So, the other day my friend John and I (yes, the same John I went to Laguna Seca with) were sitting around looking for ways to tick stuff off our respective bucket lists when we decided it was high time we hightailed it to England to do some seriously car-nutty things. John grew up in the northern part of England and I lived there for two years and came home with an English wife, so we both know the place pretty well. We also know that some of the coolest car events happen in England.
In particular, there are two events that happen every year in the south of England: the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Goodwood Revival. They take place on the property of the Earl of March, a gentleman named Lord William Rupert Charles Gordon-Lennox. If there were a Y and a Z in his name I think it would use every letter of the alphabet, but I digress. The Earl of March is as close to a patron saint of the old car hobby as might be possible. He is a true lover of all things car related. In his love and support of our hobby, he has not one but two racecourses on his property which, when you’re the Earl of anything, is your God given right. The first is his driveway which is used as a hill climb course during the Festival of Speed held every summer. The second is the historic Goodwood Circuit road course, used for the Revival which this year will be held September 16-18. It is this event John and I will be attending. The track is a 2.367 mile course that was active from 1948 to 1966 and like many race tracks in England, uses an old World War II airfield. In fact, the airfield is still in use today.
During those years, the track hosted many famous drivers including Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, Graham Hill, and Mike Hawthorn but these days the track only hosts events like the Revival. Once again, John and I will be watching vintage race cars duking it out on the track. I went to the Festival of Speed many years ago but never to the Revival so this will be something new and special for me. Apparently, you’re expected to dress up in vintage clothing from the 40’s and 50’s so I’ll have to do some shopping before the event. Look it up on the internet. It looks like a great time.
Since we will be flying to England for the Revival, we thought we should tie in as many other car nut events as possible so we will also be going to the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court (one of Henry VIII’s houses) the weekend of September 3-4. This is one of the premier old car shows in the world and we are looking forward to basking in the glow of the best rolling art and sheet metal the world has to offer. These two events will bookend our trip and in between we will be stopping at the Ace Cafe in London for their reunion event and we have plans to visit some very cool restoration shops since John is in the middle of a concours level restoration of a 1971 Jaguar E-Type. Check out his Youtube channel at: (35) John Cooper – YouTube.
I’m bringing my camera and will be sharing many photos in the coming weeks and hopefully some adventures as well. If any of you are planning to be at the Goodwood revival [Editor’s Note: Sorry, I’m publishing this after the Concours, which happened last weekend. -DT], let me know in the comments and let’s try to meet up (or email email@example.com). Just look for two guys meandering through the show in slow motion taking pictures of everything. You can’t rush these things.
What is the decorated car with the chrome dubs on it in the 2nd from last picture? Is that top chopped? That thing has my idea of stance in spades.
That is a 1927 Avions Voisin C14 Lumineuse. This car was up for auction and according to the guide book has a paint scheme inspired by the artwork of George Lepape’s cover art on the first British edition of Vogue magazine where “a Sonia Delauney-inspired dress was worn by a model leaning against a Voisin painted in an Art Deco fashion”. It was hand painted by Dutch artist Bernadette Ramaekers and took 6 months to finish. It definitely has presence! It was expected to fetch about $350,000 though I have no idea what it actually sold for.
The Voisins are a great rabbit hole. Lots and full of cool engineering like a 3 speed transmission with a 2 speed transfer case, sleeve valves, aluminium body panels, attention paid to weight-placement. One example was even used in rallys, clocking some 15k km. That’s gearheading done right
I can make way more than that writing posts for The Autopian. What you’ve got to offer can’t possibly compare so go pound sand.
I can confirm that the Goodwood Revival is everything you’re expecting and more. It will, in fact, ruin you for all car events going forward. In my opinion, there is nothing better globally for cars than that event. There will also be a plethora of vintage airplanes flying about, military, and motorcycles galore, it’s just an absolute sensory overload.
Regarding dressing the part, definitely do so. What you wear doesn’t have to be vintage, I just wore a nice suit each day and it was so nice. The entire event is elevated because of how people are dressing, there are no New Balance shoes and khaki shorts in sight.
Enjoy it, and looking forward to the photos and commentary!
I went shopping today and I’m now all set to be properly dressed for the event. Can’t wait!
Bummer that this was posted late. I live close to Hampton Court and had no idea there was anything happening down there this past weekend. Anything interesting happening car/bike-wise between now and Goodwood?
Not that I’m aware of. The reunion at the Ace Cafe London was the same weekend and it was awesome!
I’ve missed out on Goodwood this year, having just moved into a place less than 5 miles away I can only see that as ironic, for a petrolhead!
Truth is the Revival and the FoS have both become victims of their own success and are not really that much fun any more because they’re stupidly over-subscribed and really very expensive to get into!
I would say that I’d try to meet up outside, but if you’ve got tickets and are inside – then go for it, enjoy every moment, get up close to everything (but please, please, try not to get in the way of the competitors when they’re moving about the paddock, you really don’t want to damage those things by letting them drive into you!)
Don’t worry. I’ve been to many events like this before and I know not to get in the way. It’s such a privilege to be standing around as these priceless machines are moving past only a few feet away from you.
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Thanks Michelle. Glad to hear it. So…. do you want to meet up?
Double check your kidneys after
Oh, to be rich and retired….
I am positively green with envy. Have a great time!
Is that British Racing Green with envy?
Huibert, I’m genuinely jealous. I lived in England for 5 years (and also came home with an English wife) but never got to do much with motor sports except visit Snetterton, the lotus plant, and the remains of Brooklands. I wanted to go to goodwood but never got the chance! Great article!
I had a business trip to Woking several years ago and stayed at the hotel in the middle of the Brooklands track. It was quite surreal. There are still existing parts of the steep banking that you can walk on. Very weird.
Is the main export of England wives?
No, it takes a very special man to bring home an English wife. Isn’t that right, Beachbumberry?
Absolutely! I always joke that she’s my favorite souvenir
It does seem to go that way sometimes. What’s funny is my wife had never met another English woman named Amanda. After we got married we realized every single person I knew married to an English woman was married to one named Amanda. I think there were 4 in total. Met another after moving to the states, just for good measure.
It’s possible, because I’m English and most of my male friends have French wives (well, partners, none of them are married). Maybe that’s due to all the English women emigrating?
Which one is the hill climb? That’s the revival, isn’t it?
The hill climb is the Festival of Speed.
The Revival is held on the old aerodrome circuit and is some of the most competitive racing you will ever see. Everything inside the gates has a mid-twentieth century feel and if you don’t dress up in period (1940s~1960s) clothes you will feel left out.