Though perhaps unexceptional in terms of design and technology, there was nothing ordinary about the incredible condition of Mark Ashbridge’s 1983 Datsun Sunny 1.5GL, which was crowned champion of this year’s Festival of the Unexceptional at Stowe House.
More than 2000 visitors poured into the grounds of the Buckinghamshire estate, taking a trip down memory lane courtesy of the fourth running of the Hagerty-backed Concours d’Ordinaire. More than 50 specially selected models took to the show field including a 1982 Austin Metro in Champagne Beige, a 1980 Austin Maxi and a 1972 Renault 12 TL, but the top award was ultimately won by the stunning Sunny.
The car is one of the last Datsun-badged Sunnys, and was described by its owner as a ‘pleasant conveyance’. Could this be the first time a Datsun Sunny has won anything?
Second prize went to the 1972 DAF 33 of Richard Holness, while Colin Corke’s 1972 Austin Allegro 1750 SS scooped was the People’s Choice. There were also awards for best dressed, won by Simon Martin’s Volvo 740GL, and Best Picnic, which went to John Usher and his Austin Maestro Special.
In addition to the unexceptional show field, more than 200 uninspiring rarities could be found in the public car park, including a Fiat 132, a Bedford CF van, a Talbot Avenger, a Lada Riva and an Austin Ambassador.
“Our Festival of the Unexceptional celebrates the cars that were the workhorses of their day: the base model saloons, hatchbacks and estates that were sold in their millions between roughly 1968 and 1989, and are now so rare,” said Angus Forsythe, Managing Director of Hagerty International. “I just love overhearing enthusiasts at this unique concours d’ordinaire event commenting that they haven’t seen one of those in years, the cars that we all remember from our childhoods.”