The racing’s unbeatable, but look around and you’re in a 1960s time warp, with shops, cops, bike gangs and sideshows – and the Battle of Britain overhead
The racing was, as ever, top-notch, with 33 Cobras including a Daytona Coupe entered for the Shelby Cup alone, and three Aston Martin DBR1s in the Sussex Trophy in tribute to Roy Salvadori.
A huge variety of tin-tops were slip-sliding away in the St Mary’s Trophy, from an Austin A35 to a very sideways Tatra 603 with truly terrifying megaphones sprouting from the rear-engined V-8 – but it’s what goes on away from the track that sets Goodwood apart from other racing festivals.
Lord March’s organisation brands the Revival at the former Westhampnett aerodrome as ‘a magical step back in time’ and, as well as most spectators arriving in period dress (and no post-’66 vehicles allowed within the boundaries unless they’re very well hidden), there are sideshows, cops and robbers, spivs, bookies and even a period high Street Tesco, which is a fully functional store for the weekend.
As with a Carl Giles cartoon, everywhere you look you spot something new: the Goodwood Scramble Trophy; a tribute to Steve McQueen’s love for motocrossers with a recreation of a typical London railway-arch garage; Audi bringing five ‘Silver Arrows’ and scattering onlookers in the paddock by running them all; the Mercedes W154 and W165 joining them in track parades; the new Settrington Cup race for J40 pedal cars; the Battle of Britain Flight and mock dogfights from genuine ex-WW2 planes including Spitfire, Hurricane, two P-51DMustangs and a P-47 Thunderbolt.
This year Ford celebrates 50 years of the Cortina, and, as well as a recreation of the Cortina coupe outside the Earls Court Motor Show, the Glamcab girls were at it with their fleet. Haurel and Lardy appeared this year as chimneysweeps, with a smoking stack in the back of their trusty Ford T. There’s a serious point to their presence, in addition to kid’s loving them: if there any serious delays, they’re sent out on to the pit straight to distract the audience.
On the 50th anniversary of his maiden Grand Prix victory, Dan Gurney was honoured with a re-run of Car and Driver’s 1964 ‘Dan Gurney for President’ campaign, with cheerleaders whose transport was a suitably stickered period Econoline van. A daily track parade of some of his most famous cars included his Eagle grand prix and Indy racers, as well as Ferraris, Porsches, McLarens, Ford GTs and Cobras. ‘Dan the Man’ joined the crowds on Sunday and looked flattered and delighted.
Peacock fashions, the Ding Dong Daddios and Harry Strutter’s Jazz Band, scarily authentic-looking bike gangs, period car showrooms (including a Kings Road bespoke Mini shop), hairdressers and photo studio, BMW’s Revivalfest biergarten – and superb attention to detail such as concealing cash machines inside old-style red phone boxes – all mix to make this weekend a seamless delivery of pure nostalgic indulgence that leaves your senses reeling and your memory banks on overload.
The 138,000 tickets sold out a week before the gates opened, so book early for next year. More at www.goodwood.com