Regarded as one of the must-attend car events of the year, the Hagerty Festival of the 2020 event takes place on Saturday July 25th at Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire, a 1516 architectural masterpiece, showcasing a mix of Tudor and Baroque splendour.
The Festival is always laid out on the lawns of a spectacular country estate, befitting a concours event of such glorious calibre, but to the untrained eye some of the automotive exhibits may seem a little ordinary. Unexceptional is the name, but in reality, the cars are anything but…to those who know, at least.
Each year the show exhibits a number of cars that are rarer than most multi-million classics, and yet will pass well under the radar of many when driven on UK roads. Here we take a look at some of the rarest of the rare that have shadowed the lawns of Festivals past.
A long-forgotten gem is the Yugo 45 and it has been an incredible 27 years since Yugo last sold a car in the UK, or anywhere for that matter as the company went into liquidation in 1993. This FOTU show car is reported to be the only roadworthy survivor of 5 convertibles commissioned by Zastava UK, built by TopHat conversions in Blackpool and has covered just 9000 miles from new. Truly, unexceptionally wonderful.
The Toyota Crown Estate was rare in period, but today is almost extinct. A loved car from new, it sadly remained unused after the original owner died before being rescued by the current owner who purchased it from his wife. Due to a lack of parts availability, all rusted areas needed to be replaced with fresh metal before being subjected to a full respray in original Toyota 011 code “Snowy Ravine White”. Another low-mileage rarity, this FOTU exhibitor has covered 18,000 miles in its lifetime. Big, bold and rarer than an F40.
When did you last see a Colt Sigma? The current owner learned to drive In their Dad’s 1981 Sigma 1600 and had always wanted to get another. Thanks to eBay this 2000GLX was spotted in 2008 and had enjoyed single family ownership from new – having been passed from father to son to granddaughter. Fortunately, it had been Dinitrol treated which had saved the structure and the panels – but it still needed a top to bottom restoration which was completed in 2011. Since then it has been to two Colt Car Company days, has been awarded best saloon 2014 and overall best entry at their centenary event in 2017. Multi awards confirm this cars place in the Unexceptional Hall of Fame.
The car you see in the images is the last surviving Lancia Trevi automatic in the UK. The Trevi (Tre-Volumi means three volumes and has nothing to do with the fountain) is a Series 3 Lancia Beta Berlina but with a traditional boot instead of the fastback styling of the Berlinas. Famous for its Bellini designed dashboard with 24 ‘holes’ housing the instruments, switches and warning lights giving a look that resembled Swiss cheese. The current owner of this FOTU famous car is the 12th owner, showing a lack of love in the past, but we are assured it now has its forever home. The last of the last.
Finally, if the Yugo was just too basic for you, how about a Talbot Samba? Only a dozen or so Cabriolets remain in road worthy condition and this example is believed to be the lowest mileage Samba in the UK. Brought to FOTU by its current custodian, who has owned the car since December 1996, the Samba has covered just over 5,000 from new and remains very original with factory paint and body panels. A true labour of love. A rust-free, original Talbot? Need we say more…
Speaking of these rare breeds, Marcus Atkinson, Hagerty’s Managing Director said: “The classic car market often highlights expensive and coveted rare cars but not many know that rare doesn’t always mean expensive. At Hagerty we manage some of the world’s finest collections of classic cars, but we also appreciate the more mundane classics. Drive a Toyota Crown Estate and you are unlikely to see another and to keep that car on the road requires dedication. What drives that enthusiasm is passion and it’s that passion for cars which unites us. That same passion drives Hagerty to be the most in-tune, in-touch and connected insurer in the classic car market and events like Festival of the Unexceptional gives owners a chance to cherish and drive this new breed of classic”
Once again, the 2020 Hagerty’s Concours de l’Ordinaire will be free to attend and open to classic cars and light commercial vehicles from across the globe that were built between 1966 and 1996. Last year’s panel of automotive expert judges deemed a gloriously original 1977 Morris Marina Deluxe Estate as overall winner, with a 1978 Vauxhall Chevette Deluxe E saloon as notable runner up.
The Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional celebrates a generational shift towards affordable classic cars and respects the love directed to them by owners and enthusiasts. The fact the event sells out year after year emphasises the deep-rooted understanding Hagerty has of market trends and movements and highlights their passion for creating innovative and engaging events.
Owners of suitably mundane but interesting ‘unexceptional’ 1966-1996 vehicle will be able to register it for consideration at: http://www.unexceptionalcars.co.uk.
A limited number of public access tickets will be released in April. Once ‘sold out’ further tickets will be available to purchase.