There’s a good chance that you’ve heard of Goodwood, but let’s break it down a bit. The two events of international renown that take place on Lord March’s estate each year are The Festival of Speed and The Revival. The Festival of Speed is just that, with a hill climb and cars of all racing backgrounds and drivers of world class and sometimes considerably less talent. But it’s The Revival that we are going to talk about here, which is not just a celebration of speed, but a celebration of style, as well.
To truly enjoy The Revival, if you are like me, you are going to have to step out of your comfort zone for a bit, as period dress is not required but is more or less expected. It’s almost the reverse of every costume party you have been to: If you aren’t the one wearing the costume in this event, you are the one playing the fool. In this case, period clothing covers the era from before the war and is mostly dedicated to the late ’40s until the ’60s, up to and including the British Invasion era of rock ’n’ roll music. (From my notes, nothing looks quite as pathetic as bellbottom trousers, a no-midriff shirt and a madras vest on a 65-year-old Englishman, despite the authentic ponytail.)
While vintage races are the main draw for many, it really is amongst the most fantastic people-watching events in the world of collector cars. While most dress in period, many dress and act in character: the bawdy chambermaids, military reenactors from a number of campaigns, and even a tableau of Sir Edmund Hillary’s ascent of Everest. I expected to run into Winston Churchill; unfortunately his schedule appeared to be a bit more crowded than mine this weekend. (More from my notes: Oliver and Hardy lookalikes — funny; O and H with a distinctive British accent — very funny.)
The visuals never cease to amaze and surprise: Vintage aircraft taking off and landing; groups of young ladies parading by in what could be best be described as saucy air hostess uniforms; men on a cigarette break next to a World War II vintage Jeep, a photo that might have been taken 70 years ago; families with baby prams elaborately outfitted as if taking a stroll on the strand; a barbershop and a beauty salon recreated with the equipment you would have found on the High Street in 1952; a tribute to the Earl’s Court Motor Show; and the dramatic flyovers from period aircraft.
There is only one Goodwood Revival and there can likely only be one, so it’s hats off. And yes, gentlemen wear hats in this period, not ball caps, to Lord March and his Revival.