Mass-produced vintage cars celebrated at Festival of the Unexceptional

This Hillman minx car will be on display at the Festival of the Unexceptional near Silverstone next month
This Hillman minx car will be on display at the Festival of the Unexceptional near Silverstone next month

Mass-produced cars from the 1970s and 80s will be celebrated at the Festival of the Unexceptional.

Now in its second year, the event allows motoring fans to travel back to a time when oversized front seats, rock hard headrests and rickety plastic dashboards would be considered the norm.

This rare Rover police car will be on display at the Festival of the Unexceptional near the Silverstone circuit next month

This rare Rover police car will be on display at the Festival of the Unexceptional near the Silverstone circuit next month

The classic car festival, which takes place at Whittlebury Park, near the Silverstone racing circuit, on July 25 is being headlined by a Rover SDI police car, a rare classic made famous by cop shows Ashes to Ashes and Life on Mars.

Other vintage vehicles on display include a Hillman Minx from Call The Midwife, an award-winning Citroen Dyane, a completely original 1963 Ford Cortina and The Vauxhall Cavalier that featured on BBC TV series James May’s Cars of the People.

Angus Forsyth, managing director of insurers Hagerty, which is behind the event, said: “The festival is a great opportunity to remember the seldom celebrated cars that were once so common.

“Don’t let their boxy appearances fool you ­- some of these mass-produced motors are now rarer than the supercars of the time.

“Indeed, there are more Lamborghini Diablos on the road than Hillman Hunters.”

Some entrants have travelled from Holland just to attend the display of motoring nostalgia.

Former director-general of the British Security Service Jonathan Evans, Baron Evans of Weardale is the special guest of honour at the event, which runs from 10am-3pm and is free to attend.

Other experts on the panel include author and classic car guru Giles Chapman, editor of Practical Classics Danny Hopkins, former news editor of Classic Car Weekly Sam Skelton, organiser of The Pride of Longbridge Tanya Field and motoring blogger and writer for Classic Car Buyer Jon Burgess.

Giles Chapman said: “Cars are like people – just because they have failings doesn’t mean we don’t love them.

“What’s so special about the Festival of the Unexceptional is that everyday models from the past are brought together in a wonderful environment of forgiveness.

“We have a unique chance to get up-close to once commonplace cars, many of which have almost totally disappeared, and remember how happy we were with relatively little sophistication.

“It’s a chance to look at such long vanished features as the choke, manual window winders and cassette players.

“There’s no car event like it anywhere that’s so evocative of ordinary motoring of the past.”