Blimey, little bit of a title that, isn’t it? It’s for good cause although. As a result of I by no means anticipated to rock as much as a traditional automotive occasion in an outdated BMW, solely to be redirected into the final parking space as a result of my 728i was ‘too govt’ to formally participate.
However that’s the way in which the cookie crumbles while you don’t learn up on the foundations of the land. Right here at Speedhunters we’re used to automotive extra, motoring peaks and the highs that include all of that. However at the Pageant of the Unexceptional (FOTU), the next applies: “We want Ls to SRis, Populars to Cosworths, and Renaults to Rolls-Royces.”
So, with my trusty BMW tucked away within the nook of the final automotive park, I grabbed my digital camera gear and did the stroll of disgrace again into the present area to see what I might discover at Hagerty’s very personal celebration of ‘the little man’.
Celebrating the little man isn’t a typical factor at automotive exhibits within the UK. It’s all the time the automobiles which might be objectively thought-about nearly as good, fascinating or necessary which might be placed on a pedestal and paraded about. Except for this occasion, the one different events I can consider the place the much less fascinating stuff is celebrated are small house owners membership gatherings the place make and model-specific fanatics get collectively.
I beloved the FOTU, however I knew I might earlier than I even went. You may’t reside life in a consolation bubble of predictability although, as an excessive amount of of this removes creativity and inspiration out of your day-to-day life. We want ambiguity, as a result of it forces the decision-making course of that naturally encourages our artistic sides.
After attending quite a lot of posh automotive occasions this summer time, I realised I’d been neglecting my obscure automotive pastime. Being no stranger to mildly fascinating automobiles, I discovered myself searching movies on YouTube of varied automotive junk. Issues alongside the strains of “Historical past of the Mk1 Ford KA.” As that video completed, a really useful video popped up from final 12 months’s Pageant of the Unexceptional.
The gent on the video spent half-hour strolling round a choice of automobiles you’d by no means even see take centre stage in a interval drama TV present, not to mention at a conventional automotive present. This was all of the persuading I wanted to attend this occasion myself.
Earlier than I knew it, the 2022 FOTU crept up on my calendar, and after a very stunning drive by way of the vastly huge lawns of Grimsthorpe Fort, I arrived on the venue.
The Pageant of the Unexceptional ticket web site wasn’t mendacity; an E30 318is is about as established of a motor as you bought at this occasion. This doesn’t scare me, however I used to be a contact out of my depth right here. The purpose could be to soak up some new motoring views and concepts, and be taught one thing I didn’t know already. And there was so much to be taught!
However, I fell on the first hurdle, failing to withstand the urge and immediately shuffling my approach over to one thing I already learn about. Ah, sure, the Peugeot 205. I’ve seen a great deal of these on the web earlier than. I’ve watched many, many movies on YouTube about these…
Roland Garros particular version trim? Like Wimbledon, however fittingly French, for a French automotive? A cultured color, posh leather-based inside and horny further badging to inform you other than the opposite peasant 205s. Excellent, I do know all about Wimbledon, I’ve watched it o TV.
That is what the FOTU is all about. I accomplished FOTU earlier than I even walked about, proper?… Proper?
Mistaken. While superb and area of interest, the Roland Garros 205 doesn’t fairly absolutely cowl what this pageant is about. It’s a fascinating automotive and the spec was by no means actually abnormal to start with. To really perceive what this present is all about, we have to look again in time.
Final 12 months’s FOTU outright winner was a 1989 Proton 1.5 GL Black Knight owned by Jon Coupland. The automotive has a smidge over 13,000 miles on the clock and is in precise showroom situation. There’s faculty dinner plates on the market which have seen extra mileage than this Proton. When new, these had been peak commuter automobiles.
That’s good, but additionally dangerous. Good as a result of at one level they had been available, inexpensive and maintainable for the every-man. They had been a instrument, getting folks across the nation. The dangerous bit is that point isn’t all the time variety to instruments, and as soon as a greater instrument is offered the outdated instrument will get thrown away and forgotten about. The oh-so vicious cycle of consumerism isn’t variety to instruments.
So here’s what makes the Pageant of the Unexceptional so particular. It’s a gathering of people that love these automobiles as a result of they share an curiosity in them that runs deeper than simply being dependable commuters. They’re appreciated for his or her time and place and historical past, not simply their means to go quick or get likes on the web.
It takes a particular sort of automotive fanatic to maintain these automobiles going and searching good. Persons are on the forefront of the FOTU, rather more so than at some other automotive occasion I’ve been to truly. Hagerty are very nicely conscious of this, and arrange the award ceremony to focus on the very fact. We’re all used to ‘Finest Inside’ and ‘Finest Wheels’ accolades, however on the Pageant of the Unexceptional there are prizes for ‘Most Distinctive Picnic’ and ‘Most Exceptionally Dressed’.
The latter duly went to Mateusz Strzyzewski, who did a 3,000 mile spherical journey to Grimstorpe from Warsaw in Poland. In a 1991 Hyundai Pony 1.5 – a classy maniac with prime pace dedication of 90mph. The automotive in fact did it with no issues, and was offered in the primary concours paddock in entrance of the fortress.
The battle for the Most Distinctive Picnic was a decent one, with a variety of contenders. Deck chairs and selfmade sandwiches had been out in full power, and the extra critical opponents even introduced alongside electrical hobs.
A automotive that grabbed my consideration was John Corbett’s 1990 Fiat Panda Italia. In 1990, the soccer World Cup was hosted in Italy and sponsored by Fiat, who kicked off the event with a restricted version Italia trim Panda. The trim features a complete host of World Cup references, together with these manufacturing unit wheel trims.
The mascot you may see on the seats above and the bodywork under was utilized by Italy for the World Cup. Named Ciao, it’s since been voted the very best World Cup mascot of all time.
This particular automotive was really registered on the day England beat Egypt, 1-0. Hearsay has it, when England had been eradicated out of the World Cup, all remaining white Pandas had been stripped of their Italia trim and offered on as customary, white Panda Ls.
John loves this factor, and was eager to point out me all of the uncommon and worthwhile official Fiat merchandise he’s collected over time from the ’90 World Cup, together with the keyring on his rear-view mirror and the large Italia ’90 flag he’s sporting within the photographs.
Honourable point out of my private favorite automotive goes to Ian Black and his pretty spouse, who had been eager to speak all about their Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Ian has owned this automotive since new, again in 1984. Once I requested him why he selected this over extra boring modern rivals, he stated, “Oh, we personal these too.” His spouse drives an E30 convertible.
Fashionable folks with a real ardour for automobiles.
Everybody on the FOTU was eager to speak to me, and everybody was clearly extremely enthusiastic about their automobiles. I feel everybody on the occasion might additionally relate to those automobiles on a private degree, one thing you don’t all the time get with the extra prestigious automotive occasions. In spite of everything, did any of you’ve got a science instructor who drove a 993 Targa? No, they drove a Montego. Vehicles ought to ought to get you considering, and if which means pushing you out of your consolation zones, let or not it’s so.
With out the chatty folks it could be simple to overdose on the quantity of yesteryear’s commuter motoring on present. The Pageant of the Unexceptional goes to point out that even while you go to a area stuffed with abnormal automobiles, the folks stay removed from unexceptional.