Goodwood Revival back on the taxi rank…

Finally a month late here is the story of Mario’s weekend at the Goodwood Revival…

Getting ready was all a bit of a panic as we had been really busy, this years new outfit was only finished on the morning of departure but by early afternoon a beautifully clean and shiny Mario was packed up and ready to leave. After all the repairs and work that has been done since last years Revival he was raring to go and we had a lovely sunny trip to Goodwood. We got there in time to see a bit of the drivers cricket match and watch the traditional Spitfire flypast before our sign on and briefing.


DSC04427 DSC04439 DSC04446 DSC04454 DSC04459 DSC04461 Readers will know that last year we had a few issues with the GRTC (Goodwood Racing Transport Corps) with the cars being overworked but this year a new shift system was introduced, which greatly improved our enjoyment of the weekend. The cars still did in excess of 200km each over the weekend but in a shorter period of time, so we had more off time and were able to see the event and socialise, it worked really well and we had one of the best Revivals in years.

Our first shift didn’t start until Friday lunchtime and it seemed very strange not rushing around to start at 7.30am, in fact we all felt rather lost to start with. Our relaxing morning was interrupted though by the sad news that Kato the Subaru 360 had a terminal breakdown right at the beginning of the weekend, when the gear linkage sheered from the engine. This was totally unexpected and very disappointing for Craig. He ended up having the car recovered home and then he helped run the taxi rank for the weekend but it didn’t seem right missing one of the gang. Mario and Regie the 4cv Renault were parked up for the rest of the morning and we set off to explore. Imagine our excitement when one of the first things we came across, was a General Motors Futurliner bus, having found these fabulous vehicles researching an earlier blog it was amazing to see one in the ‘flesh’.DSC04464 DSC04465 DSC04472DSC04521 There were also some other Fiats around… A lovely 500 in the Shell display, where we also bumped into John Surtess. There was also a cute 500 van running around as a service vehicle.DSC04481 DSC04483DSC04573 At lunchtime we reported to the taxi rank for our first shift. The new system works much better with a dedicated taxi rank with a turning circle and is well organised although it’s still a bit of a shame that the public don’t get a chance to interact with the cars much anymore. We got straight into it with lots of passengers wanting to go to the Kennels and Hotel for lunch. We were kept very busy all afternoon and into the evening not finishing until after 8.30 as there was a dusk race. Mario was very excited to pick up his ‘old mate’ Le Mans superstar Tom Kristensen. We’ve given Tom a lift before and he really is the nicest gentleman, we had great fun with Tom taking ‘selfies’ in the car and then posing with us back at the hotel.DSC04528DSC04503 DSC04511 Saturday morning dawned early with the morning shift, we were mainly doing pick ups at the hotel and Mario was very honoured to take Sir Stirling Moss and wife Suzie to the circuit. I think he enjoyed his ride even though Mario isn’t the easiest car to get in and out of. It was lovely to see Sir Stirling back on good form after the nasty accident he suffered at home a few years ago.DSC04516 DSC04518
DSC04523 DSC04530 People often ask me ‘why to you drive the taxi’s rather than just enjoy the racing’ well driving through the estate on beautiful sunny day with spitfires flying over head is the answer! Mario loves being useful and the whole event just brings a smile to our faces. Ok we don’t get to see all the racing but you can catch up with that on the TV later.DSC04535 DSC04540 DSC04541 DSC04553 DSC04554 The last two years I have had ‘Mario’ fabric printed and made 50 style dresses. This year we decided to go a bit more ‘up to date’ and designed some ‘Mario’ 1960’s style fabric and made a coat – you can’t really see in the picture but I ensure you there are little Mario’s travelling in the swirls of the fabric.DSC04557 These are our friends Walter and Jolie and their gorgeous children who are travelling round the event in style – in James’ old pram, his Dad brought it in 1964 and it was used for the whole family.DSC04572
DSC04577 DSC04582We popped over to the Bonham’s auction as there was a Multipla up for sale, unfortunately we didn’t see it, as it was a ‘drive thru’ auction and we missed it’s lot number. According to the catalogue it was fitted with a Fiat Panda engine and wasn’t in immaculate condition but it still made £22,137 including commission. (look out for a future blog post on values soon)
image This year celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the Birds Eye Fish finger and Captain Birdseye was present with his trawler and lots of fish fingers. They ended up in an awful lot of our photographs!DSC04585 DSC04587 DSC04608 One of the big draws of this years Revival was the coming together of all six of the original Shelby Daytona Cobras, the first time they have all been in the same place, in a recreation of the Sebring pits. Their designer Peter Brock was also in attendance.DSC04631 DSC04632Our good friends from Derbyshire, who for many years have attended the Revival dressed as James Bond and Villains, this year turned up very cleverly attired as ‘Cluedo’ – Reverend Green, Professor Plum, Doctor Black and Colonel Mustard. It was great to have the time to be able to socialise.
DSC04669 On Saturday evening we had a lovely wander around as the sun went down, we looked round the Freddie March Spirit of Aviation which in 2015 was celebrating the Battle of Britain and there were Spitfires and Hurricanes as far as you could see. The roof of the new Aero Club gave a fantastic view over the proceedings as a couple of planes took off to do the party flypast. All the planes stayed until the Tuesday when they took part in the main BoB celebrationsDSC04674 DSC04689 DSC04695DSC04755 This year the entrance to the Drivers Club had been turned into an archaeological dig with dinosaur skeletons being unearthed.DSC04710For the first time the track opening was completed by ‘Gassers’ – stock vehicles turned hot rodders who burn petrol. 20 of these american beasts were on parade and parked around this garage.DSC04735 For a few months now James and I have been involved with a new product called GaugePilot an in-vehicle information system that looks just like a period ‘Speed Pilot’ with functions for rallying, racing or just classics. It was launched at this years Revival and James had a demo model fitted in the 4cv. Rally legend Rauno Aaltonen was very interested when Regie gave him a ride. James also demonstrated the system to some of his driver mates on the GaugePilot stand.IMG_6681DSC04737This year we actually managed to see some cars! On and off the track. We were especially interested in the St Mary’s where our friend Desmond Smail was driving a Mini. Unfortunately on the Saturday – the celebrity part of the two car race – the rotor arm failed on driver Emanuele Pirro which blew their chances.
DSC04654DSC04759 DSC04770DSC04834DSC04855 The 60’s was celebrated across the Revival with the anniversary of the Mini Skirt, James didn’t enjoy it at all! The new ‘Mario’ outfit fitted in really well. We tried on some wonderful Repro 60’s sunglasses, think I will have some made with my prescription for next year.DSC04788 DSC04811 DSC04814IMG_6688So all in all we had a fantastic weekend, Mario worked very hard but still managed to meet and great some of his fans and most importantly came home in one piece. The whole weekend went so quickly – bring on Revival 2016.


Goodwood FoS, the best bits…

June brings the Goodwood Festival of Speed, although this event is our least favourite of the Goodwood spectaculars, we do still like to visit. We decided to only go on the Thursday (moving Motor Show) and Friday due to time, money and friends plans.

Over the years since the first FoS in 1993 and as the Goodwood Revival and the New Members Meeting have developed, the FoS has definitely made a move towards the modern end of the Motoring spectrum and as such our interest has wained, in an event that back in the day was jaw-droopingly impressive and a must do on the calendar. Today it is a homage to the modern F1 and supercars, totally awesome to 8 year old boys but not quite so appealing to ‘sad old gits’.

However we are lucky enough to live within 25 minutes away – well make that an hour in Goodwood traffic with local knowledge – and so make the effort to attend, as there are still some elements of the show that we enjoy and it’s a great excuse to be sociable!

The Thursday was pleasantly spacious with a much smaller crowd and as the track is being used to demonstrate modern road cars gives an opportunity to look round the rest of the displays in relative peace and quiet. On Friday we had the opportunity to pop into the auction and go to the top of the hill to the rally stage, although our timing was rather off, as we arrived in the lunch break and during a long stop on the hill action after a big crash which damaged the hay bale ‘armco’.

Two days was enough to see what we wanted, although it would have been nice to have seen the huge welcome that the crowds gave, to FoS virgin Valentino Rossi, on the Sunday. Following is a pictorial diary of the bits we liked…

The Central Feature
A huge part of each years festival is the central feature, this year celebrating Mazda. We loved the curving structure as always designed by renowned sculptor Gerry Judah. The cars on the top were the 1991 Le Mans winning 787B Mazda and for the first time ever a concept car, previously only seen in a computer game, there is a great video of how it was made.DSC02267DSC02188 DSC02190 DSC02191 DSC02194 DSC02201 DSC02203 DSC02318

60 years of the Citroen DS
My personal favourites of the weekend was the Citroen DS class in the Cartier Style and Luxe, stunning cars especially loved the 1973 Familiale, a version of the Safari but with 9 seats would make a perfect stable mate for Mario and a great taxi for the Revival. Unfortunately most of the models in this class were very rare and hence very valuable.DSC02138 DSC02139 DSC02141 DSC02142 DSC02143 DSC02144 DSC02145 DSC02147 DSC02148 DSC02152 DSC02153 DSC02156 DSC02285 DSC02311 DSC02314Cartier Style et Luxe
The Cartier is always our favourite area of the event and as well as the Citroens it didn’t disappoint with  a fantastic Figoni et Falaschi class with the most beautifully designed cars including the magnificent Talbot-Lago which won the overall award.DSC02269DSC02171DSC02169DSC02172 DSC02161 DSC02162 DSC02164 DSC02177 DSC02178 DSC02179 DSC02181 DSC02183 DSC02271 DSC02280DSC02158The Auction
The Bonhams auction always contains a few gems, the ‘star’ cars were Stirling Moss’s 1961 Porsche RS61 Spyder Sports Racing which sold for £1,905,500 and a 1935 Aston Martin Works Ulster which had competed in the Mille Miglia, French GP and Le Mans and sold for £2,913,500. Personally we loved the two 1959 Fiat Abarth 750 Bialbero Coupe’s with Zagato bodywork, even better the engine would fit in Mario! We saw Jean Todd having a wander around.DSC02353 DSC02355 DSC02356 DSC02359 DSC02377The Fiat S76
With just a bit more power than Mario this flame-spitting 300bhp Fiat broke the 1911 Flying Mile Land Speed Record. it has recently been restored and it was the first time it ran in public for more than a century.DSC02217 DSC02221 DSC02288Peugeot 404 Diesel
Another record breaker, in June 1965 at Monthéry this diesel 404 broke 40 records including a 100mph average for 72 hours, it has a production 1.9l engine.DSC02302 DSC02303

DSC02641Concept Citroen DS Divine
As you have guessed we don’t like modern cars but we did rather like this Citroen Concept car which was made up with a wonderful mix of diamonds.DSC02225 DSC02226 DSC02228 DSC02229 DSC02234 DSC02236The Jaguar Stand
Most of the major manufactures are at FoS and all seem to be outdoing themselves to have the biggest and most lavish stand. Even though we didn’t get ‘pies’ in the drivers hospitality this year Jaguar Landrover did have a fantastic stand with a tarmac ‘race’ track on one side and an articulated off road experience on the other.DSC02250 DSC02254 DSC02255 Rest of the event…
Don’t like Supercars but this Singer Porsche 911, a modern engineered take on an original classic, was pretty special, there was a Targa version in the Cartier too.DSC02290 DSC02291 It wouldn’t be FoS without an appearance of the Red Arrows, I got to see then on Saturday too when they flew over the house twice!DSC02443 DSC02456 It also wouldn’t be Goodwood with Sir Stirling Moss, here reunited with his Mille Miglia winning Mercedes, got a huge cheer as he went up the hill.DSC02529The 24 hour record breaking Renault 40cv Montlhéry Coupé in1926 with an average speed of 107.5mph.DSC02524 Even some of the food stalls were cute!DSC02583 DSC02585 DSC02609 The Bentley Speed-Six ‘Blue Train’ Coupé – in the 1920’s Woolf Barnato raced the night express train from Cannes to Calais, he was in his club in London before the train made Calais!DSC02645 We finished the weekend with a trip down on Saturday Night to our club house to watch the FoS Ball fireworks, and listen to the Kaiser Chefs across the field , another great Goodwood weekend.DSC02734 IMG_0920 IMG_0922You can see more pics of the weekend in our FoS15 gallery



Ahoy me hearties…

I’ve been spending some time researching a blog but I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for it a while longer as I stumbled across this and had to post it here. I’m amazed we’ve never seen it before as it’s quite well documented on the web but I guess I’ve never searched for a…

Fiat 1100 Boat Car
This extraordinary vehicle was made in 1953 by Carrozzeria Coriasco, the famous Turin company which was known for making commercial vehicle bodies based on standard Italian models (clue to the next blog!). It was produced as a promotional vehicle for the Scarani Scuola Nautica, a sailing school in Bologna and as such is just a car and was never designed as an amphibious vehicle. fiat-boatcar-nosefiat-boatcar-rearfiat-boatcar-sidefiat-boatcar-back

Built on a Fiat 1100 it had many nautical design features such as portholes, lifebelts and teak decking. The shape of the wheel arches and the wavy blue paintwork was supposed to represent the sea.

The boat car has had about 4 owners and underwent a complete restoration before 2006 when it was sold at auction in Monaco by Bonhams for just under £35,000. Today the Boat Car is on display in the Louwman Collection at Den Haag, Netherlands.

I’d love to know more about it’s early life and it’s condition before restoration but despite searching extensively I have been unable to find any more information or images prior to it reappearing in 2006, please let us know if you have any more information. Maybe Mario would like a little continental trip to visit it!
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Caravan of fun… Promo vehicles on the Tour de France

With the Tour de France such a hit in the UK it seemed the perfect time to do a post which I have been planning for some time… publicity vehicles. I’ve touched on this subject a couple of times in the past with the Tour de France parade at the Revival last year, the Rome Olympics and the Mercier Champagne promotions but I’ve come across so many brilliant images it deserves a post of it’s own.

The Tour de France was created in 1903 by the Newspaper L’Auto as a way to sell more papers. In the 20’s bicycle manufacturers became more important than the riders, and with few Frenchmen winning enthusiasm wained. In 1929 Henry Desgranges, the race director together with the marketing director of Menier Chocolates created the ‘Caravan’, made up of cars promoting products. In that first year nearly 40 vehicles were seen by nearly 10 million people on the route promoting various goods.

The size of the caravan has grown over the years and it even had it’s own competition for the best idea for advertising vehicles. As TV ownership grew it became even more important as the stand out vehicles were seen by millions worldwide.

These first two images show vehicles on the 1930 Caravan.Pathé-19301930In the 1950s and ’60s, one of the Tour’s most distinctive attractions was an accordion-playing Serbian immigrant woman named Yvette Horner, she serenaded the bystanders and played at the podium presentation following each stage. A dummy woman was carried on the vehicles between stops.*** Local Caption *** horner (yvette) caravan-1955suze1 caravan-1952vitabrill Many of the vehicles were built by the great coach builders of the time on standard chassis by French manufacturers such as Renault, Citroen and Simca. The development of electrical products led to more and more elaborate vehicles.03-1960-Butagaz-21voiturechateauIMGcaravane002Heuliez 1953Cinzanobicbase-Renault-R2165-1953base-Renault-1400-kg-1954base-Estafette-et-Fiat-1963-carrosserie-Pourtout03-1962-Butagaz-42A collection of 50’s and 60’s promo vehicles was sold at the Bonhams Retromobile Auction in Feb 2009. I believe many were purchased by one Frenchman who has built up a collection of the vehicles which he displays during the modern tour.retro9_1248006iimages-1Group shot_1DSCN4442DSCN4441fbcbb2d990062c985948238502f485feenhanced-buzz-wide-12905-1374837027-91951 Renault 1400 kg R2163 Le Nain Gourmand 5_1Interspersed between the more elaborate vehicles were fleets of branded cars, often Renault 4cv’s like Mario’s ‘brother’ Regie, vans and even motorbikes – in the 60’s the Cinzano team did acrobatics on their bikes for more than 5 hours at a 66-1952-Cinzano-01 049_001bootcarI’m not sure if this wonderful pig was actually part of the caravan but couldn’t miss it out as it’s built on a Fiat 600 Multipla – a new look for Mario! There must have been an original one in the 1960’s as it’s available as a die-cast model but with different graphics.2431487116_f62d1a0b25The modern Tour
With the modern peloton coming past in a matter of seconds the Caravan is as important today as it’s ever been as a way to entertain the captive crowd. Technology and modern materials have meant that it is more something stuck onto a car than a specifically created vehicle but they still make quite an impression…tdf10st14ed-041 tourdefrance8 DSC_0437Vittel-spray-girl-600x450 Le-tour-caravanne TdeFCaravan01 2253166 0507240093 6279420-mobile 0023ae82cb0c1334d8dd04 reuters_france_sport_cycling_23Jul12-975x650Although the tour is well known for it’s caravan it isn’t the only place that promotional vehicles show up. Here in the UK we have a few famous ones of our own… The Cadbury Creme Egg…2578743884_e3b80b8d64_b The Birds Eye Pea car from the brilliant 2005 TV commercialDSC_0135 The Outspan orange, a modified 1972 Mini, if it goes more than 30mph it risks toppling over!DSC_0154There is also the Duckham’s Q, the 10 foot high oil can was used in a commercial with Paddy Hopkirk in the early 70’s.New-Picture-163_thumb2In more modern times a fleet of Smart Cars were covered in artificial grass to promote Easigrass.New-Picture-155_thumb2

Publicity mad America had more than their fair share of wild and wacky promotional vehicles.Elektrolux 5221880d1b33496d8806dcfd3392f20aHotdog brand Oscars Mayers has been using their Wienermobile in one form or another as promotion since 1936, their drivers are known as Hotdoggers!db40faca0e744903a0b10bdb4d5ff6c5 8ee6580045fd4b19894d414d1ce23882General Motors produced a fleet of Futurliners, stylised buses designed in the 40’s. They were used on the Parade of Progress which travelled across the US exhibiting new cars and technology.d99206131b6b412ba7d3cab0015ebe4aThis amazing ‘Burger’ Chevy S-10 Pickup drives around Kansas City to advertise a bar and grill, the ‘toppings’ make it very difficult to see where you are going.New-Picture-160_thumb2New-Picture-158_thumb27e8b916a395a455a9e05988cb406f1fcNew-Picture-157_thumb2Goldfish-SnapshotThe original Zippo car was commissioned in 1947. Within two years it had visited 48 states. It vanished in the 50’s until in 1998 the company had another one created from scratch.e06d0b29d3e94965a193ecbcae0eeb87

This post could go on and on as I keep discovering more and more interesting vehicles but I think we’d better call a halt now for the time being. Apart from this cute little Multipla being used to advertise shoe and luggage repairs as a Media vehicle on the Mille Miglia.

Fiat Multipla copy

And finally before you ask – yes they did run the caravan before the 2014 Tour in the UK.Cambridge Caravan OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA tunbridge_wells UK uk2 uk3





Hot hot hot…

…the weather and the cars at the 20th anniversary Goodwood Festival of Speed.DSC00723

We had several days at the wonderful Goodwood Festival of Speed. Unfortunately there isn’t much point leaving ‘Mario’ parked in a dusty field so he stays at home. Starting on the Thursday which is the ‘Moving Motorshow’ day, this is much quieter and a good opportunity to have a look around without so many people, most of the displays seemed to be in position but it was only modern manufacturers using the hill for test drives.

This years central sculpture was celebrating 50 years of the Porsche 911, taller than ever the minimalist structure soared into the air over the house displaying three 911’s at the top.

Our favourite areas as usual were the Cathedral Paddock and the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe Lawn’ where some absolutely beautiful cars were on display. The fifty years of McLaren feature was also well designed and layed out using quotes and footage of the companies history and the late Bruce McLarens own experiences, the new road cars looked impressive.DSC00771DSC01201DSC01202

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DSC00553DSC00562 DSC01043 DSC01044The Bonham’s auction on Friday attracted a great deal of attention, especially when the 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R Formula 1 Single-Seater became the most valuable motor car ever sold at auction. The car that took five-time champion Juan Manuel Fangio to the second of his Formula 1 world titles achieved a record-breaking figure of £19,601,500 (US$29,650,095, €22,701,864). Although a very famous car with lots of history and the only one not owned by Mercedes it didn’t really look that impressive, it would be difficult to know what to do with it as if it was restored to be raced it would lose all the knocks and scrapes which are it’s history and value.DSC00599 DSC00616

The F1 teams were in attendance as usual with a good smattering of regular and test drivers, the F1 paddock is always so busy and nowhere near as open as in the early days of the FoS when you could chat (and cuddle!) current drivers of the time such as Eddie Irving, these days the drivers have their own minders and are whisked away from the crowds, still it’s closer than you’ll get to them anywhere else. On Thursday I took my Dad for his 80th birthday, he has been a lifelong McLaren fan and the team very kindly let him into their area to take some pictures with the cars, this is what makes Goodwood special.DSC00632 DSC00654 DSC00657 DSC00697

The cricket pitch had been transformed to a strip of desert with some of the greatest land speed cars, the great scene setting was helped by the blazing sun.DSC01425On Friday afternoon we made it up to the top of the hill to the rally stage, although rather dusty it was brilliant to see old and new rally cars being driven in anger.DSC00897 DSC00898 DSC00926 DSC00944

We had a day at home on Saturday but popped down in the evening to see the Ball Fireworks. Always spectacular, they fill the sky and following an amazing show with acrobats, water fountains, motorbikes and this year a McLaren car to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the event. DSC01099 DSC01130 DSC01140 DSC01145 DSC01155 DSC01183

There are loads of stalls, food and major car manufacturers there but I have to praise Ford for a fantastic stand. A ‘scaffold’ tower displaying their new cars with a roof complete with deckchairs for viewing and complimentary photographs and most welcome in the heat, an endless supply of orange lollies, we managed to be at the top for both the Red Arrows Display on Friday and the Eurofighter Typhoon on Sunday as well as watching the twenty years parade go up the hill.DSC00711DSC00822 DSC00832 DSC00858 DSC00863 DSC00876DSC01475DSC01480DSC01363DSC01367 DSC01368 DSC01370 DSC01385 DSC01400 DSC01401 DSC01406 - Version 2In all it was a relaxed and social weekend, meeting up with lots of friends while being surrounded by some of the world’s most extraordinary vehicles. The weekend finished with the prize giving when Lord March was joined on stage by some of motorsports greats – Sir Stirling Moss, Jochen Mass, Derek Bell, Jackie Ickx, Damon Hill, John Surtees, Emerson Fittipaldi, Kevin Schwantz, Emanuele Pirro, Dougie Lampkin and Peter Fonda. Afterwards we were treated to a set played by the Eagles lead guitarist Don Felder who had performed at the ball the previous night, a great end to a fabulous weekend – sipping champagne in the evening sunshine listening to Hotel California! DSC01513 DSC01523 DSC01540 DSC01547 DSC01570