Celebrating mundane cars with their own Concours

Festival of the Unexceptional Concours d’Ordinaire celebrates ordinary cars

Published: June 21, 2019, 10:30 AM
Updated: October 11, 2021, 10:20 AM

Festival of The Unexceptional

Each year there seems to be more and more Concours d’Elegance, staged in all corners of the globe with the pomp and ceremony the cars that take the stage deserve. However, there is only one Concours d’Ordinaire, for mundane classic cars, held in England at the end of July.

Insurance and valuation specialists Hagerty will again stage its Festival of the Unexceptional Concours d’Ordinaire, an annual event for exceptionally ordinary — but now rare — classic vehicles that are, in the words of one judge, “as exciting as your fridge at home, proving the point of the event perfectly.”

“This event gives so much joy to people as it provides a great opportunity to revel in pure nostalgia,” said Hagerty Marketing Director Marcus Atkinson. “There are winners, but in our mind anyone who cherishes their unexceptional car is a hero. We love hosting the event and meeting friends new and old and chatting about their cars and tasting the picnics, it’s a truly lovely day out.”

This is the sixth staging of the event, this year welcoming 53 “outrageously ordinary” features, along with what’s expected to be 500 equally unexceptional visitor cars.

Unlike the usual 50 displays from years gone by, the 2019 event at the Claydon Estate in Buckinghamshire (about 95 km northwest of London) will see 53 Cars of Merit, out of the 125 submissions. Other unremarkable invitations were extended to commercial vehicles, motorcycles and mopeds, selections from manufacturer heritage fleets and a special anniversary class.

For celebration, the Hagerty Feast of the Unexceptional asks participants to pack a picnic lunch coinciding from the era of their vehicles, again celebrating the everyday meals like cheese and pineapple hedgehogs, sandwich spread, Battenberg and chilled bottles of Shloer. The best spread will be awarded the Feast of the Unexceptional Award for Best Picnic.

Traditional awards such as Best in Show and People’s Choice will also be handed out, as well as a Junior Judge’s Choice (voted on by those under the age of 18 — younger than the cars themselves).

The event was first held in 2004 to celebrate the ordinary, everyday cars most people grow up with but have in many cases disappeared from existence mostly due to indifference. Unlike their multi-million-dollar contemporaries, unexceptional cars still the soul on a different level — evoking memories of family interactions. Many are being restored, with the difference being that the investment in them are probably never to be recouped.

Among the list of display vehicles this year are the Yugo 45 Convertible, Morris Marina Coupe, Austin Ambassador, Chrysler Horizon, Citroen BX, Mitsubishi Colt Sigma and Renault 6.