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