I've said it before and I’ll say it again: the Festival of the Unexceptional is the country’s most important classic car show.
It’s a ‘concours de l’ordinaire’ for unexceptional old vehicles, put on by Hagerty classic insurance. If you go, you’ll see cars that were considered boring when they were new and have ended up largely forgotten simply because they were once as ubiquitous as sliced white bread.
Now, there’s an argument that if a car was a total shed when it was new, it’s still a total shed now, just an old one. And I agree entirely. You and I will have little desire to own most of the cars you’ll see on the FotU’s concours lawn (at the Claydon Estate, Buckinghamshire) and the show knowingly has its tongue slightly in cheek for that reason.
But I think it’s more significant than that. These cars are museum pieces for everyday life. In the year 3000, when the Victoria and Albert Museum wants to show what late second millennial life was actually like, in that unique period after the car had brought us mobility, but before the internet brought us videos of cats falling off things, it’s vehicles like FotU’s that’ll show it best.
Sure, Ferrari GTOs are lovely but your dad was more likely to have had a Hillman Hunter. AC Cobras are thrilling but you probably went to a first date in a Ford Fiesta. That’s why – historically – these cars are more valuable than any Bizzarrini.
The show isn’t until 20 July, but I mention it now because entries for the concours close at the end of this month. So if your car is one of the 50 loveliest least lovely old cars around, get an application in.
I’ve been worried about how much BMW there is in the latest Toyota Supra, the new coupé expertly tested by Andrew Frankel, whose verdict will be unerring as always.
The fact is there’s a lot of BMW in it, and quite a lot is visible. Andrew isn’t alone in finding the array of BMW switchgear odd. I thought so, too, when I spent some time in one a few months ago, even though at that point most of it was hidden behind enough carpet to stock a discount warehouse.
And there’s more. Toyota’s development might have taken its own path once various engineering and design hard points had been decided, but don’t doubt who decided most of those points. The Supra can exist only because the Z4 does. It would be nicer if you weren’t reminded of that so much. Getting into a Supra this week, I still felt the same sense of oddness as I did a few months ago.