A period of British and European motoring history – not known for its prettiest cars – was a cause for celebration.
The first ever Hagerty’s Festival of the Unexceptional was held at Whittlebury Park Golf Club on Saturday and was a chance for more ordinary cars form the 1970s and 1980s to shine.
Austin Allegros, Ford Anglias, Nissan Cherrys and Morris Marinas were among the 50 cars put on display with their owners.
Classic car insurers Hagerty, who organised the event, were joined by a panel of four judges and 150 onlookers, who brought along their own unexceptional cars.
The winner’s trophy went to Ed Rattley, from Lincolnshire, and his 1985 Silver Nissan Cherry Europe. He described his winning car as ‘a curious piece of Japanese and Italian automotive history’.
The runner-up was a 1975 ‘harvest gold’ Austin Maxi, described at the time of production as ‘the car that had it all’.
The 50 display cars were said to have an accumulative value of £500,000 – the equivalent value of just one 1973 Porsche Carrera 27RS, which was on show down the road at the Silverstone Classic.
Also on display was Princess Diana’s red Austin Metro, believed to have been a gift from Prince Charles, which made a rare public appearance outside the Transport Museum in Coventry.
Angus Forsyth, managing director of Hagerty International, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the response to this event.
“It was fantastic to see these supposedly ordinary cars, such as the Triumph Acclaims and Ford Maestros, generate such interest and I must thank all of the owners for making such an event possible.
“These cars have long been viewed as unexceptional by the general public but today’s event proves that they are anything but. On the back of this, we are confident that next year can be both bigger and better, with this year’s winners fighting to retain their coveted titles.”
Dave Richards, motoring journalist and member of the judging panel, said: “This is a fabulous event gathering together cars that were everywhere in Britain 20, 30, 40 years ago and are now some of the most unappreciated cars of the classic car world. From the Vauxhall Carlton to the Nissan Cherry, these were the cars that took us all on our holidays and took us to work.
“The owners are people who plough their life, heart and soul into cherishing these rare cars and valuing them, despite the increasing lack of availability of replacement parts in comparison to more accepted classic cars such as the Triumph Stag and Jaguar E-Type. They are keeping the rolling heritage that is part of our British identity visible for future generations which is a significant part of what this event is about.”
The judging panel included motoring journalist and author Giles Chapman, Danny Hopkins, editor of Practical Classics, Sam Skelton, writer at Classic Car Weekly and motoring journalist Dave Richards.