Those of you who have seen photographs of Hagerty’s Festival of the Unexceptional will recognise Stowe House, the Restoration-era grand stately home of the Temple-Grenville family which has provided our wonderful location for the past two years.
It is a very special place to me, as for many years as a child it was my home. My father was a teacher at Stowe School, which has occupied the house since 1923, and as a boy I remember treating the wonderful building and huge grounds as my own personal play area, roving far and wide with my two brothers.
Nine years ago, the Head of Stowe School decided to encourage any families owning classic cars to bring them to Speech Day, celebrating the end of the academic year. 35 classic cars arrived, and it proved so popular that the classic display returned each year. With my connection to Stowe, it was inevitable Hagerty would become involved, and we now help curate a display of 100 classic cars from ex pupils, parents and former parents, staff and Friends of Stowe. Hagerty also now present the 'Steady Barker Trophy' for the car and driver with the most interesting story, so named after the eponymous journalist Ronald 'Steady' Barker (Old Stoic and past editor of The Automobile). Last year's winner has now been invited to Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in August this year!
This year, Stowe celebrated their Speech Day on 25th May and the guest speaker with Michael Deeley, an Old Stoic and producer of Blade Runner, The Deer Hunter and The Italian Job. Hagerty decided to work with Stowe to create a short Italian Job video in honour of Michael Deeley's attendance, to celebrate 60 years of the Mini and 50 years of the Italian Job.
The film was also an opportunity to showcase a Mini that was sourced by Hagerty for the science department, who stripped and rebuilt the car. This was part of Hagerty’s drive (if you excuse the pun) to encourage younger enthusiasts to get involved in classic motoring in line with our rally cry to Keep Driving Alive.
This video received its worldwide premiere at Speech Day, complete with a live appearance by some of the automotive stars and even a few bangs (when they ‘blew the b….dy doors off!’). We hope you enjoy it.