This weekend was our annual trip to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. We are lucky enough to live quite close to Goodwood so it is easy for us to get there without the cost of having to stay. This year I took my 81 year old Father, a lifelong motorsport fan, on Thursday to the Moving Motor Show as part of his birthday present. On Friday James and I went to the Bonham’s auction as James (a classic car restorer and broker) was looking at a car for a client. Saturday we had a day at home but popped down in the evening to see the Festival Ball fireworks and on Sunday we had another day at the event with a friend.
Regie the 4cv Renault in the enthusiasts car park, looks like we are at a country fete! Today this would be just off the cricket pitch right in the middle of the event.
The F1 paddock 1994
Stripy tape hold the crowds back in 1994
Many of the cars were parked outside the house.
Just a single row of short bales line the track
The event has changed a lot since the first one in 1993, in the early days it was very relaxed and a great opportunity to get close to famous drivers and see extraordinary cars never seen before in the UK. Unfortunately over the years the event has been a bit of a victim of it’s own success and the daily crowd of around 50,000 means it is very busy and good old ‘health and safety’ has meant more barriers and less access.
There used to be more older vehicles but since the addition of the Revival meeting in 1998 the Festival had gradually become more modern and technically based. While I enjoy being able to see the F1 and rally cars I’m really not interested in super cars and the crowds of excited ‘boys’ gathered round them. In the ‘old days’ one could actually meet and chat to the great drivers of yesteryear but now the modern F1 ‘stars’ are kept hidden away in hospitality and protected by minders, unfortunately rather necessary with the gaggle of team-wear clad fans clambering for autographs.
We are probably rather spoilt as we have been able to go to all but one of the 22 Festivals and hence there isn’t much new to see these days but don’t get me wrong, we do have a good time and it’s a great social event and an opportunity to catch up with our motoring friends far and wide. Despite the forecast the weather was good and sunny most of the time, I’d love to know what Lord March does to ensure such favourable conditions for the event, although it’s most likely just down to a micro-climate at the base of the South Downs.
Every year a manufacturer is celebrated with the sculpture outside the house, this year was Mercedes and it went right over the house. Not one of my favourites but it did grow on me over the weekend.
The Bonhams auction is very prestigious and attracts a large number of very valuable cars and automobilia. The sale achieved £22.6 million including a World Auction Record for a Ferrari Sports racing car when the 1954 Ferrari 375-Plus sold for £10.7 million. A 1902 De Dietrich sold for astounding £998,300 and one of the most iconic sports cars of the 20th Century – a 1975 Lamborghini Countach LP400 ‘Periscopio’ Coupé – sold for a new world record £953,500.
I thought that this Bonnet Mascot by Antoire Bofill from 1910 must have been seen by the creators of Shrek’s Puss in Boots.Vettel’s Helmet as worn at the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix and uniquely painted for the event was sold for charity and went for £20,000.
Mario loved this Golf cart moulded from a original Fiat Jolly. It was made in 2008 and used by Lord March at the 2008 Revival. Fiat looked into manufacturing a limited number but changed their mind 1935 Aston Martin Ulster My personal favourite was this 1939-40 Aston Martin Atom factory prototype concept car.In the middle of the auction marquee we saw this box in the floor protecting a rare orchid growing underneath.Manufacturers
Since the demise of the London Motor Show, Thursday’s Moving Motorshow has taken it’s place and perspective buyers can test drive new cars up the hill climb. Most of the major manufacturers attend and all vie with each other to attract the publics attention. Many new models are launched at the show and various concept cars are on display. The manufacturers stands have become very luxurious with multi stories and interactive features to entertain the family. Several of them have exclusive areas for owners on presentation of your keys. We had great hospitality from Jaguar including lovely little pies. Not so sure about a concept crossover Jaguar. Look at the size of those wheels! This Nissan concept was the result of a competition run around the world for young designers. Nissan were so impressed with the London teams designs that they had this concept built in three weeks. Another Nissan concept produced from the top results from a project where people around the world were asked to interactively design a car by making selections while wearing an virtual reality headset. Quite an interesting result with a retro feel but why in ‘hearing aid’ beige? Great lengths were taken to hide new cars to the moment of their unveiling but driving a covered car blind seemed to be taking it to new extremes.Formula 1
One of the big things about the FoS is that most of the F1 teams come along and run their ‘almost’ current cars. This year a bigger ‘pit lane’ had been added with more space which made it easier to see the cars although we didn’t venture anywhere near when the drivers were around. McLaren, Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, Williams and Renault were on all display. It is very interesting to see how the cars have developed and until you see them together what you consider being a modern formula 1 car such as this 1994 Benetton Ford, that Schumacher drove, now looks very old fashioned and many of them look incredibly wide.
Even at the festival, lots of kit was required. Current F1 cars are extremely complicated. It was nice to see that Williams have a tribute to Ayrton Senna on the nose. While the Mercedes has a rather cute little grill.
The ‘garages’ are very slick. The F1 cars attract the most attention, the worlds journalists and photographers gathered around the Ferrari awaiting festival newcomer Kimi Räikkönen!Part two to follow tomorrow (hopefully)…