Video: Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional

In the summer months in the UK you’re not exactly starved of automotive events and shows, but the one we always look forward to is the oddest of them all.

Hagerty’s Festival of the Unexceptional has been held since 2014, becoming an annual event on the borders of our region, at Grimsthorpe Castle near Bourne, Lincolnshire. It celebrates cars that would otherwise go entirely un-noticed.

Perhaps a little unfairly, the event describes itself as hosting “the most bland, banal and boring cars” ever made. It is, in its own words, “an extraordinary celebration of the ordinary”.

The stars of the show are cars that may have barely registered — in all possible meanings — when they were brand new. Vehicles eligible for the “concours de l’ordinaire” range from 25 to 55 years old and must be interesting only in that they are uninteresting.

That could be something that was exceptionally popular but disposable, or cars that have been the butt of many a joke or playground taunt; either way, they’re the survivors of their type (and of scrappage schemes). If you’re looking for vintage machinery or performance cars, FOTU isn’t it.

It’s not just the cars in the show either, as many attendees get into the spirit of things and bring their own uninteresting cars to the event. While buying a car just for the show is frowned upon, there’s often a flurry of activity on ebay for appropriate car park material.

Members of the NGMW, many of whom will have owned or grown-up in these vehicles, regularly attend the event. As you’ll notice from the image above our former chairman Andy Harris made good on his 2022 promise to take something a bit more modern and reliable…

Our YouTube channel managers, Annabelle and Ben Quirk, also took a trip down this year — their first time at FOTU — and came away impressed with the show’s “happy vibe”. You can find their video below, and there’s more on their own YouTube channel too.

Annabelle’s advice is “if you have a fondness for Ford Sierras, FSO Polonez, Alfa 145, Rover SD1, etc., then book next year’s ticket as soon as you can, as it will be a sell-out (as in previous years). It will be worth it, I promise!”