1989 Proton Saga Wins “Concourse” Full of Mundane Old Cars

Proton Saga Black Knight

Up until yesterday, nobody in Malaysia (OK, maybe a few) knew about this event in the UK called the Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional a.k.a the Concours de l’Ordinaire.

Organised annually by American insurance company Hagerty since 2014, the Festival of the Unexceptional is a celebration of long-forgotten everyday family cars from 1968-1989, now fondly known as the ‘Unexceptional Era’.

The Unexceptional era

Proton Saga Black Knight

Simply put, these were your boring everyday cars from the 60s to the 80s which nobody gave a crap about; cars that a lot of people still don’t give a crap about.

So, in case you’re wondering why we’re talking about this now, articles revolving around the event broke the internet in Malaysia yesterday as a 1989 Proton Saga 1.5L Black Knight actually won this year’s Concours de l’Ordinaire, much to the delight of the local car community.

Proton Saga Black Knight
  • Best in Show: Jon Coupland – 1989 Proton 1.5 GL Black Knight
  • Runner Up: Danny Wilson – 1991 Peugeot 106 XN
  • Feast of the Unexceptional/ Best Picnic: Matthew Long – 1986 Volvo 340 DL
  • Best dressed: Mark Pallatt – 1979 Ford Escort

How did the Proton win?

The Proton Saga Black Knight, which is owned by Jon Coupland from Lincolnshire, was selected from thousands of mundane motors that were displayed with pride by a record number of car enthusiasts who turned up this year.

Proton Saga Black Knight

Including the Saga Black Knight, there were 50 carefully selected finalists. Out of the lot, the winning Proton was said to be the rarest, as it is one of just 201 examples, and the only remaining unit.

PRoton Saga Black Knight

The runner-up was a Peugeot 106 which the owner bought for just £500 via Facebook Marketplace. Owner Danny Wilson (27) from Driffield in East Yorkshire, brought the peppermint-coloured Peugeot back to life himself, and the judges noted that it was fitted with a carburettor and choke found only on the very earliest examples, marking it out as a true survivor of the scrap heap.

Special mentions

Special mentions went to James Green for his 1989 Nissan Bluebird, Charles Whilems and his 1986 Volkswagen Polo C Formel E, Chris Howells and his 1971 Triumph Toledo, and Simon Hucknall for his 1977 Fiat 128.

Proton Saga Black Knight

All of these cars impressed the individual judges and warranted their place in the 2021 Unexceptional Hall of Fame.

Highlights

Other highlights included a brace of Bond Bugs, a fantastically preserved Mk1 Ford Granada Coupe, countless Skoda Estelles and Favorits from the pre-VW era, a brilliantly basic Land Rover Discovery 3-door and Sri Lankan Toyota Terecel 4WD to name but a few. 

Proton Saga Black Knight

The 2021 selection offered one of the best concours lawns in seven years of the festival, with cars arriving from across the nation to be judged as one of the best of the best.

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