On Saturday 25th July, Hagerty brought together aficionados of ‘ordinary’ classics for its annual Festival of the Unexceptional. Following the enormous success of last year’s inaugural event, this year’s event was another true celebration of mainstream motoring from the ‘70s and ‘80s. More than 50 pristine unexceptional cars congregated to celebrate the era’s iconic mediocrity.
This year, amidst the Allegros, Escorts, Fiestas and Cavaliers at Whittlebury Golf Club, A 1978 white Ford Escort triumphed. The runner-up was a Fiat 127 and the People’s Choice award went to a 1974 Hillman Avenger Super Estate.
After receiving the first place trophy, proud owner Barry Williams said; “this is more than just a car – it means everything to me. My dad bought the car on September 1st 1978 and gave it to me about 10 years ago and it’s become something of a family heirloom.”
The winning cars outshone a Rover SDI police car, a rare classic made famous by cop shows Ashes to Ashes and Life on Mars; a Hillman Minx from Call The Midwife; an award-winning Citroen Dyane; a completely original ’63 Ford Cortina, and The Vauxhall Cavalier that was featured on James May’s Cars of the People.
Passionate spectators including veteran broadcaster Nicholas Parsons, who made a name for these cars in his hit-show Sale of The Century, turned out to admire the pristine run-of-the-mill competitors. He said “What a joy to celebrate Britain’s forgotten and much maligned automotive legacy – the Festival has proved to once again be truly exceptional.”
Judge Danny Hopkins said: “What an exciting concours d’elegance of the cars we all once had on our driveways and not on our walls. There are less of these cars on the road in Britain today than there are Testarossas and Countaches. They are exclusive rare beasts to be cherished.”
Hagerty was joined by a panel of five judges: ex-Director-General of the British Security Service, Baron Jonathan Evans of Weardale; Jon Burgess, editor of Classics Monthly, Danny Hopkins, editor of Practical Classics magazine; Tanya Field, unexceptional aficionado and organiser of the Pride of Longbridge; and Sam Skelton, formerly of Classic Car Weekly and current owner of unexceptional vehicles.