See 2021’s Unexceptional winners, Bentley hawks 5 Mulsanne limos, a Shinola-bound Aviator
2021 Festival of the Unexceptional draws oddball cars, younger crowd
Intake: Once considered ordinary, dozens of the U.K.’s “finest” everyday vehicles were properly celebrated on the manicured lawns of Grimsthorpe Castle, in Lincolnshire, England, at the annual Festival of the Unexceptional. Jon Coupland and his 1989 Proton 1.5 GL Black Knight Edition received the overall Hagerty trophy, shaped like a teacup. Danny Wilson’s 1991 Peugeot 106 XN Graduate special edition was the runner-up.
Exhaust: The Festival of the Unexceptional—cousin to America’s Concours d’Lemons—is the antithesis of the high-brow concours d’elegance and offers car enthusiasts the opportunity to laugh at themselves and their automobiles. Event organizers say this year’s event drew a younger crowd, as well. That’s a win-win for the future of car collecting.
Honda gives Monkey buyers what they wanted via a Grom transplant
Intake: The Honda Monkey is a nostalgia-fueled machine that capitalizes on the best parts of vintage style and up-to-date performance—with one exception. The fully modern 125cc engine was paired with a very old-school four-speed transmission. Buyers voiced their opinions about the lack of fifth gear and, for 2022, the Monkey will be on the receiving end of a parts-bin engine swap, with the Grom’s 125cc unit and accompanying five-speed sliding into the minimoto’s frame.
Exhaust: While the Monkey was never designed for long-distance cruising, the lack of fifth made any sustained speed a bit of a chore and also sapped some pep from the experience. With the fifth gear and wider spread of gear ratios, the cruising not only becomes more comfortable, according to Honda, but also allows for a three-tooth increase in the rear sprocket size to make the bike accelerate quicker. We expect the ’22 Monkey to be an even better combination of style and function.
Bentley’s re-selling 5 limos that stretch the bounds of bespoke cruising
Intake: 39.3 inches of stretch and 3.1 inches of additional rear headroom aren’t colossal additions by limousine standards, but when applied to the iconic Bentley Mulsanne sedan, they made all the difference, producing a classy limo that preserves the Mulsanne’s elegant profile. The Mulsanne Grand Limousine, coachbuilt by Mulliner, started out as a private commission vehicle, but Bentley Mulliner was eventually given consent to make a limited run of the unique model. Its cabin is largely inspired by the jet-setting world of private aviation: Two rear-facing seats encourage conversation amongst occupants swaddled in the elegance of Mulliner’s finest materials. In 2015, the five examples up for resale were originally shipped off to the UAE, where they’ve sat ever since, neither used nor even registered.
Exhaust: 2020 brought the end of the Mulsanne name for Bentley, amping up the rarity of these five fine examples. There’s no shortage of ludicrous money these days that’s willing to flex a truly unique and comfortable commute. These machines will likely fly to new homes, hopefully to spend more time on the road than at rest.
Volkswagen T2 Camper Van is Lego’s latest gem
Intake: Let’s go camping! Ten years after unveiling its popular Volkswagen T1 Camper Van, Lego has turned it up a notch with a turquoise-and-white VW T2 Camper Van with a detailed interior and cool accessories. Selling for $179.99 each (limit two), the Lego T2 camper—which measures 6 x 13.5 x 5.5 inches—recreates the much-loved features from the real deal, including the van’s iconic front windscreen, textile curtains, and the textile pop-up tent. There’s also a new Lego tire style, working steering, sliding door, surfboard, two folding chairs, and flower-power stickers.
Exhaust: Once considered a kids’ toy, much like Hot Wheels and Matchbox, Lego is among the most collectible automotive display pieces for adults. New issues are highly anticipated and sell out quickly. Expect the T2 to do the same.
Lincoln-Shinola Aviator concept is a rose-gold spin on red, white, and blue luxury
Intake: Together with Detroit-born Shinola, a luxury goods company specializing in watches and various leather-bound goods, Lincoln has tricked out the Navigator’s little brother with understated modern glam. Rose-gold exterior accents are just the starting point; the real fun is inside. The seats are finished in Shinola’s whiskey leather, with cream suede center panels accented by a two-tone stripe combination. Said bourbon-hued leather extends to the console and dash, which also feature woven metal mesh and a slathering of suede.
Exhaust: Old-school, genuine materials rendered in classy neutrals and sporting a brush of industrial texture—it’s enough to make any self-respecting millennial swoon. We’re quite taken, even if this collaboration is, for now, only a one-off concept built for Pebble Beach.
Scissor-door Valkyrie to usher in roadster variant at Pebble Beach
Intake: Hypercar aficionados will note that the standard version of Aston Martin’s wildest offering features gullwing doors. What then is this tantalizing image before us, released by Aston just this morning? The company line reads “an exciting new product which extends the brand’s performance credentials a step further;” after some pondering and squinting, we’ll translate that as “roofless Valkyrie.”
Exhaust: The Valkyrie won’t be spawning any hybrid V-12 Le Mans monsters, given Aston’s rather rocky financial straits. However, a more indulgent model could mean that we mortals will glimpse (and hear) these 1160-hp, 11,100-rpm beauties in the wild more often. If you’re around the Monterey Peninsula next week, we suggest popping by Aston’s stand and ogling the open-air Valkyrie in person.