We have long admired the French for their unpretentious attitude to their cars and to our sport. They are not worried at all about turning up in a modest car and joining in, whether it be a rally, tour or concours, or even a race on a circuit. Indeed many French organisers actively encourage the more modest cars, as these are often more rare than their superstar counterparts due to the fact that no one thought of preserving them at the time.
Less prevalent in the UK, where cars often seem to get entries based on their perceived value, (we say perceived because many are replicas anyway and don’t have the same value as the ‘real’ car), classic car insurance specialists Hagerty have been trying to redress this by running the Festival of the Unexceptional for the last seven years. Celebrating the mundane, the Festival’s centrepiece is the Concours de l’Ordinaire, open to classic cars, motorcycles and light commercial vehicles built between 1966 and 1996. The Festival of the Unexceptional remains the only concours that prefers a Dolomite to a Diablo, a Tagora over a Testarossa and where a Victor is preferable to a Vantage.
“Hagerty believes in basic and understands the labour of love needed to keep these cars on the road. Every city has an Italian supercar specialist, but you’ll struggle to find spares for a Talbot Solara regardless of where you live. You may think a supercar is a rare sight on the roads, but when did you last see a Datsun Cherry? The cars that were once every day transport are now on the verge of extinction and it takes a committed enthusiast to keep them alive.” said a Hagerty representative.
The chosen location for the 2021 Festival of the Unexceptional, which will take place on 31 July, is Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire, with its expansive grounds and formal gardens. See the Hagerty web site and navigate to the Festival of the Unexceptional for entries. But be quick, places on the concours lawn are highly coveted by owners of the ordinary!