HomeNews and EventsRoyal setting this year for the 'unexceptional' car show

Royal setting this year for the ‘unexceptional’ car show


The show features exception examples of such ordinary cars as a Citroen and VW Golf | Hagerty UK photos
The show features exception examples of such ordinary cars as a Citroen and VW Golf | Hagerty UK photos

While the cars might be considered ordinary at best, the setting this year is not as the third annual Hagerty’s Festival of the Unexceptional moves to the grounds of Stowe House, Buckingham, the former home of the British Duke of Buckingham.

Set amidst the reportedly splendiferous Capability Brown gardens of the Stowe House, which is located adjacent to the Silverstone racing circuit, what might be considered the concours for the rest of us celebrates “the much maligned and long forgotten ‘ordinary’ classic cars and commercial vehicles of the late 1960s, ’70s and ’80s,” according to the British arm of Hagerty, the insurance and vehicle valuation-tracking company.

The scene at the show last year
The scene at the show last year

But don’t be mistaken. The cars on the show field are pre-registered and presented in immaculate condition, as if they drove off an assembly line and into hermetically sealed enclosures, even though for the most part they are just very well-maintained and preserved daily drivers for their owners.

As the Hagerty news release put it, the event “showcases the best examples of some of the most mundane cars ever built.” So don’t expect to see any Silver Ghosts of DB5s, but do expect to see an Austin Montego and a Morris Marina.

In keeping with the spirit of the celebration of the unexceptional, the event, scheduled for July 22, also will feature the Feast of the Unexceptional, which Hagerty calls “the period picnic equivalent of the mundane automotive display. All participants are encouraged to bring out the Battenberg cake, Curly Wurly bars, cheese and pineapple on sticks and, of course, the obligatory bottle of Babychamp!”

“We are delighted to be hosting the event at Stowe House. The grounds are spectacular, and we feel the new venue will add to the enjoyment of this terrific motoring event,” Angus Forsyth, Hagerty UK managing director, said in a news release.

“In the past years, we have met to most marvelous people with exceptional ‘unexceptional’ vehicles, bettered only by the stories that lie in the background of the history of the cars. The Festival is a great opportunity to celebrate these unusual classics and to recognize their lasting impact.”

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
  1. The Matra Ranchero in the Unexceptional car story reminds me of the day I made my buddy’s jaw drop. “I bet you don’t know what that is” he said when he pointed out the (possibly unique here in New Zealand) mini-Range Rover sitting in the back corner of his shed. “That’s a Matra Ranchero” say I carrying on wandering away down the drive. I knew I was right so I hadn’t paused for confirmation. I turned after a few seconds to find Pete was still exactly where he’d been. He stammered “Nobody’s EVER got that right before”

    Everyone expects thoroughbred cars to be presented at shows in showroom condition but not everyday cars. These cars were bought (new) for a purpose and it’s nice to see them when it’s obvious they’re been looked after.

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