2014 Goodwood Revival Review – Glamorous history

21 Sep , 2014  


Goodwood Revival Logo - carwitter

Having attended the Goodwood Festival of Speed for a few years now I have always been aching to sample the delight that is known as the Revival.

For a few days each year the Goodwood Race Track and airfield are transported back in time to a mix of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.

Classic race cars from that era are dusted off and purposefully used as they should be – thrashed around a track pitted against other such precious metal.

Attendees don fitting attire whilst vintage planes fly in from all corners of the country. This isn’t an event purely for car enthusiasts, it’s an event for anyone interested in history.

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Thanks to Rolls Royce we started the day being dutifully chauffeured in a Phantom Drophead Coupe, not a bad way to arrive, and craning many necks as we passed the long lines of traffic waiting patiently to park.

Milling around in the throng of fellow revivalists I saw my choice of an RAF Officers uniform was quite apt, nodding to fellow pilots was the order of the day.

After waiting for what seemed like an age in the boiling midday heat we slowly funnelled through the infield tunnel where our Rolls Royce hospitality suite awaited. Every whim and want pandered to by the attentive staff, champagne on tap…naturally.

Suitably refreshed we headed for the paddocks.

Upon showing our ‘Sponsors Guest’ pass we were allowed into the exclusive paddock area. Here we found a pair of gorgeous Fraser Nash racers from the 1930’s, chrome work gleaming, leather bonnet straps in perfect condition.

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Further along we found a slew of classic Ferrari racers from the bygone era, but right at the end was something very special indeed.

A 1965 Ferrari 250 LM, the last one of these sold at auction went for $14.3 million. Far too pricey to be raced in anger it was reduced to a parade lap later in the day.

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Mixed among the classic machinery were a gaggle of Jackie Stewarts old race cars, and in the penultimate row of pens I found something I have never seen before. A 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster.

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This was the elusive GT/111, raced in the Targa Florio in 1965, then subsequently lost until it was found in an east end garage in 2006. Now fully restored it looked stunning amongst the more common metal topped GT40 brethren.

From here we moved through the crowds, past a selection of WW2 motorbikes and Willys Jeeps, past a group of Dads Army re-enactors – including a suitably red faced Lance Corporal Jones.

Finally we made it to the airfield.

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Here is where my excitement really peaked, whilst I love cars, seeing classic aircraft is even more fascinating.

One of my all-time favourite planes is the Dakota, the workhorse of the Second World War. Towering over everything else on display Placid Cassie provided ample respite under her wings from the afternoon sun.

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Moving along, the Dakota was in good company, flanked by a Hurricane and a late mark 16 Spitfire.

In the distance a gentleman in aviators perches himself between the fuselage and engine of an American liveried 1957 Beech E18S. The epitome of cool.

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And then possibly the highlight of the day for myself. A rumbling on the wind was heard, then in the distance two mammoth planes loped into sight, as they slowly came into view a 3 fighter escort met them.

Of course, it was the two Lancaster’s that have been touring the UK for the last month. The only 2 flying Lancaster’s left on the earth.

The second made a staggered journey from Canada earlier in the year, it will most likely never return to these shores in my lifetime.

To hear those Rolls Royce Merlin engines roar overhead was magical, yet terrifying. To think bombing runs were conducted with over 300 of these lumbering behemoths is just unreal.

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Necks hurting from looking up, mouths dry from being open in awe it was time for a spot of lunch.

Sitting on a large round table back at Rolls hospitality, we were joined by men who undoubtedly had multiple properties all over the planet, leather options on their new Wraith’s were discussed, as were the number of Rollers they had on their fleet.

Stomachs full we made our way to the Earls Court motor show.

Here the modern day were put on display with the historic, you would find a McLaren P1 across from HUE 166, the very first Land Rover.

This gave potential wealthy punters the chance to see the latest Aston, or the upcoming Mustang in the flesh, all whilst listening to archetypal 40’s Jazz music.

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As for the racing action on show we only really saw it on a large screen in the hospitality suite, there is really that much else to see and do! But from that full track vantage point we saw some very tough wheel to wheel action.

A Jaguar D-Type was pranged along with a hard topped AC Cobra, both equally tearful to watch. We will have to catch more of the racing next year…

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After a long day we were ‘Rolls Royce’ chauffeured back to HQ just down the road from Goodwood, the svelte ride of the Ghost cushioning sore feet, and the wafts of air con cooling sunburnt faces.

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Our first time at Goodwood Revival was amazing. No doubt the hospitality added to the sheen of the day but the atmosphere when walking around is fantastic. I’d say 90% of people in attendance dress up in vintage clobber, the few that don’t look suitably out of place.

The glamour of the 40’s and 50’s really shines through, match that with some stunningly expensive motor cars and equally compelling aircraft the whole experience is intoxicating.

It’s well worth a visit, even if you only go the once it must be savoured.

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By  -  
Owner / Editor of Carwitter - French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter