Festival of the Unexceptional

You might say that the “unexceptionality” of these cars is what makes them exceptional, but you probably won’t find our Automologist MAC at this motor show…ever. 

Here comes the rain…
All around the world, you will hear of motor shows that showcase the latest in the glitzy world of automobile development, or you will hear of classic car meets the like of Pebble Beach or Goodwood Festival of Speed, where petrolheads of the world come together to show their exotic and stupidly expensive classic cars on the Concours d’Elegence.

Well, what about the little man in the street and his everyday ride? The great mass of uncelebrated and mostly forgotten steeds that were once the pride and joy of some normal family, as they drove to the coast on a bank holiday to enjoy a picnic (often in the rain), but now are mostly forgotten and forlorn as they rust away in some scrap yard, consigned to a footnote in automotive history.

It is the sort of event where an MG or Triumph Spitfire look decidedly upmarket and out of place. In the way that only the eccentric English can truly organise an event, the Festival of the Unexceptional has had its annual outing, where the ordinary and the mundane have been celebrated, with a free-to-enter show for the ordinary “classic” car of the 60’, 70’s and 80’s. The highlight of the show is of course the Concours De l’Ordinaire, where previous winners of the much prized ‘Unexceptional’ award have gone to a Nissan Cherry, a Morris Marina pick-up, and a real crowd pleasing Hillman Avenger Super Estate (what?).

The Ford Sierra, too sexy for us Brits…
People of my age will happily remember the Strada and the Maxi or even the Ford Sierra, a car that was so strange looking at in its day that it was considered too radical for the British market. Millenials may have difficulty remembering such 60’s highlights as the Bedford Dormobile, but it was the workhorse of our day, and it is sad that you will never see them on the road any more. So, long live the Festival of the Unexceptional, but please don’t buy me a ticket for it.
Spent many a rainy bank holiday weekend in one of these……
The event is not just a chance to revel in the blandness of, well, boring cars; it is not just a chance to swap exciting stories about spring gaskets or grommet chaffing, but also a chance to dress up in period correct clothes whilst having a picnic like we all used to enjoy, and indulge in some bon comradery with complete strangers who had a similarly stupid idea as you about the seaside and picnics, and then go home once the rain set in.

Living the dream…what a pilchard!
Images: Hagerty UK; Dorian Elroy via Flickr; Dormobile Owners Club; Motoringresearch.com; The Telegraph
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