Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Why The Goodwood Revival is a motoring event every petrolhead should visit

THIS week I’ve managed to achieve something entirely new. I’ve been complimented by some Belgians, and it’s all thanks to a borrowed hat and a jacket bought in a charity shop in Southport.

Our continental chums had pulled up at something called the Goodwood Revival in an assortment of old Austin-Healey and Porsche sports cars, dressed like extras from Goodnight Sweetheart. They took a fleeting glimpse at the riot of tweed, smiled knowingly, and one of them, who’d just emerged from the cabin of a Jaguar XK120, said it all. “Fantastic outfit”!

The Belgians, the Dutch and the Swiss – and, to be fair, most of the English too if the nearby traffic jams were anything to go by – had all made a beeline for this corner of the deepest Sussex countryside. I reckon quite a few petrolheads in Sefton and West Lancashire did too, to check out what has to be the highlight of my motoring year to date.

The Goodwood Revival is one of those things you have to do at least once, because it’s quite unlike any event I’ve ever been to. To badly paraphrase an office cliché, you don’t have to wear period costume to go, but it helps. The whole weekend is designed to wind the clock back to about 1966, to a time when people would tune into the wireless on their Ford Anglia to catch the latest Cliff Richard record.

It’s marvellously silly, of course, but when you’re battling through a crowd of hippies, Teddy Boys and RAF airmen fresh from the Battle of Britain in a bid to get a glimpse of an E-type Jaguar, you really wouldn’t be In The Mood if you’d turned up in a GAP t-shirt and a pair of Levis.

As my mission there was to help get a hot report on all the action into the latest edition of Classic Car Weekly, I went overboard with the 1950s Fleet Street look, and brought along a tweed jacket which I’d bought from a charity shop in Southport the previous weekend. Combined with an equally tweed hat I’d borrowed off a mate, I actually felt like I’d wandered through the gates and back in time fifty years.

In fact, the retro attire helped me grant me an audience with perhaps the best known car of the Sixties – the very same Aston Martin DB5 used by Daniel Craig in Skyfall! I know Goodwood is miles away and the idea of going to a car show in fancy dress might sound ridiculous, but it’s worth it for the spectacle of seeing no less than 27 Ford GT40s in a row while a Supermarine Spitfire thunders overhead. I cannot recommend donning the tweed and going to Goodwood highly enough.

As Harold Macmillan might have put it, you never had it so good.

Read this week's edition of Classic Car Weekly for a full report on all the highlights and racing action from the Goodwood Revival

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