21 September 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Event report – 2012 Goodwood Revival

The annual Goodwood Revival celebrates motorsport and racing glories in a pre-1970 world. On 16 September, Rich Gooding donned his tank top and flat cap, headed to Chichester and stepped back into a bygone era…

We don’t just like Polos here at PoloDriver.com. As I’ve advanced in years, the more I appreciate older four-wheeled machinery, so when the chance to reacquaint myself with the time-warp event that is the Goodwood Revival, it was too good an opportunity to turn down. I last attended the historic race meeting around 10 years ago, and always intended to once again mingle with the vintage-costumed folk down in Chichester on Lord March’s country estate. Celebrating pre-1970 motorsport glories makes the Goodwood Revival somewhat special in an enthusiast’s book, especially as event-goers are encouraged to dress up on full-on vintage regalia. I didn’t participate on my last visit, but this time, tank top and flat cap were put on, to take part in the event fully.

2012 Goodwood Revival: St Mary's Trophy

As soon as you step through the car park gates, you are immersed into the bygone Goodwood Revival experience. It’s so impressive how many attendees run the complete gamut with their costumes – 1930s fighter pilots rub shoulders with ‘60s Pan Am pilots and crew (complete with authentic bags!), while fur-coated ladies hang onto the arms of their trilby-toting partners. Should you forget your costume, there are numerous stalls inside the event from which to find a replacement, in addition to vintage nick-nack outlets, car brochure and press photo shops, and even a recreation of a 1950s/1960s Tesco store, complete with repro groceries! With other buildings styled to represent a 1950s Earls Court and 1960s BMW and Mini dealerships, the attention to detail really is superb.

Of course, a major draw for the 146,000 people that attended this year was the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ gathering of Silver Arrows racing cars from Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Housed in a specially-built recreation paddock, the 1930s racers were certainly an impressive sight. But it’s the racing which also plays a major part in the Goodwood Revival meeting. We caught the 1950s touring car race, the St Mary’s Trophy, which pitted small Austin A40s against mighty Jaguar saloons, not to mention a fearsome elongated Saab 99-alike Tatra T603 from the Czech Republic with the largest exhausts I have ever seen!

Another aspect of the Goodwood Revival is the Freddie March Spirit of Aviation, a prestigious concours d’elegance for historic aircraft. Almost as enjoyable to walk around as the displays of cars (and just as pretty as some of their land-based counterparts), the be-winged behemoths attracted just as much attention. 2012’s Revival also saw the 50th anniversaries of both the AC Cobra and Ferrari 250 GTO sports cars with displays and track time devoted to each. The rather more humble Ford Cortina also celebrated the same historic birthday, and there were examples of the saloon dotted around the main infield. The RAC is a big sponsor of the Goodwood Revival, and so provided older vehicles from its fleet for the public to inspect – a blue Ford Anglia in particular got its fair share of attention.

With displays of bygone aircraft overhead and the sound and smell of historic racing cars, the Goodwood Revival really is a convincing step back in time. Where else can you eat cake and drink tea in the NAAFI tent and watch 1950s Butlins Redcoats dance to Doo-Wop singers, for example? That’s precisely why I like the event – it’s a chance to escape modern life and soak up the atmosphere of a golden age. And it even extends to the roads surrounding the meeting, too. We were in convoy with an MGB, a Jaguar E-Type and a Ferrari 250 leaving the event, and with Dusty Springfield on the CD player, the Ferrari’s exhaust note bouncing off the sunlit village walls and people waving from outside pubs as the cars drove by, it was a drive home to remember, too. See our gallery for what tickled our fancy.

[Images: Rich Gooding, Audi, Ford Motors and Goodwood]

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