Contents of this page
Dan Gurney called
Arriving in the Pre-1966 car park
Biba in the High Street
Celebrating the Cortina
St Mary's Trophy banger race
Night racing and Over the Road
Poking around the Paddock on Sunday
Sputnik in the photo gallery
New things I love
The High Street - especially De Longhi's coffee
Over the Road - now we all get to party
Organic Goodwood burgers
More static displays of cars
The ever-bigger Pre-1966 and now Pre-73 car park
Things I miss
Black and white signs saying 'Food'
Vintage harvesting in the infield
Watching Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, John Surtees and Barry Sheene racing
Standing at the fence on Lavant Corner - not peering over ranks of little folding chairs
Dan Gurney called!
One precious my memento from my career as a motoring journalist is a Post-It note in my husband’s writing saying ‘Dan Gurney called’.
We were playing phone tag for an interview back in 1998 to coincide with his appearance at the Festival of Speed and Revival. I’d called while he was in the shower. He called back quicker than I’d expected, and I’d nipped out.
This year he won’t be driving at the Revival, but he’s the subject of Goodwood’s annual driver tribute, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of his maiden Grand Prix victory.
One the day of the Post-It, I was nervous calling back, as I always am when speaking to a motor racing legend, but he was so charming. The nice thing about phone interviews, too, is that I could keep the image in my mind of the beautiful, dashing young man who raced Grands Prix, Indy, NASCAR, Le Mans and so many more; and created the sublimely stylish Gurney Eagles. (He's still handsome now.)
That year Lord March had Viva Dan Gurney! painted on the straight at the Festival of Speed.
He gave a lovely laugh as we talked about that bringing back the old days.He had plenty of memories of Goodwood, of driving the TT in a Ferrari and the Daytona Coupe in 1964, plus testing the Eagles. Of the Revival he said: “It’s
a tremendous window into the past, you see lots of people and for some reason, they all look a bit older. Even old enemies are friends now. The fans treat it all with such respect and are so absorbed, it’s fantastic.”
Which are his favourite cars? He said “I’m partial to the just pre-war cars, the very earliest looked like fire engines with big old wheels – maybe a Delage – and post-war Alfas. I’m just a child in a candy store (at Goodwood) I like cars that make a statement about an era. I’m a big fan of motorcycles, too, I’m fascinated by the sounds of all the different engines. I love to hear them rev up.”
Sunday's tribute was a tear-jerker as we got to hear Dan Gurney speak, then see him cruise past waving, leading an incredible parade of the cars he'd driven. Overhead a Thunderbolt and two P51 Mustangs roared past in tight formation barely above the treetops. Magic.
Making an entrance
People who know me know I don't really function before noon, but one of my Revival pleasures is arriving early at the Pre-1966 car park in our Tiger and watching the incredible parade of cars bumping over the grass.
Rarities follow the ubiquitous; the sublime lead in the ridiculous; gangs of Porsches and Ferraris, TRs or Bentleys arrive in convoy, possibly at the end of a jolly road trip. On Friday a hot rod pick-up sat between a Bentley and a Salmson. On Sunday, a Sweeney car was roped off with police incident tape.
As they pull in, open-top cars all have their lids down whatever the temperature. Hats are rammed firmly over ears; women shake out their brightly coloured scarves as they arrive and try to reflate their hairdo.
Once everyone is parked, ties are adjusted, waistcoats given a tug, shoes changed. Some get out the picnic, the champagne cooler and the woolly blanket to sit on. Once Jay Kay pulled up behind us, and what seemed like hundreds of friends fell out of his Merc limousine like students wedged into a Mini. I loved the two women in a TR, wearing full skirts, touching up their lipstick in the side mirrors.
There’s anticipation for a fine day ahead, and a sense of relief. Only a fool or a novice assumes their classic car will always get there. It's reassuring there are RAC vans patrolling offering free help.
Biba on the High Street
When I was 13, my mum took me to ‘big Biba’ in Kensington High Street. It was like walking into a Hollywood movie, the rich chocolate brown décor, mirrors and gorgeous lamps giving the massive ground floor a sepia tinge. There were islands groaning with make-up, coloured ostrich feathers and glittery things. Downstairs the own-label food was displayed in giant baked bean tins; the fish were on a boat.
I fell in love with it, from the giant record player to the leopard print rooms and the restaurant in the Rainbow Room where David Bowie would later shoot his ‘Blue Jean’ video come short film.
Barbara Hulanicki’s clothes mixed 1930s with platforms and glittery disco fabrics, but somehow it worked. I think I cried when it closed. I still have an empty red currant wine bottle, a Viennese coffee tin and assorted
cards and address books from the logo shop. My proudest purchase was a blue felt cloche hat, which never fitted. I gave it to the Zandra Rhodes fashion museum in 2004.
Now House of Fraser has brought Biba back, and there was a Biba shop (well tent) in the Goodwood High Street. It was good to see the logos, the feathers and a hint at its former glory, but without Barbara's brilliance, a lot of the stock is disco tacky.
Celebrating the Cortina
While admiring the display for the Cortina's 50th anniversary, I was checking out all the number plates. MRK 538D was the first of my dad’s cars that I remember and the only one with any cred (it was preceded by a Standard 9 and followed by a sorry parade of Hillman Hunters and Austin Ambassadors).
I loved that car. I was allowed to sit in it without the key. So I’d sit behind the slim hoop of a wheel bouncing on the red vinyl seat making broom broom noises.
I used to admire the shapely fin of an interior door handle, the rear lights (I’d never seen a no nukes poster at this point) and the soft beige paintwork. Our neighbour’s car had trafficators, but ours had blinking lights to tell people where we were going.
My sister and I would sit up on the rear bench seat as we roared over the concrete road between Romford and Chelmsford to visit
Grandad. We would start with “There were 100 in the bed and the little one said…”
We were sick on the seats quite a bit, too. Parents don’t know what sat-nav and rear-sear DVDs have done for their quality of life.
My other memory of the Cortina is Hattie’s fleet of Glamcabs in Carry On Cabbie. They’ve been at the Revival for a few years now with their flirty drivers.
I wasn’t aware of the Cortina’s sporting prowess with Lotus and Jim Clark until some years later. I just knew I wanted one when I grew up. In fact, the last time my parents bought a car, they were grumbling because they couldn’t have another (it was in 2008).
Former Top Gear producer Russell Hayes has produced an excellent book Ford Cortina The Complete History
Goodwood Revival used to be a motor racing event where people liked to dress to match period of the track. Now I swear there are people shopping, bopping and having their hair done who have no idea there's any racing going on.
I'm torn about that. I love the cars and want racing to remain the core of this unique event, but I do love watching the people, too. The details in people's costumes are amazing. Some gather accessories over years to create the perfect look. One woman had ordered a gorgeous reproduction suit from a website in China. A pair of Berliners had had immaculate Pan Am uniforms made in recognition of the airline's part in the Berlin airlift. Some people, of course, dress in period all the time. Others have hired the lot. Whatever they do, it makes this weekend unique.
St Mary's Trophy
The St Mary's trophy is my favourite race. I love watching cars with bums battling like grannies at a jumble sale.
This year was fairly hilarious. Grant Williams is always a star, and was drifting his 1959 Jag Mk1 across the track and wagging its tail. However, it was hard to beat Richard Shaw heading across the grass, though the haybales, deep into the field, then coming straight back out again to carry on racing.
Such a pity the big old Jag MkVII spun right in front of us at Lavant. It was amusing at the time, but the safety car came out and we watched a parade for half the race. The cars only got on the gas again for about five minutes. We felt distinctly cheated, I'm sure the owner-drivers did too.
NB There are some dubious entries, these days: Metropolitan, Volga, Tatra really?
Oh what a night
Friday night was pure magic. We stood on the grass bank at St Mary's to watch the 90-minute Freddy March Memorial trophy. The sun sank behind the trees and headlamps burned as C-types, DB3s and beauties including a Cunningham C4R and Ferrari 750 Monza hammered round Woodcoat Corner and past our vantage point. We were rooting for the funny-looking but speedy Cooper Bristol Mk2 T24/5.
Afterwards in previous years, the posh people have headed for the ball while the grockles shuffle sadly back to their cars. This year we joined the gang Over the Road.
We had very tasty Thai grub at the food court, listening to the rock and roll blasting out and watching people dance, drink and have a great time. It's the first time I've ever wished I was camping there.
One of the attractions this year was the Shelby Cup. It was sad Carroll Shelby couldn't be there to see the Cobras. Personally, though, I was sadder that we couldn't be there either.
We had to go to a blasted family wedding on Saturday, so we missed it. We also missed the practice on Friday because the events were running late and I'd arranged to do some filming right when they went out.
Never mind, we thought, there'll be some in the TT. Nope. Presumably because they were already in the Cobra race.
Mind you, Mr Shelby wouldn't have been too happy seeing them listed in the race guide as AC Cobras. I interviewed him for Classic Cars some years ago and he was insistent that they were all, and always Shelby Cobras.
A poke around the paddock
It was late, we looked confident and wandered straight in. We got to gaze up-close at some beautiful old machines such as the Eagle-Offenhauser, right, and some plug ugly ones such as Old Yeller, far right, and Maserati Tipo 151/3 below. I loved the kiddie cars. I wish I'd seen them race along the straight.
Some nice pics that haven't found a home previously