A trip to the ‘big city’…

LCCSLast weekend we made a rare visit to London to the London Classic Car Show, held in Excel in the Docklands. After a horrible train journey – 90 minutes longer than scheduled into London – which made us very glad we have given up commuting, it was an easy underground and Docklands Light Railway trip to the exhibition centre.

We had been invited as guests of our clients GaugePilot who were exhibiting at the show. GaugePilot is a very sophisticated in-car information system, with multiple applications for Classic, Rally and Race cars. Designed to look just like a 1950’s SpeedPilot, the unit offers several types of rally computer and was recently tested by James on the Winter Trial with great success. James has been working with GaugePilot to develop some of the rally applications and he is an authorised installer.

With up to 25 different gauges giving classic drivers peace of mind, the system constantly monitors the critical outputs of the engine and alerts can be set to allow the driver to stop before expensive damage is occurred. The GP also can also take the drama out of maintenance by storing all maintenance information and alert when routine servicing is due. For track use the system can life monitor critical components and data-logging software allows a driver or mechanic to recall and analyse how an engine has performed and review any triggered alerts.

GaugePilot are a new British company who are attracting a lot of interest. Here’s a picture of Rauno Altonen with GaugePilot when it was fitted in Brother Regie the Renault at Goodwood and in the Volvo on the Winter Trial at night.gp-rauno gp-winter-trialDSC06689

It’s been some years since we have been to a Classic Car show and there were some interesting things to see although a lot of the stands were high end dealers selling beautiful but slightly boring Jags, Porsches and the like.  The USP of the London Show is the ‘Grand Avenue’ a road through the middle of the show where cars are actually driven. This year it was set up as the 6 nations and countries competed for the public vote to who had produced the most iconic cars. I believe that Britain won! It’s quite a nice idea but in an exhibition centre the noise especially the commentary and the music was so loud you couldn’t hear yourself talk during the demonstrations which I imagine the dealers found very irritating.

Here are some pics of the cars I found interesting…

The Japanese section of the 6 nations was the most interesting, with this lovely Honda S800, cute Toyota sports 800, rare Nissan Skyline GTR and an unseen before Daihatsu Compagno Berlina 800. All really interesting and unusual.DSC06664 DSC06665 DSC06666DSC06669 DSC06667 DSC06668DSC06670 DSC06671 There were some lovely little 500’s for sale and although expensive seemed better value than some I’ve seen. I thought the little luggage rack would look good on Mario (or Nippy) but James felt it would cause too much loss of air flow to the engine.DSC06672 DSC06673 DSC06674 Bob Peterson’s recreations are amazing, I had to take a picture of this Birkin Bentley as we called our latest cat Birkin after Sir Tim Birkin (Our older cat is called Bentley)DSC06675 DSC06679 DSC06680 One of my favourite stalls although not motoring related was the City of London Distillery, I love artisan gins and these were very good, made in the City of London, under Blackfriars bridge, the lovely bottle is shaped to look like the dome of St Paul’s. I can feel the need for another trip to London to visit the Distillery.DSC06686 There were a few new cars dotted around including this eye-catching Fiat Abarth.DSC06690 An interesting display of McLaren F1’s with some great information, stories and bits of memorabilia around from the early days of Gordon Murray designing the car.DSC06691 DSC06692 DSC06693 DSC06695 DSC06696 The car I would ‘most like to buy’ was this lovely Fiat Giardiniera but no price tag!DSC06697 DSC06699 DSC06700

So our first ‘car’ event of the year and it’s now less than a month to the Goodwood Members Meeting so 2016 is now officially underway… watch this space, Mario will soon be out to play!

Incredible Installations…

Since our latest visit to the Goodwood Festival of Speed I’ve been meaning to do a post on the central installation. Now eagerly awaited each year a giant sculpture outside the house pays homage to a marque celebrating an anniversary. The first one appeared in 1997 and over the years they have become more and more elaborate. A merging of art and the automobile, each one is unveiled to great acclaim and has become a key focal point and signature of each year’s Festival.

While flicking through my photo library looking for images for this blog I could tell instantly which years I preferred – by the number of pictures I had taken! The ones that appealed most I had been drawn back to throughout the festival weekend, taking pictures as the light and weather changed and from different angles. My personal favourite was the Lotus display from 2012 but more of that later.

1997
The first central feature was put together for Ferrari to celebrate their 50th anniversary, they displayed their F1 F310B car hanging from a triumphant arch sitting in an ‘Italian garden’. While at the time it was impressive and very different who knew what it would lead to in the next 17 years.1997-2 1997

1998
Porsche followed Ferrari the following year also celebrating fifty years of car manufacture. This was designed by Gerry Judah a British artist and designer, who has gone on to create the central feature every year after. Judah mesmerised festival visitors with his inaugural installation featuring five iconic racing Porsche impaled on Giant spikes, including the ‘Pink Pig’.1998-2 1998

1999
The first Audi display was jaw dropping, depicting the banking of the Avus racing track with a Avus Quattro concept car, an Auto Union Type C and a replica Streamliner representing the future as well as the past of the company. It had a real feeling of movement.1999-1 Festival of Speed 1999 - Audi Central Display

2000
Jaguar’s ‘Cats Craddle’ displayed six of the companies cars to celebrate their F1 debut.2000-day 2000

2001
Mercedes Benz make their first appearance to celebrate their100th anniversary. Supposed to resemble a gush of liquid, falling and spreading as it hits the ground the installation only featured one car right at the top of the structure – a 300SL I believe belonged to auctioneer  Robert Brooks who was supposedly only told it was going to be ‘on display’ at Goodwood but not actually told where! This was the first of the installations to come into it’s own when it was illuminated at night.2001-day 2001-day2 2001-night2 2001

2002
The FoS was becoming renowned for it’s F1 displays and Renault’s comeback was honoured as the feature in 2002, a huge ‘feather’ in front of the house displayed Renault and Renault powered F1 cars.2002-1 2002-day 2002

2003
One of the most spectacular installations of the lot. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Ford, it depicted the 1966, 24 Hours of Le Mans and the famous 1, 2, 3 finish for the Ford GT40. The biggest sculpture constructed for the Festival up to that point, it featured three Ford GT40s racing along a breathtaking silver ‘racetrack’ seemingly materialising from the blue skies above. At various times the ‘track’ was sprayed with water to represent the rain in the race. This made it the first installation that you could ‘feel’!2003-1 2003-2 2003-3 2003

2004
Rolls-Royce who had opened their factory at Goodwood the year before were celebrating their 100th anniversary. This feature celebrated the Rolls-Royce heritage in record breaking vehicles on land (Campbell-Railton Bluebird), sea (Bluebird K4) and air (Supermarine).2004 2004-6 2004-5 2004-3

2005
Honda celebrated 40 years of grand prix success with its installation inspired by the Japanese tradition of kinetic sculpture. Consisting of six racing cars seemingly swaying in the wind on giant pivots, way above festival-goers’ heads.2005-1 2005-2 2005-3 2005-night 2005

2006
Personally the least impressive feature, well at least visually – commonly known as the ‘Pringle’ – featuring Renault again this time celebrating 100 years of their involvement in Grand Prix racing the installation didn’t show any cars but was an acoustic covering for a display of Formula One cars underneath. Designed to channel sound, Renault had produced software so they could make the cars play God Save the Queen in engine notes.2006-1 2006

2007
Toyota was honouring its 50 years in international motorsport and celebrating the companies 75th anniversary. The 40-metre high sculpture was inspired by Japan’s traditional torii gates, it was so tall that a warning light had to be installed on top so that the Red Arrows air display team knew not to fly too low during their display.2007-1 2007-2 2007

2008
We never saw this one in the flesh as we were on the Liege-Brescia-Liege Microcar rally but it certainly looked impressive and very different in the photographs. Celebrating the 60th anniversary of Land Rover it resembling a giant, man-made “rock”, showing off the marque’s rugged off-road ability to the full – 40 feet above the ground.2008-night 2008

2009
Audi were back again with a tall elegant structure to celebrate their 100th anniversary. Depicting the ‘road’ from the the 1937 Auto Union Streamliner to the new Audi R8 V10 forming a loop in front of the house. Standing 135-feet tall and weighing 40 tonnes the piece was made entirely in steel and supported itself without braces or cables.2009-1 2009-2 2009

2010
The 100th anniversary of Alfa Romeo. Forming a ‘Four Leaf Clover’ in the red livery of the Italian car firm, it holds an 1925 Alfa Romeo P2 and a 2003 8C Competizione. Standing at 18.5 m high and 25 m across, the sculpture is made from 12 tonnes of steel and features 32 steel sections. For the first time the installation minus the cars was moved to the nearby CASS sculpture park on the estate after the FoS.2010-1 2010-2 2010-3 2010-4

2011
The only other FoS we have missed (a special party in France), but it certainly looked impressive. The sculpture is a homage to the Jaguar E-type, 50 years after the famous sports car was unveiled. The dramatic 28 metre-highcar weighed 150 tonnes – equivalent to 122 regular E-types! Jaguar’s parent company, Tata, supplied the 450km of steel that was required to make the giant model. This was the first and so far the only installation that didn’t feature a ‘real’ car.2011

2012
In my view the best ever, the 2012 feature celebrated Lotus Cars, past present and future. The sculpture itself is a 150m ‘winding road’ that has been tied into a trefoil. With four classic Formula 1 cars. The construction resulted in a sculpture that is 98% empty space. In automobile terms this would be a monocoque body, a tribute to the legendary designer and Lotus founder Colin Chapman’s introduction of monocoque chassis construction to automobile racing. I just couldn’t keep away from this installation, whenever you looked at it the light made it look different.DSCN7808 DSCN7840 DSCN7843 DSCN7894 DSCN7905 DSCN7923 DSCN8059 DSCN8069 DSCN8071 DSCN8078 DSCN8085 DSCN8091 DSCN8283 DSCN8284 DSCN8285 DSCN8316 DSCN8323

2013
Porsche celebrating 50 years of the 911 with three different model 911’s on the top of three structures, at 34 metres this was the highest installation ever.2013-1 2013-2 2013-3 2013-4 2013-5 2013-6 2013-night

2014
The most complex and ambitious installation yet conceived and it was a fitting celebration of 120 years of motorsport heritage by Mercedes-Benz. Swooping over Goodwood House, the 45 metre curve tested the artistic and engineering ingenuity of a team of specialists. Two cars spanning 80 years of Mercedes-Benz cross in front of the house, a replica of the 1934 Mercedes-Benz W 25 Silver Arrow and a Mercedes F1 W04, the same chassis raced by Lewis Hamilton in 15 Grands Prix in 2013.2014-1 2014-2 2014-3 2014-4 2014-6 2014-7 2014-8 2014-9 2014-11 2014-night

So there we have it 17 unique and beautiful installations, I’m sure we all have our favourites, my top three would be 3rd – 1999 Audi, 2nd – 2003 Ford GT40, 1st – 2012 Lotus. We will have to wait and see if 2015 changes that. Maybe one year, Mario will get asked to perch on a pedestal high above Goodwood House!