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
Last month The Henry Ford participated in the Goodwood Revival, near Chichester, England. The annual festival is held on the grounds of the historic Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit, once one of Britain’s premier tracks, and it celebrates motorsport as it was during the circuit’s 1948-1966 operating life. This year’s Revival paid special tribute to legendary American race driver and builder Dan Gurney, and we sent our Ford Mark IV in which Gurney and A.J. Foyt won the 1967 Le Mans.
I could justifiably call the Goodwood Revival “beyond description,” but that wouldn’t make for a very satisfying blog post! Instead, I’ll start with the basic numbers. Some 146,000 people attended the three-day event, and they were treated to more than 600 race and road cars of every description. More than a dozen races pitted many of these cars against each other on the Goodwood track.
Beyond the cars, a sizeable collection of World War II vintage aircraft occupied another section of the grounds – when they weren’t circling overhead in tight formation. The planes weren’t so out of place as you might think. The Goodwood Circuit evolved from a Royal Air Force station built during the war, so a Submarine Spitfire was perfectly at home there.
Even with all of those cars and airplanes, the Revival’s signature element arguably is period dress. Visitors and participants alike are encouraged to wear mid-20th Century clothing and, from what I saw, the majority of them did so eagerly. (Conservation Specialist Robert Coyle and I wore replicas of Ford Racing’s 1967 Le Mans crew uniform, while Executive Vice President Christian Øverland wore a Mad Men-ready black suit.) The cars and clothing, combined with the wonderfully-preserved track, created a perfect time capsule. It was easy to imagine that the calendar had rolled back 50 years.
Revival visitors were extremely knowledgeable and many recognized the Mark IV on sight. While some were disappointed that it wasn’t running around the track under its own power (we keep the car in its original, as-raced condition, and returning it to operation would require replacing parts), everyone was grateful to The Henry Ford for bringing it back to their side of the Atlantic. It was a genuine privilege for us to participate in what may be the world’s most unconventional car show. I hope to return – but with a natty fedora next time!
By Matt Anderson, Curator of Transportation at The Henry Ford and newly-minted fan of steak and ale pie
The Goodwood Revival is world renowned for celebrating the living history of motor sports. One of the great stories of this year's Revival is the 45th anniversary of the Ford Mk IV win at Le Mans. Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt were the first American drive team and all-American car to win the 24 hours of Le Mans race. This incredible win was supported by the best team in the business, led by Carroll Shelby.
Many obstacles were overcome to win the race, including the failed windshields of the Ford cars, which were cracking just days before the race was about to start. The millions of dollars that Ford had spent to win Le Mans and beat Ferrari were at risk, because the cars could not be allowed to run with damaged windshields. Ford immediately had a new set of windshields made in the United States and flew them all in first-class seats on a commercial airliner to France. Ford then flew in Terje Johansen, a Norwegian glass engineer living in Brussels, to install the windshields to ensure they would not crack again. Terje worked from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. installing the windshields just hours before the start of the race.
The rest was, of course, history.
Today Terje Johansen, pictured on the left and Dan Gurney, pictured on the right met for the first time - 45 years later after the famous win at Le Mans. Terje Johansen brought a set of photographs taken while he was installing the windshields at Le Mans and gave them to Matt Anderson, our Curator of Transportation for the Racing in America archives as part of our Collections to further document the process of innovation in racing.
Here at The Henry Ford, we participate in a lot of car shows. From the events we host here, like Motor Muster and Old Car Festival, to those organized by members of the car enthusiast community, we love to show off the cars in our collection. While our presenters dress the part for events held in Greenfield Village, it’s not everyday that our team dresses the part of a 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans pit crew just to be able to gain access to a car show.
This week our Executive Vice President Christian Overland, Curator of Transportation Matt Anderson, and Conservation Specialist Robert Coyle took a step back to the 1960s and left Dearborn for West Sussex, England, to take part in the Goodwood Revival, a car festival celebrating post-World War II (1948 to 1966) road racing automobiles and motorcycles.
The Revival started in 1995 as a throwback to the original days of racing on the Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit. Races stopped at the track in 1966. Today vintage clothing is a must and you won’t see a modern day car anywhere on site.
Our THF team accompanied our 1967 Ford Mark IV in tribute to racing legend Dan Gurney, who’s being honored at this year’s revival. Dan and his co-driver A.J. Foyt wheeled the Mark IV to victory in the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans. While the Revival allows cars only from 1948 to 1966, our 1967 Ford was considered very important in the celebration of Dan’s achievements and was allowed to be displayed.
A big part of the preparation for the Revival was making sure our team had period-correct clothing to wear on site. Robert and Matt are dressed as 1967 Mark IV pit crew members. Our research team, led by Jeanine Miller, Curator of Domestic Life, used photos from the race to make sure every piece of the outfits was correct. In addition to the photos, our Senior Curator of Transportation Bob Casey spent time talking with Charles Agapiou, a Ford mechanic at LeMans in 1967 to insure the accuracy of the clothing.
What exactly do their outfits look like?
Burgundy short-sleeve shirt with orange buttons: Matt and Robert’s shirts were purchased from Lands End. But our period clothing department expertly tailored the shirts to recreate the more fitted look of the mid-1960s.
Blue on a white background Ford oval patch: We had these custom made locally for the work shirts to match the special patches worn at LeMans in 1967.
White pants: Lands End jeans were tailored to be shorter for a decade-appropriate look.
Chukka boots: The mechanics often wore these to provide some ankle support.
Christian is dressed as an American businessman traveling with the racing team. Jeanine outfitted Christian in a vintage 60s-era sport coat; new, but decade-appropriate slacks; and a fedora from our period clothing shop. His ensemble is topped off by the classic 60s skinny tie.
For the visitors to the Goodwood Revival, the three-day event is a celebration of an era gone by. We’re proud to be a part of it – hopefully we’ve played the part as authentically as possible!
To see what this weekend's action was like, take a look at their streaming feed.