It’s all in the details……………..
Three days running around the grounds of Goodwood House may be an exhausting, dusty enterprise but there is no doubt that even six days would not be enough to see everything that is on display, so here is a soupcon of the ingredients that go make this unique motoring event.
It is, perhaps, appropriate to start with this image. Lord March, or to give him his full title, Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, Earl of March and Kinrara, is the reason we gather in this very agreeable corner of the Sussex countryside every summer to celebrate cars and car culture, motorbikes and aeroplanes, pretty much anything with an engine. It was his vision, enthusiasm and energy that created and developed first the Festival of Speed and later The Goodwood Revival. As Lord of the Manor, or at least heir apparent, he excercises his right to a form of motoring droit de seigneur each year by driving something tasty up the Hill. Well why not, his house, his rules?
For 2010 he chose something really special. It is the Lotus 38 that took Jim Clark to victory in the 1965 Indianapolis 500. What is so special about that? Back in 1965 the Indy 500 was the greatest race on earth, hard to imagine today. This Lotus was the first mid-engined car to win at the Brickyard, it was the first Ford powered car to win, it was the first British chassis to win, the list goes on. The 38 was given to Ford and never raced again. It made a static appearence at the 2009 Festival of Speed, since which time it has been restored to full working condition by Classic Team Lotus. Now it is back on the road. Certainly it was one of he most popular attractions of the weekend.
If the Lotus scored points on the ground, the other big star of the show was the last air-worthy Avro Vulcan, XH558. The centrepiece of Britain’s post-war nuclear deterrence force, the Vulcan is instantly recognisable with the distinctive delta design. The sheer physical force of the four Olympus engines even at half throttle has to be experienced, it cannot adequately be described. On Sunday when the Vulcan gave its short display everything, and I mean everything, came to a halt to contemplate this amazing machine. This particular plane was celebrating its 50th birthday as it entered service with the RAF in July 1960. It is now owned by the Vulcan to the Sky Trust who have restored XH558 to its former glory, breathtaking.
From the sublime to the ridiculous? Has the Old Boy finally flipped showing us a scruffy white Transit? Well, not quite, this one has the running gear from a Jaguar XJ220 and in the hands of Justin Law almost manged to get under the minute barrier on the Hill Climb.
Most cars do not compete on the Hill Climb, for a variety of reasons but there are always a few who are “on it”. The fastest time on the Hill was recorded by Roger Willis, who stopped the clocks at 47.15 in his Williams Cosworth FW05. Makes 61 seconds in the White Van look even more impressive.
On the Library Lawn there is the Cartier Style et Luxe exhibition. The dust was an issue this year and some of the punters did not show the proper feudal attitude. This is no way to treat a Bugatti EB110.
Bruce Benedict takes on Jeff Koons in an Art Attack.
Where Art lives, Mammon soon follows, then the Marketing Department. Clever stuff from Dunlop to give away hats on this baking weekend, it was so hot that the promo girls had to wear fire suits…………..
Listening to some folks, especially on forums you would think the element of commerce at the Festival was a blending of the Seven Deadly Sins. It is a fact that the Goodwood Festival of Speed is an expensive undertaking and that without the support of the manufacturers and the public, it would not exist. So while we all hate the crowds and the traffic congestion, there are no free lunches in life and it is price we all must pay for our pleasure. In any case some folks actually like to shop.
Seb dropped in to show off his Citroen.
Here is Toyota’s temporary showroom. They a big presence as did Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Jaguar, Range Rover, Honda etc. etc. The small stall holders were squeezed out from their usual pitches, provoking a level of grumbling.
Peugeot had their 2009 Le Mans winner on display, let’s not mention this year’s race. #9’s tale from last year can be found HERE
Mazda were on hand with the discreet Renown colour scheme for the MX5 on what looked like a giant Scalextric track. The question is does all the effort that the manufacturers put in amount to sales? Certainly most PR/Marketing/Sales staff I talked to absolutely prefer the grounds of Goodwood House to the seedy, expensive, jobsworth-infested, charmless confines of the likes of the NEC. On Sunday morning I bumped into Charles Morgan, whose small, but perfectly formed, company has been hand building sportscars since 1909. He seemed pretty chipper, saying that he had been getting 50 or more people a day to sign up for information and would expect to convert at least 10 or more of those to being actual purchases. For a company that builds 6-700 cars a year, 30 new customers is a fair number and with Morgan it would appear that once you are hooked, then you stay that way. A bit like Goodwood’s Festival of Speed, once you go, despite any reservations you go back. Like Morgan, there is nothing like it anywhere else.
Contrary to what anyone says, Morgan are not involved with the Wacky Races and did not build the Mean Machine.
Musical themes ran through this year’s Festival. This vision of The Magic Bus does not quite match my own, a red double decker being more the thing from 1967. Whatever, the local radio station played a selection of oldies for the more mature element such as myself, no NWA though, Antonio.
Stars, Cars and Guitars was another theme that was on display with Cadzzilla perhaps the real star of that show.
Back in the Cathedral Paddock, the early birds enjoy the peace of the Alfa Romeo contingent.
The Festival throws together some unlikely bedfellows.
And lurking in the shadows was this hero, the 1995 Le Mans winning McLaren F1 GTR. SpeedHunter’s Andy Blackmore worked at McLaren back in the day. He recalls his involvement and looks at the short tailed cars HERE and HERE
Back on the Hill is this Alpine-Renault A443 which ran at Le Mans back in 1978, the first year I went to the French classic.
Fast forward to 1998’s race and the 4th placed EMKA McLaren F1 GTR. A view of that event can be found HERE
More Le Mans legends, this Porsche 917 took Hans Hermann and Richard Attwood to Porsche’s first outright victory back in 1970. Or perhaps it is not. Most experts say that the real 917-023 is owned by a American collector, we saw it HERE earlier in the year but in any case a day when you get to see a Porsche 917 and an Avro Vulcan is by any standards a Red Letter Day.
Arguably the weirdest car on the Hill was the AVS Shadow Mk1. This ultra low line machine was first seen at the 1970 CanAm Mosport round. Radical thinking for sure, trying to minimise drag but the compromises that this route dictated meant the ultimate failure of the concept. Crazy.
Another car that was better in concept than in the flesh was the Jaguar XJ12C, fast but fragile. The 70’s Touring Car did not hack it against the BMW CSL brigade.
A Jaguar that did conquer the World was this XJR14. The last year of the Silk Cut, Tom Walkinshaw Racing and Jaguar partnership was rewarded with the 1991 World Sportscar Championship, with the icing on the cake being Teo Fabi also taking the driver’s title. This was cutting edge Formula One technology applied to endurance racing with Ross Brawn heading up the design team. Proof that the original design was sound came when Mazda approached TWR to build them cars for the 1992 WSC. We looked at that story HERE. Even more incredible was that chassis #691, the car that won the World Championship, was sold to Porsche in 1994. The roof was chopped off and the aim was to run in the 1995 Daytona 24 Hours. Last minute rule changes from our favourite Floridians (imagine that) so infuriated Porsche that they pulled the entry and let Reinhold Joest have the car. He repaid their generosity by beating the factory Porsche 911 GT1 cars at Le Mans in both 1996 and 1997, you could’nt make it up.
Speaking of NASCAR, one of the stars of the show was Mike Skinner in the Toyota Camry, whose burn out battle with Michael Waltrip blinded us all.
In the early morning light the BMW 328 MM that actually won the 1940 Mille Migla acscends towards Molecomb.
More Silver Arrow action with Mika Hakkinen powering the Mercedes Benz W196 past the House.
Silver is the new black? The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Pur Sang.
Something of a contrast, the 1969 Lola Chevrolet T163.
Enjoying the run down the Hill are the drivers of this fantastic Mercedes Benz 710 SSK.
The 1969 Targa Florio winner, a Porsche 908/2, expertly steered by the legendary Vic Elford.
“Give me Goodwood on a Summer’s day and you can forget the rest of the World.” 50’s Grand Prix driver Roy Salvadori is said to have expressed those sentiments some 50 years ago and who are we to disagree?
The Goodwood Festival of Speed………try it, you’ll love it.