Sorry for the delay, sometimes life just takes over but in the last month we did manage to get a couple of days at the Festival of Speed. Local to us, we have been attending the FoS since the first event back in 1993 and boy has it changed… in the early years it was a glorified fete with fabulous cars! You’d sit by the side of the track with your picnic and enjoy the spectacular sight as the history of motorsport blasted past. These days it is all a little different, more corporate, more sales orientated, more modern. With the Revival and Members Meeting taking over the historical aspects, the Festival concentrates more on modern motorsport and supercars. As such it has become much less appealing to us but still worth a couple of days looking for the gems and socialising with our car loving friends.
This year we went on the Thursday to the Moving Motorsport day as we get free tickets with our GRRC membership and then on the Sunday. Although the weather wasn’t perfect we managed to avoid too much rain and with local knowledge made the trip without too many delays.
In more recent times the Cartier Style et Luxe concours d’elegance has been one of our favourite displays and although this year it seemed to be lacking in that totally ‘Wow’ display, there was still a lot to entertain us. Of most interest was the Alpine ‘Pass and Present’ class showcasing a selection of the Renault derivative Alpine Sportcars. This 1954 Prototype was based on the 4cv with a coach built body by Giovani Michelotti and had many similarities to our own ‘Regie’ the 4cv. This is the first of three prototypes built and is still owned by Jean-Charles Rédélé founder of Alpine. One of only 30 this lovely 1965 Alpine A110 Cabriolet is based on a Renault 8. Regie would love to have a set of the wheel spinners! Without the money to develop the export market in the 60’s, Alpines were developed with partners abroad, this version with Willys Overland who built Dauphines in Brazil. Called the Willys Interlargos after the Brazilian GP Circuit. This one was restored for Retromobile in 2015. A 1977 A110 SX Berlinetta, the last of the 7579 Dieppe Built A110’s Wasn’t that keen on the 1977 Mérignac, too wedge shaped for me.For somebody who isn’t very fond of new cars this was fantastic, a prototype for a new Alpine going into production next year… I need one! The Alpine Vision was wonderful with some great details which unfortunately will probably never make it to the production model. Check out the wonderful logo shaped red key.
Other classes included Pioneering Lancias which were lovely, especially the 1959 Lancia Flaminia 2500 Sport Zagato and the 1933 Lancia Pininfarina Cabriolet ‘Bocca’ both below; The Dawn of Motoring; and Legendary Lamborghini’s which are too angular for my liking although I liked the Green 1971 Miura SV which won the overall prize. While we are talking retro style new cars… I also loved this new Fiat Abarth 124 Spyder. Here at the Moving Motor Show you can see the original Fiat 124 Rally car and the new 300bhp rally version which will be built to customer order for competition in FIA’s R-GT class in 2017. Being test driven up the hill was the road going version of the small roadster. Based on a Mazda MX5 it was a seriously cute modern sportscar.The defining feature of each years Festival is the central display, this year it was celebrating 100 years of BMW. As usual it was designed by Gerry Judah and this year’s was the biggest yet. The huge sweeping structure displayed the legendary BMW 328 Mille Miglia Roadster, the 1999 Le Mans-winning BMW V12 LMR, and the Gordon Murray-designed Brabham-BMW BT52 Formula One car which finished third in the 1983 championship.
While impressive it was almost too big and quite difficult to see the whole thing, especially when the event is so busy. The effect wasn’t helped by the inclement weather, I’m sure it would have looked better against a beautiful blue sky!
Also from BMW were a couple of examples of their ‘Art Cars’. I must confess to not knowing much about these before but they were great. Introduced by French driver and auctioneer Hervé Poulin, the first one was commissioned in 1975 when American artist Alexander Calder painted the BMW 3.0 CSL that Poulain would race at Le Mans. Many famous artists have been involved including David Hockney, Frank Stella (below), Roy Lichtenstein (below) and Andy Warhol.
Out and about in the paddocks and on the hill were a few gems. Perennial favourite the 1991 rotary engined Le Mans Mazda 787B, affectionately known as the Argyll Sock due to it’s distinctive paintwork.Some amazing 1930’s Mercedes Streamliners, very difficult to photograph. We popped into the Preview on the Bonhams Auction. This 1948 Aston Martin DB Team Car was one of the star lots. After a distinguished racing career the car was waiting for restoration when it was stolen from a garden in 2002. It was ‘found’ and returned to the original owner’s descendants recently and fetched £679,100 at the auction.A charity auction was held for this unique British Pop Art Bentley, this unique Continental GT V8 S Convertible was a collaboration between Bentley Motors and the godfather of British Pop Art, Sir Peter Blake. It raised £250,000
Advertising a future sale this amazing 1929 Megola 640cc Touring Bike has a front wheel mounted engine. The bike is part of an extraordinary collection owned by the late Robert White which are being auctioned to raise money to create a new cancer treatment centre. As you will know we are not awfully fond of Supercars but I did quite like the look of the new Bugatti Chiron, the successor to the Veyron. Loved the way the chrome door surrounds reflected the ‘C’ in the logo, although I suspect the car was designed first and the name and logo came second! The Aston Martin Vulcan also created quite a lot of interest. This year the bikes were quite interesting. The totally mad Puma Gulf drag bike can go from 0 to 235mph in 5.8 seconds but couldn’t show that performance on the winding hill climb course. Filmstar Keanu Reeves created quite a stir riding the rather strange looking Arch KRGT-1 bike made by his own company. Unfortunately we never got to see the Yamaha ‘Triple’ on the track – a drag racer powered by three twin-cylinder engines.Once again a star of the weekend was the magnificent ‘Beast of Turin’. The fiat S76 is huge and it’s massive engine spits flames. Even better the owner drives it to Goodwood from his home. One of the best stands at the Festival was Honda which was a ‘perfect’ full size reproduction of the classic 1970’s Fisher Price Toy garage. The Mercedes F1 car made a great ‘picture’ on the wall. We also had the rather surreal experience of seeing Nico Rosberg being interviewed – he’s the tiny figure on the right of the huge on-screen image.
It wouldn’t be the Festival of Speed without an impressive firework display and they didn’t disappoint.
Maybe FoS 2016 wasn’t a classic but we still had an enjoyable couple of days and saw some interesting stuff. So roll on September and the Revival – Mario is all signed up for taxi duties and is looking forward to meeting up with friends old and new.