The 2022 Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional takes place on Saturday 30th July, providing a unique opportunity to wander around the grounds of Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire to take in some of the most marvellously mundane and underappreciated cars ever made.
Grimsthorpe Castle offers expansive grounds to enjoy with lakeside walks, formal gardens, and a children’s play area, ensuring the 2022 Festival of the Unexceptional is a great day out for all the family.
2022 will also see improved show facilities with a wide range of food and beverage outlets, more display cars, a new vehicle access point, swift and easy parking and exclusive Hagerty entertainment.
Hagerty’s annual Concours de l’Ordinaire showcases 50 classic vehicles built between 1967 and 1997 and celebrates the world of mundane motoring with a tongue-in-cheek take on the familiar concours format. Think Bluebird over Bugatti and you’ll get the idea. Festival is the only car show to celebrate a Chevette, applaud an Applause and worship a Wartburg, best of all there’s no need for blazers and chinos at this concours as dress code is smart casual with little emphasis on the smart.
As a preview to the 2022 event, the Hagerty FOTU selection committee presents 10 cars showgoers will be able to see displayed on the Grimsthorpe Castle concours lawn including a football-inspired Fiat Panda and a Moskvitch 2140.
Fiat Panda Italia
Fiat launched the special edition of the Panda in 1990 to mark Italy’s hosting of the World Cup and Fiat’s sponsorship of the tournament. The UK version of the Panda Cup was based on the 750cc Panda L, and there are thought to be just a handful left on the road. This example was registered on the day England beat Egypt, 1-0, but reportedly once England was knocked out of the tournament Fiat removed all the graphics and hubcaps and returned them to L spec.
Ford Fiesta Fanfare
The first owner of this Fiesta bought it in 1992 and took great care of it, using it day in and day out before always putting it away in the family garage. However, at the age of 87, she decided it was time to give up driving. By the time the second owner of the Fanfare took on custodianship of Ford’s special edition Fiesta, it had travelled a mere 16,500 miles.
Being a Fanfare, the five-door model has winding windows, manual locking and a 1.1-litre, carb-breathing engine, while the finishing touches were burgundy paint, rose-gold pinstripes and a boot spoiler.
Rare Mazdas have become a bit of a Festival tradition. Last year, a 1982 Mazda 929L estate found its way into the concours, and this year sees a 1971 Mazda 1800 on the lawn – a car so rare that even the most ardent fan of the unexceptional might struggle to recognise it.
This 1800 saloon was styled by Bertone and is thought to be one of only three in the UK, as well as one of the earliest surviving imported Mazdas.
Renault Mégane Scénic
The Renault Mégane Scénic was given the European Car of the Year award in 1997, yet their survival rate is distressingly low today.
Just eligible for the concours this year, the 60,000-mile example is probably about as clean, original and unmodified a Scénic as you’re likely to find. Keep an eye out for the genuine Renault teddy bear in the car…
Vauxhall Astra Merit
Vauxhalls of this era quite often get the short end of the enthusiast stick, the Ford versus Vauxhall battle often falling in the Blue Oval’s favour. Each brand had their fans, but in the ’90s, Ford quickly gained the upper hand in magazine road tests.
In Merit trim with a modest 1.4-litre engine, it’s pretty much the perfect unexceptional spec, too.
AZLK is a Soviet and now Russian car maker that started selling cars in 1930, albeit making Fords that were shipped out in component form. By 1939, a new name was called for, something a little catchier than Avtomobilny Zavod imeni Leninskogo Komsomola, and Moskvitch was born.
This humble 2140, dates to 1986, making it a late one as production started in ’76 and ended in ’88. Its yellow and brown paint is perfectly Eastern Bloc, the 1.5-litre engine drives the rear wheels, and its interior is, well, as austere as one would expect.
Leyland Princess 2200
‘A wallowy cornering gait, a super-smooth ride and the pleasing whine of its straight-six’ is how the owner of this bronze Leyland Princess 2200 describes their pride and joy.
The Princess was designed by Harris Mann, whose designs include the Allegro, Princess and TR7.
The 2200 version is rather posh for the Concours de l’Ordinaire but with only 16,000 miles on the clock, we look forward to seeing this survivor in person.
Reliant Regal 21E
This 1969 Reliant Regal will be a bit of a fan-favourite at the Festival. How could it not? It’s one of the most recognisable British classics, has a perfect image thanks to being the root of numerous jokes over the years.
It’s easy to forget that these were once relatively common, everyday transport. They’re just less widely loved – and that means the odd-wheeled Regal should fit right in to this year’s concours.
Like the Renault Scénic, the first-generation Ford Ka is another car to have recently become eligible for the concours. It too has quickly disappeared from our roads, due to being one of the most rust-prone cars of the decade.
Which makes it all the more remarkable that the one you’ll see at this year’s Festival isn’t just an early car, but built in September 1996, one from the first month of production – and apparently one of only 14 first-year cars that survive.
Hyundai Lantra GLSi
When Hyundai started selling cars in the UK critics dismissed them, but now Hyundai is considered be the equal or better of anything Ford or Volkswagen make. This 1992 Lantra – sold a decade on from Hyundai entering the UK market – will transport you back in time to when that complacency cost Europe’s car makers dear.
A three-owner example with glorious paintwork, grey velour trim and a 16-valve, 1.6-litre engine, this GLSi also boasts steel wheels and no air conditioning, perfect for the humble Festival of the Unexceptional.