Fes­ti­val of the Unexceptional

A new lo­ca­tion – and even more of yes­ter­year’s won­der­fully ev­ery­day he­roes – made this year’s FOTU the best yet

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Nick Larkin

’Vis­i­tors were over­joyed to see three Hyundai Stel­lars to­gether’

The per­fectly man­i­cured lawns and 18th cen­tury ar­chi­tec­ture of the Grade I-listed Stowe House couldn’t com­pete with this event’s real joy – the splen­dor of a beige Simca 1100 es­tate, com­pet­ing with an An­niver­sary Gold 1984 Nis­san Mi­cra and the deep au­tum­nal or­ange of a Ver­mil­lion Austin Maxi for concours glory.

All three were among the 50 cars be­ing judged – and an­other 200 vis­it­ing – at the one-day-only Fes­ti­val of the Unexceptional, a cel­e­bra­tion of cars you’ve prob­a­bly never promised your­self.

Vis­i­tors’ faces changed from be­fud­dled be­muse­ment to joy when they even­tu­ally learned that they were look­ing at a Vaux­hall Viceroy, Škoda 100 and three Hyundai Stel­lars all parked to­gether. The event’s judges – in­clud­ing

CCW con­trib­u­tor, Jon Bentley – chose Mark Ash­bridge’s pris­tine 1983 Dat­sun Sunny 1.5GL as the concours’ over­all win­ner.

Mark, who trav­elled down from East York­shire in the 45,000mile car to take part, says: ‘I can’t be­lieve it. It was to­tally un­ex­pected. A friend sug­gested that I should bring the car. I’ve al­ways loved old Dat­suns and have had this one for about five years.’

Richard Hol­ness’ 1972 DAF 33 and Colin Corke’s ex­tra­or­di­nary 1972 Austin Al­le­gro SS were named as run­ners-up.

Other eye-open­ers at this year’s Fes­ti­val in­cluded Alan Course’s 1972 Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle, which he bought new from a Peter­bor­ough deal­er­ship, and Gavin Bushby’s 1990 Fiat Tem­pra 1.8 TX, be­lieved to be the only UK sur­vivor.

Mar­cus Atkin­son of event or­gan­iser and clas­sic in­surer, Hagerty In­ter­na­tional, says: ‘ We had more cars than ever, and the event was a real suc­cess.

‘It was to­tally unexceptional!’

Par­tic­i­pants at this year’s event at Stowe House in­cluded this 1983 Ford Es­cort 1.6 Ghia, 1982 Rover 2600S and 1992 Lada Sa­mara. Robert Nutter spent 20 years search­ing for a Hill­man Avenger GLS: ‘It was worth the ef­fort!’

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