The Goodwood Revival isn’t just one of the greatest classic motorsport events in the world – its car park just might be the most glamorous on the planet, as spectators from all over Europe bring their treasured classics to the event for other visitors to enjoy.
Two areas of the site combine to create the Revival Car Show, where literally thousands of classics each day are parked in two zones – Pre-’66 and Pre-Tax, which this year meant pre-1979 – to create a car park that would rival pretty much any classic car show, anywhere, as the fields fill with row upon row of classic delights, from the humble to the exotic, the (relatively) commonplace to the rare as hen’s teeth, the small to the mighty, and the quirky to the mundane.
As you might expect, there were numerous Jaguar XK’s and E-types, ditto Big Healeys, TR’s and various MG’s, and just like the main event itself, it’s impossible to convey a complete picture of the Revival Car Show, so with a few exceptions I’ll let the photographs do most of the talking.
I do want to pick out a few highlights though, and I’ll start with a car that I haven’t seen for many a year, a small FIAT family saloon built by NSU called the Neckar, named after the river that runs through NSU’s home city of Heilbronn. This very cute little car was brought over to Goodwood by Petra Leibfritz from Balingen in Baden Württemberg. She, her husband and friends had travelled over from Balingen for the weekend, a bi-annual ritual, in the 1960 Neckar/FIAT, a Porsche 356 and a FIAT 124 Spider – what a cool convoy that must have made! Petra has owned the car for just a couple of years, having decided she needed to downsize from her previous classic of twelve years – a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow!
As well as the Neckar, Germany provided a couple more of the lesser-spotted variety of classic in the car park – a Crayford-converted Audi 100LS Convertible in two-tone metallic blues and a well-patinated 1959 Auto Union 1000S Universal. Staying in Germany, it’s an established fact that ‘60s and ‘70s Opels are very cool, so it’s always great to see an Opel GT, even better to see a Manta A – this one a gold 1900 from 1975 – and exceptionally, a smart blue Opel Rekord A, over from Oberallgäu in Bavaria.
Quirkiness has of course long been a characteristic of French cars, such as the pale blue ’68 Citroën Ami 6 – in fact, almost any classic Citroën, including two Light 15 Cabriolets, one in bright red, the other in dark green. But the French didn’t just make quirky cars, they also created some truly beautiful ones, and a couple were to be found here – a very elegant 1939 Delage 3-litre and a 1960 metallic blue Facel Vega HK500 are not usually to be found in your local municipal car park.
Speaking of quirky, I only knew Vespa as the manufacturer of Italian scooters, but it seems they also turned their hand to making micro-cars, producing 34,000 examples of the Vespa 400 over a five-year span in France, not Italy – this was in order not to compete too closely with FIAT’s 500. These two 2.85m long, rear-engined two-seaters, generating 13 bhp that propelled the car to a top speed of just over 83km/h, had travelled over to Goodwood together from Paris, which must have been quite a journey in such tiny cars!
From the minute to the very large; Americana on display included a 1965 Buick Electra 225, 1939 Plymouth, a smart maroon 1963 Rambler Ambassador, an intimidating dark green 1967 Dodge Charger R/T, a French registered Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, a 1965 Pontiac Grand Prix convertible, and a 1965 Mercury Park Lane among others. But despite being held company by the more usual Mustangs and Corvettes too, it was still – unsurprisingly – Brits and Europeans that dominated the field.
There were quite a few rarities, such as a lovely 1935 Jensen-Ford convertible in black with red wire wheels. I also witnessed the entrance of a very stylish 1962 Triumph Italia coupé in metallic green – designed by Michelotti – and sticking with Triumph, a bright yellow and somewhat scruffy – restoration is apparently a work in progress – but very intriguing 1958 Triumph TR3A Mulsanne, a one-off built in London by coachbuilders Williams & Pritchard, who were also responsible for the Morgan Plus 4 SLR seen at Silverstone earlier this year. And I can’t ignore the three (of a total of 100 made) Gordon Keeble’s, big favourites here at ViaRETRO.
I had some fun playing my usual game of pairs, and the photo gallery will make many of them very obvious. Perhaps the most exotic of them all was a 1960 Ferrari 250GT and a 1970 365GTC parked together, although a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing and a 1966 230SL Pagoda, both in black, ran that duo close.
As always, I loved seeing my beloved yellow scattered around the fields like buttercups, including on a car I’d not seen it on before, one of West Bromwich’s finest, a Jensen Interceptor – but there was one car where even yellow didn’t work, and that was on a car I normally admire, an Alvis 3-litre. However, in this instance, bright yellow bodywork, yellow wheels and even yellow upholstery heaped too much indignity on one of the most elegant English classics.
There was so much more – this was the first time I’d been able to catch the Revival Car Show, which has definitely been my loss. It is genuinely spectacular and would be worth driving down to Goodwood for in its own right! Enjoy the photos…