2021 Festival of the Unexceptional | PH Gallery

FOTU was back with a bang over the weekend, with a record-breaking crowd and some tremendously tedious cars

By Matt Bird / Monday, August 2, 2021 / Loading comments

It should be no surprise that this year’s Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional drew a record-breaking crowd at Grimsthorpe Castle. The weekend was always a popular one pre-Covid, celebrating those cars that have succumbed to scrappage schemes or just been abandoned over the years; with people’s understandable desire to get out and about as well, FOTU ’21 was an inevitable sell-out.

As can be seen in these pictures, the festival did not disappoint. Winner of the Concours de l’Ordinaire for 2021 was Jon Coupland’s 1989 Proton 1.5 GL Black Knight. There were only ever 201, and Jon’s is believed to be the last one left, representing just a third of his Proton collection. In storage from 1993 to 2017, it’s covered just 13,000 miles; a worthy winner, we can surely all agree.

Runner-up in the concours was Danny Wilson’s 1991 Peugeot 106 XN. Bought off Facebook Marketplace for just £500, Danny’s old Pug was held up as an example of what FOTU is all about, eschewing big budget exotica for more everyday cars. Brought back to former glory by Danny, the 30-year-old 106 was notable for featuring a carburettor and a choke (!), which only the very earliest cars did.

Special mentions in the Concours judging, and therefore included in the 2021 Unexceptional Hall of Fame, went to Simon Hucknall’s Fiat 128, Chris Howell’s Triumph Toledo, Charles Whilems’ VW Polo C Formel E and James Green’s Nissan Bluebird. That really was just the start, too. See the gallery for some great Renaults, Rovers, Vauxhalls, Volvos and more.

James Mills, Hagerty’s UK Editor, said, “what stood out for me this year was the number of fantastic cars fielded by younger entrants. It’s great to see the next generation of enthusiasts showing a real passion for everyday, ordinary and unexceptional classics, and demonstrates the growing love for this accessible scene. Our Festival started out as a small, cult event but today we saw thousands of visitors make the trip to admire the unsung heroes of the classic car world.” No doubt it’ll be back in 12 months’ time with even more people along. And if the pics have you in the mood for some classic car shopping of the plainest kind, the classifieds are at hand; see this 24,000-mile Nissan Sunny (with beige velour!), or this fine Vauxhall Magnum estate. Just the cars to pack the picnic into for 2022…

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