such luck for me, but lots for a certain potential car-spotter. The person with the most different kinds of cars on their Kinja page wins this fabulous FR-S RC car. I'll mail it out to you myself, and doodle some cars with a Sharpie all over the box.

Announcing The 2013 Jalopnik Contest: The Big Year (of Cars)

Okay, so, get out there and start taking car pictures! Those things are everywhere, so I bet almost anyone can get in the hundreds pretty quickly.

I'm excited to see how these end up. We'll do the final judging near the end of the year, because that's close enough.

Good luck!

(The official Gawker contest guidelines, where we take your kids and stuff is here.)

RULES UPDATE: Lots of folks have been asking about the difficulty of getting a shot with the car and your username card. I understand. So how about this — take one shot of the car, to get the best shot you can, and then take another of the same location with your card, as soon after your car shot as possible. So, if it's a moving car, snap a shot of the card after the car's out of frame. If it's stationary, just get a second crappy shot with your username in there. How's that sound?

RULES UPDATE 2: The Cars and Coffee question. Should we allow car shows? This is tricky. Once a car show gets big enough, it may as well be an outdoor museum. So how about this: small, informal gatherings of car lovers are fine. Let's say 20 cars or less.

Car groupings in transit are okay as well, like if you stumble into a vintage road rally, have at it. But large, well-organized events are just too close to museums or car zoos, so they shouldn't count. Sound fair?