Festival of the Unexceptional

Contrary to what you may read in today’s press, the UK’s greatest festival of motoring held in the grounds of an old country house doesn’t start for another three weeks. Roll on July 22nd, and the Festival of the Unexceptional at Stowe House in Buckinghamshire.

Keep your manufacturer-sponsored traffic jams and exhibition runs up the garden path for friends of his lordship. Instead, cue the oddball and unloved motors of our youth: the stuff that sensible people scrapped when the repair bills at MOT time topped £100 and were therefore more than the cars were worth, all those years ago.

Festival of the Unexceptional

First held in 2014, the Festival of the Unexceptional is a grand day out for fans of the ordinary. Witness a Light Blue 1.6-litre Honda Quintet and wonder how you ever forgot they existed. Spy a Pale Green 1.3-litre Ford Escort and remember how the neighbours took you and your sister to see Snow White at the cinema in an identical model (No? Just me, then).

Previous winners of the Concours de l’Ordinaire a competition of fifty of the best examples of unexceptional cars built between 1966 and 1989 – include a Nissan Cherry Europe, a Morris Marina pick-up truck, and a Hillman Avenger Super Estate, all of which get my vote for working class motoring eye candy. I am very excited to see what turns up this year.

Will we find Porsches at the 2017 Festival of the Unexceptional? By rights, yes, we certainly should. Stuttgart made its fair share of unexceptional vehicles to 1990 (the show’s cut-off point) and I have driven a healthy proportion of all those produced. But this could be classed as treasonable talk nowadays, especially in front of potential ‘investors’.

Unexceptional Porsche – Judge’s Choice

My wet-dream Porsche for top honours at Stowe would be the pic at the top: a nice early RHD 924 Lux in Yellow with the basic alloys and a straight, simple spec. A natty little car in anyone’s book but unexceptional in the great scheme of things. However, now that 924s are changing hands for silly money, some 924 folk have sought to rewrite their steeds’ proletarian roots. Perish the thought of putting pop-up Porsche lights to an unexceptional grindstone for these proud PCGB’ers.

I have no such aversions and would happily run any Porsche of mine to this festival long before I ever considered taking one to the Festival of Greed. Mrs G and I have discussed getting the 924 Turbo over to the Stowe car park for a day on the lawns. I’m sure it will make for a grand day out if I can get the water pump back on, timing belt replaced and all the fuel injection shoved back into place in the few days I have free between now and then.

Who needs UK reg plates when it’s back roads to Stowe all the way from here? Famous last words – don’t you just love them…

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