1977 Morris Marina 1.3 wagon wins Festival of Unexceptional

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Judges consider eventual show-winning 1977 Morris Marina 1.3 Estate | Hagerty International photos

The lawns of the Claydon Estate in Buckinghamshire, England, provided an elegant setting for an array of what might be considered inelegant vehicles at the sixth annual Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional. 

Awarded deluxe de l’ordinaire (aka Best of Show honors) was a 1977 Morris Marina 1.3 Estate, one of only 15 such vehicles still running on British roads.

“Classic vehicle insurance and valuation specialists Hagerty International created the first Festival of the Unexceptional in 2014 to highlight the attrition rate of some of the most popular and best-loved vehicles of our recent motoring past,” the company said in announcing results of the recent 2019 edition.

Since then, it continued, the event has become a focal point “for the core enthusiasts who take real pride in their rare and long-forgotten everyday family cars of the 1968-1989 ‘Unexceptional Era’.”

Only 15 of these 1977 Morris Marina wagons remain on British roads

Fifty cars were selected for official judging, but more than 500 deemed unexceptional were displayed in a secondary show by their owners, and many were “rare and unique… and ready to be enjoyed by show-goers, and included a range of cars, commercials, campers and motorcycles,” according to the British branch of Hagerty.

Official awards presented at the show included:

  • Deluxe de l’ordinaire runner-up:  1978 Vauxhall Chevette E saloon (sedan).
  • Anniversary Class winner: 1982 Vauxhall Astra 1300 GL.
  • Junior Judges Award: 1989 Citroen BX19 DTR, complete with a Taxi sign.
  • People’s Choice Award: 1982 Peugeot 305 SR Estate.
  • Feast of the Unexceptional/Best Picnic display: Mike and Judith Burkett and their 1979 Colt Sigma GLX.
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The scene in the car park where owners displayed 500 beloved but otherwise unexceptional vehicles
One of the car park cuties

“What a delight it is to present cars that evoke so many memories to so many people, and to reward the enthusiasts who spend precious time and money on keeping the more ordinary classics on the road,” Marcus Atkinson of Hagerty International is quoted in the company’s news release.

“As you walk around the lawns you overhear guests saying, ‘my Dad had one of those’ or ‘we went on our Summer holiday in that’ and that’s why we do what we do. Great cars and great memories, a meeting of like-minded people who appreciate that unexceptional is a term of endearment and not derogatory.

“Hagerty created FOTU six years ago and we now have a sell-out event that attracts guests from around the world. While we have admiration and passion for all classic car owners and events, FOTU is truly special… more family gathering than sterile show, it brings people together. 

50 vehicles are selected for judging, and special parking spots

“We have no rules, no boundaries and light-hearted judging which makes everyone smile and enjoy the event. Car concours don’t have to be stuffy and boring.”

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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.

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