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Festival of the Unexceptional is a mass meeting of mediocre motors – do you remember any of these unremarkable cars?

The Festival of the Unexceptional is the antithesis of what you think of when someone tells you they’re going to a car meet.

Rather than congregating at a McDonalds car park, this one takes place at a castle in Lincolnshire that dates back to the 13th century. 

And the vehicles aren’t souped-up boy racer favourites with loud exhausts and more wings than a Heathrow runway. Instead, they are mundane – often long forgotten – models from yesteryear that were once a mainstay of Britain’s roads but are survived in tiny numbers today by enthusiast owners.

The event, hosted by insurer Hagerty, is specifically for everyday family cars from 1968 to 1998 – a generation now fondly referred to as the ‘Unexceptional Era’.

Feast your eyes on some of the 1,200 unremarkable motors that descended on the grounds of Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire at the weekend, including the overall show winner – a 32-year-old Daihatsu!

The weekend saw the return of one of the summer's biggest car events for petrolheads. While most motor shows have glitz and glamour, Festival of the Unexceptional is a celebration of all things mundane with four wheels The weekend saw the return of one of the summer's biggest car events for petrolheads. While most motor shows have glitz and glamour, Festival of the Unexceptional is a celebration of all things mundane with four wheels

The weekend saw the return of one of the summer’s biggest car events for petrolheads. While most motor shows have glitz and glamour, Festival of the Unexceptional is a celebration of all things mundane with four wheels

The annual event is now in its ninth year. Saturday's celebrations were a sell-out event at Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire. Pictured: the owner of this wonderfully beige 1988 Rover 213 The annual event is now in its ninth year. Saturday's celebrations were a sell-out event at Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire. Pictured: the owner of this wonderfully beige 1988 Rover 213

The annual event is now in its ninth year. Saturday’s celebrations were a sell-out event at Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire. Pictured: the owner of this wonderfully beige 1988 Rover 213

The sell-out event saw 3,000 guests attend Saturday’s gathering of unexciting motors for the ninth inaugural Festival of the Unexceptional.

Headlining the event each year is the Concours – a pre-selected entry of 50 of the best motors that go head-to-head for the overall crown as champion.

This year’s competition saw a variety of staggeringly well-maintained unlikely classics, including a 5,000-mile Vauxhall Cavalier and the only surviving Yugo Sana in the UK. 

FOTU is a motor show dedicated to owners of long-forgotten cars that were once common sights on Britain's roads but are now mostly extinct, or close to being. Cars that star here include this green 1992 VW Polo FOTU is a motor show dedicated to owners of long-forgotten cars that were once common sights on Britain's roads but are now mostly extinct, or close to being. Cars that star here include this green 1992 VW Polo

FOTU is a motor show dedicated to owners of long-forgotten cars that were once common sights on Britain’s roads but are now mostly extinct, or close to being. Cars that star here include this green 1992 VW Polo

The Festival of the Unexceptional is likely to be the only motoring event you attend where crowds swoon over a G-reg Vauxhall Nova The Festival of the Unexceptional is likely to be the only motoring event you attend where crowds swoon over a G-reg Vauxhall Nova

The Festival of the Unexceptional is likely to be the only motoring event you attend where crowds swoon over a G-reg Vauxhall Nova

The celebration attracts an eclectic mix of motor vehicles. In this case, a 2005 diesel Volvo S80 parked alongside a 1977 Ford Cortina pick-up The celebration attracts an eclectic mix of motor vehicles. In this case, a 2005 diesel Volvo S80 parked alongside a 1977 Ford Cortina pick-up

The celebration attracts an eclectic mix of motor vehicles. In this case, a 2005 diesel Volvo S80 parked alongside a 1977 Ford Cortina pick-up

The event gives enthusiasts the chance to meet other petrolheads who have spent thousands keeping unremarkable cars on the road. Pictured: One of the last Rover Maestros parked alongside a 1985 Volvo 240 The event gives enthusiasts the chance to meet other petrolheads who have spent thousands keeping unremarkable cars on the road. Pictured: One of the last Rover Maestros parked alongside a 1985 Volvo 240

The event gives enthusiasts the chance to meet other petrolheads who have spent thousands keeping unremarkable cars on the road. Pictured: One of the last Rover Maestros parked alongside a 1985 Volvo 240

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There aren't many motor events where a 1996 Renault Laguna is duking it out for the top honour in a concours competition There aren't many motor events where a 1996 Renault Laguna is duking it out for the top honour in a concours competition

There aren’t many motor events where a 1996 Renault Laguna is duking it out for the top honour in a concours competition

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Hugo Naaijkens from the Netherlands took third place in the Concours with his 1993 Subaru Justy. 

Hugo, an avid Subaru WRC fan, only recently passed his driving test but has already vowed never to sell his beloved car.

Sion Hudson and his 1983 Austin Metro took second place. 

Sion has spent two years finding the original parts needed to return the car to its showroom specification after he discovered the previous owner had fitted some upgrades. 

Work included removing the radio, passenger door mirror and even the indicator side repeaters to give a showroom standard look.

The show saw 1,200 cars and 3,000 people descend on the Lincolnshire countryside in a whole range of different vehicles, past and present The show saw 1,200 cars and 3,000 people descend on the Lincolnshire countryside in a whole range of different vehicles, past and present

The show saw 1,200 cars and 3,000 people descend on the Lincolnshire countryside in a whole range of different vehicles, past and present

This 1984 Suzuki Alto was among the 50 cars in the concours competition, which was judged on the lawns in front of Grimsthorpe Castle, which dates back to the 13th century This 1984 Suzuki Alto was among the 50 cars in the concours competition, which was judged on the lawns in front of Grimsthorpe Castle, which dates back to the 13th century

This 1984 Suzuki Alto was among the 50 cars in the concours competition, which was judged on the lawns in front of Grimsthorpe Castle, which dates back to the 13th century

A 1997 Citroen AX makes its way through the procession of parked-up mediocre cars A 1997 Citroen AX makes its way through the procession of parked-up mediocre cars

A 1997 Citroen AX makes its way through the procession of parked-up mediocre cars

Owners who didn't qualify for the top 50 concours event still proudly showed off their motors, including a Rover 75, a 1984 BMW 316 and a trio of Vauxhalls - a Tigra (silver), Nova (maroon) and Cavalier (red) Owners who didn't qualify for the top 50 concours event still proudly showed off their motors, including a Rover 75, a 1984 BMW 316 and a trio of Vauxhalls - a Tigra (silver), Nova (maroon) and Cavalier (red)

Owners who didn’t qualify for the top 50 concours event still proudly showed off their motors, including a Rover 75, a 1984 BMW 316 and a trio of Vauxhalls – a Tigra (silver), Nova (maroon) and Cavalier (red)

But it was Stephen Pike – who drove his four-wheeled entry 900 miles from Sweden to display his car – who won the gong on Saturday.

His beloved 1991 Daihatsu Applause received an ovation of its own as the owner was handed the Concours d’Ordinaire trophy.

The four-door saloon had only just completed an extensive renovation the day before he undertook the arduous trek through Europe and across the Channel to attend the Lincolnshire event.

FOTU isn't just for Britons - it's a European affair. Hugo Naaijkens from the Netherlands took third place in the Concours with his 1993 Subaru Justy FOTU isn't just for Britons - it's a European affair. Hugo Naaijkens from the Netherlands took third place in the Concours with his 1993 Subaru Justy

FOTU isn’t just for Britons – it’s a European affair. Hugo Naaijkens from the Netherlands took third place in the Concours with his 1993 Subaru Justy

Sion Hudson and his 1983 Austin Metro took second place. Sion has spent two years finding the original parts needed to return the car to its showroom specification after he discovered the previous owner had fitted some upgrades Sion Hudson and his 1983 Austin Metro took second place. Sion has spent two years finding the original parts needed to return the car to its showroom specification after he discovered the previous owner had fitted some upgrades

Sion Hudson and his 1983 Austin Metro took second place. Sion has spent two years finding the original parts needed to return the car to its showroom specification after he discovered the previous owner had fitted some upgrades

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Stephen Pike took the top honour with his beloved 1991 Daihatsu Applause receiving an ovation of its own when he was handed the Concours d'Ordinaire trophy Stephen Pike took the top honour with his beloved 1991 Daihatsu Applause receiving an ovation of its own when he was handed the Concours d'Ordinaire trophy

Stephen Pike took the top honour with his beloved 1991 Daihatsu Applause receiving an ovation of its own when he was handed the Concours d’Ordinaire trophy

Incredibly, Stephen the Daihatsu 900 miles from Sweden to display his car at FOTU. The four-door saloon had only just completed an extensive renovation the day before he undertook the arduous trek across Europe Incredibly, Stephen the Daihatsu 900 miles from Sweden to display his car at FOTU. The four-door saloon had only just completed an extensive renovation the day before he undertook the arduous trek across Europe

Incredibly, Stephen the Daihatsu 900 miles from Sweden to display his car at FOTU. The four-door saloon had only just completed an extensive renovation the day before he undertook the arduous trek across Europe

‘I love unusual cars, the Applause was unloved, and I was on a mission to save it,’ Stephen said. 

‘Hopefully, it’s going to be around for a few more years now.

‘I’m speechless. I’d read about FOTU online and seen pictures, but when I arrived and saw the other vehicles, I thought some were in much better condition.’

The event, hosted by insurer Hagerty, is specifically for everyday family cars from 1968 to 1998 - a generation now fondly referred to as the 'Unexceptional Era' The event, hosted by insurer Hagerty, is specifically for everyday family cars from 1968 to 1998 - a generation now fondly referred to as the 'Unexceptional Era'

The event, hosted by insurer Hagerty, is specifically for everyday family cars from 1968 to 1998 – a generation now fondly referred to as the ‘Unexceptional Era’

The event is hosted in the grounds of Grimsthorpe Castle. Pictured: The thousands of cars and visitors who attended the show on Saturday 29 July The event is hosted in the grounds of Grimsthorpe Castle. Pictured: The thousands of cars and visitors who attended the show on Saturday 29 July

The event is hosted in the grounds of Grimsthorpe Castle. Pictured: The thousands of cars and visitors who attended the show on Saturday 29 July

FOTU is now in its ninth year and is one of the most eagerly-anticipated summer event for petrolheads. This year's show sold out weeks in advance FOTU is now in its ninth year and is one of the most eagerly-anticipated summer event for petrolheads. This year's show sold out weeks in advance

FOTU is now in its ninth year and is one of the most eagerly-anticipated summer event for petrolheads. This year’s show sold out weeks in advance

A Renault Vel Satis parked behind a Fiat Seicento - these are the sights you can only expect when visiting FOTU A Renault Vel Satis parked behind a Fiat Seicento - these are the sights you can only expect when visiting FOTU

A Renault Vel Satis parked behind a Fiat Seicento – these are the sights you can only expect when visiting FOTU

While the Concours lawn presented one of the event’s most diverse array of mediocre motors, the main spectator car parks boasted an equally impressive selection of lesser spotted rarities.

Among them was a Moskvitch Aleko, a trio of Toyota Tercel 4x4s along with hundreds of other forgotten heroes and rarely seen treasures.

A pair of 1970s Bond Bugs parked together as the owners of these extremely-rare two-seat three-wheelers catch up in the sun A pair of 1970s Bond Bugs parked together as the owners of these extremely-rare two-seat three-wheelers catch up in the sun

A pair of 1970s Bond Bugs parked together as the owners of these extremely-rare two-seat three-wheelers catch up in the sun

The event allows people to show off cars that have - inexplicably - been imported from overseas, such as this first-generation Renault Twingo, which was never sold in the UK in right-hand-drive The event allows people to show off cars that have - inexplicably - been imported from overseas, such as this first-generation Renault Twingo, which was never sold in the UK in right-hand-drive

The event allows people to show off cars that have – inexplicably – been imported from overseas, such as this first-generation Renault Twingo, which was never sold in the UK in right-hand-drive

The car park likely had a vehicle show attendees have owned in their past, such as this beautifully-maintained Fiat Uno The car park likely had a vehicle show attendees have owned in their past, such as this beautifully-maintained Fiat Uno

The car park likely had a vehicle show attendees have owned in their past, such as this beautifully-maintained Fiat Uno

Even cars like the Vauxhall Frontera are appreciated at the Festival of the Unexceptional Even cars like the Vauxhall Frontera are appreciated at the Festival of the Unexceptional

Even cars like the Vauxhall Frontera are appreciated at the Festival of the Unexceptional

An owner enjoys a picnic in the sun as they overlook their 1987 Citroen 2CV An owner enjoys a picnic in the sun as they overlook their 1987 Citroen 2CV

An owner enjoys a picnic in the sun as they overlook their 1987 Citroen 2CV

Peugeot's 205 is celebrating its 40th birthday this year, meaning the earliest examples are now qualifying for MOT and VED exemption Peugeot's 205 is celebrating its 40th birthday this year, meaning the earliest examples are now qualifying for MOT and VED exemption

Peugeot’s 205 is celebrating its 40th birthday this year, meaning the earliest examples are now qualifying for MOT and VED exemption 

READ MORE: The unlikely cars becoming CLASSICS in 2023: Ford Orion, Austin Maestro and Vauxhall Nova among ten that turn 40 this year and earn ‘historical vehicle’ status – but will they go up in value? 

Unlikely classics of 2023: We've listed 10 motors that turn 40 this year and therefore begin to qualify for 'historical vehicle' benefits, such as VED and MOT test exemption - including the Austin Maestro, Ford Orion and Vauxhall Nova. But does this automatically make them 'classic' cars? Unlikely classics of 2023: We've listed 10 motors that turn 40 this year and therefore begin to qualify for 'historical vehicle' benefits, such as VED and MOT test exemption - including the Austin Maestro, Ford Orion and Vauxhall Nova. But does this automatically make them 'classic' cars?

Unlikely classics of 2023: We’ve listed 10 motors that turn 40 this year and therefore begin to qualify for ‘historical vehicle’ benefits, such as VED and MOT test exemption – including the Austin Maestro, Ford Orion and Vauxhall Nova. But does this automatically make them ‘classic’ cars?

In addition, many owners displayed period accessories such as original dealer signage and model specific brochures to ensure their cars stood out to the judges.

Next year will be the tenth anniversary of FOTU and the event is already gearing up to be bigger and better than ever.

Pictured: The 50 entries to the Concours d'Ordinaire show piece, which is the highlight of the annual event and has become fiercely competitive Pictured: The 50 entries to the Concours d'Ordinaire show piece, which is the highlight of the annual event and has become fiercely competitive

Pictured: The 50 entries to the Concours d’Ordinaire show piece, which is the highlight of the annual event and has become fiercely competitive

A 1995 Nissan Sunny retained in largely original competition will surely bring back memories for many readers A 1995 Nissan Sunny retained in largely original competition will surely bring back memories for many readers

A 1995 Nissan Sunny retained in largely original competition will surely bring back memories for many readers

Nothing says mundane motoring like an MG Metro. This beautiful red example looks to be in stunning condition despite being 34 years old Nothing says mundane motoring like an MG Metro. This beautiful red example looks to be in stunning condition despite being 34 years old

Nothing says mundane motoring like an MG Metro. This beautiful red example looks to be in stunning condition despite being 34 years old

The owner of this 1980 Ford Cortina looks to find a parking space among the mass of unremarkable cars parked up in the Lincolnshire countryside The owner of this 1980 Ford Cortina looks to find a parking space among the mass of unremarkable cars parked up in the Lincolnshire countryside

The owner of this 1980 Ford Cortina looks to find a parking space among the mass of unremarkable cars parked up in the Lincolnshire countryside 

While the event is a showcase of almost-extinct cars that were once hugely popular, it also throws up a few surprise sights that were less common back in the day - and super rare now. Such as this 1988 Alfa Romeo Sprint While the event is a showcase of almost-extinct cars that were once hugely popular, it also throws up a few surprise sights that were less common back in the day - and super rare now. Such as this 1988 Alfa Romeo Sprint

While the event is a showcase of almost-extinct cars that were once hugely popular, it also throws up a few surprise sights that were less common back in the day – and super rare now. Such as this 1988 Alfa Romeo Sprint

A Nissan Micra challenging for a concours trophy? This could only happen at the Festival of the Unexceptional A Nissan Micra challenging for a concours trophy? This could only happen at the Festival of the Unexceptional

A Nissan Micra challenging for a concours trophy? This could only happen at the Festival of the Unexceptional 

A showgoer snaps a photo of a Fiat Punto Cabriolet passing on entry to the Grimsthorpe Castle grounds on Saturday A showgoer snaps a photo of a Fiat Punto Cabriolet passing on entry to the Grimsthorpe Castle grounds on Saturday

A showgoer snaps a photo of a Fiat Punto Cabriolet passing on entry to the Grimsthorpe Castle grounds on Saturday

A group of Mk1 Ford Focuses arrive at the event en masse. FOTU is a change for like-minded petrolheads to meet and chat about their relatively dull cars A group of Mk1 Ford Focuses arrive at the event en masse. FOTU is a change for like-minded petrolheads to meet and chat about their relatively dull cars

A group of Mk1 Ford Focuses arrive at the event en masse. FOTU is a change for like-minded petrolheads to meet and chat about their relatively dull cars

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Mark Roper, managing director of Hagerty International, said: ‘This was, without doubt, the biggest and best Festival of the Unexceptional ever. 

‘After weeks of rain the sun shone, the crowds gathered, and we had an incredible day. 

‘What impressed me the most was the amount of young owners bringing their cars along, suggesting Unexceptional-era cars are the next big thing in young driver car culture. 

‘We will be back next year to celebrate 10-years of Unexceptional cars with a truly exceptional event.’

A 1994 Proton GE is followed into the show by a Rover 25. While these cars would commonly be overlooked today, there are petrolheads who still really appreciate them A 1994 Proton GE is followed into the show by a Rover 25. While these cars would commonly be overlooked today, there are petrolheads who still really appreciate them

A 1994 Proton GE is followed into the show by a Rover 25. While these cars would commonly be overlooked today, there are petrolheads who still really appreciate them

This Renault 16 looks out over the 50 Concours cars. Its registration plate is likely worth a substantial amount of money on its own This Renault 16 looks out over the 50 Concours cars. Its registration plate is likely worth a substantial amount of money on its own

This Renault 16 looks out over the 50 Concours cars. Its registration plate is likely worth a substantial amount of money on its own

A 1988 Lexus Soarer is flanked by a 1994 Citroen AX and a 2000 BMW 525i. All three look to have been retained in beautiful condition A 1988 Lexus Soarer is flanked by a 1994 Citroen AX and a 2000 BMW 525i. All three look to have been retained in beautiful condition

A 1988 Lexus Soarer is flanked by a 1994 Citroen AX and a 2000 BMW 525i. All three look to have been retained in beautiful condition

A 1989 Rover 216i enters the show. There's believed to be less than 30 of these cars still registered on the road in Britain today A 1989 Rover 216i enters the show. There's believed to be less than 30 of these cars still registered on the road in Britain today

A 1989 Rover 216i enters the show. There’s believed to be less than 30 of these cars still registered on the road in Britain today

Some of the cars cherished by owners will come as a big surprise, such as this lovely 200 Renault Clio that looks to be totally original condition Some of the cars cherished by owners will come as a big surprise, such as this lovely 200 Renault Clio that looks to be totally original condition

Some of the cars cherished by owners will come as a big surprise, such as this lovely 200 Renault Clio that looks to be totally original condition

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