Report from the Goodwood Revival
For three days, September 13-15, the clock turned back to the glory days of postwar British motorsport at the inimitable Goodwood Revival. Racing, aviation, music and vintage fashions of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s came together on the Goodwood race circuit, outside Chichester, England, for what may well be the world’s premier historic automobile event. As in past years, the 2013 Goodwood Revival spotlighted a legendary race driver. Jim Clark, the Scottish wunderkind who won 25 races and two Formula One world championships before he died in a 1968 racing accident, took center stage this year. Clark’s groundbreaking win at the 1965 Indianapolis 500 is among his best-known victories, and The Henry Ford brought to Goodwood the Lotus-Ford Type 38 that he drove that day.
Once each day during the event, 36 cars associated with Clark’s career gathered on the track for an exciting parade lap around the 2.4-mile circuit. Dario Franchitti, a devoted Jim Clark fan and a three-time Indy 500 winner, drove our Type 38 in the parade. Some of Clark’s contemporaries, including Sir Jackie Stewart and John Surtees, also drove parade cars, making the tribute particularly special.
Significant though it was, the Jim Clark program was only one element at this year’s revival. Of particular interest to me was the 50th anniversary celebration of Ford’s GT40. Goodwood brought together 40 such cars, 27 of which competed in a 45-minute race complete with a mid-contest driver change. The GT40 dominated Le Mans in the late 1960s, and Goodwood’s collection included chassis #1046, the car that won the 1966 24-hour and started Ford’s reign. Appropriately enough, Goodwood displayed #1046 and several of its siblings in a recreation of the Le Mans pit building where they looked right at home.
Goodwood’s airfield housed two Royal Air Force fighter squadrons during World War II, so it’s only natural that vintage aircraft have a presence at the Revival too. The most impressive exhibit this year – for sheer size if nothing else – was a German-built 1936 Junkers JU 52. (With its three engines and corrugated aluminum skin, it bore more than a passing resemblance to a certain Ford aircraft of a decade earlier.) The Junkers flew several demonstration loops around the Goodwood grounds on Sunday. Few things can divert your attention from a vintage motor race, but a 1936 airplane with a 97-foot wingspan flying overhead will do it!
The Goodwood Revival is a magical experience. With so many historic automobiles and airplanes around you, and so many of the visitors and participants attired in period clothing, it’s quite easy to get lost in time. That wonderful vintage atmosphere is one of the two strongest memories I take from this year’s event. The other is of people jumping back startled whenever our Type 38 fired up. After all, 495 horses make a lot of noise!
Matt Anderson is Curator of Transportation at The Henry Ford
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