On a sunny September in Sussex, there is a time machine called the Goodwood Revival. A real-life museum of speed, a garden party where Pimms and Castrol are consumed equally with vigour and zest. PC hasn’t been invented, petrol is without tether or conscience and gentlemen drive their cars like their heroes – the Spitfire pilots who danced with death only a couple of years before.
A “magical step back in time” describes it wonderfully. A revival of the best of English. Lord March and his team have created a truly magnificent event. Celebrating the golden age of motor sport, from 1948 to 1966. A recreation of all the romance and glamour of these years. When Aston Martin, Jaguar, Lotus and BRM fought it out with Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Mercedes. Battling sports cars and single seaters dive fearlessly into corners, sliding out the other side with their engines screaming. Rasping and coughing their thunder, these museum grade exhibits are being driven with passion by some of the legends of motor sport. The racing is surprisingly fierce, even in machinery that if it were a building would have a preservation order slapped on it.
Today’s Formula One is a very different discipline. Corporate branding and sponsorship are just as important as the driving. Gone are the days of the James Hunt school of motoring. Contemporary cars may be technologically superior, but somehow lack the flowing lines of the old school cars. The modern era of drivers may be fitter and reach for isotonic refreshments rather than a gin and tonic. Hamilton and Vettel prove that F1 is anything but dull, but the times have certainly changed, and not always for the good.
The Tally-Ho spirit lives on at Goodwood. There were some great aerial displays of Lancasters, Mustangs and of course the Spitfire, all paying homage to the brave young men who fought valiantly for freedom. Seeing a Spitfire curve through the air is a very special sight, one easily lost in dusty museums. Likewise, through out the world, collectible Ferrari or Aston Martin cars lie dormant and in coma, held in solitary confinement by investment groups and individuals. Under cover of dust sheets, the car may gain a few pounds, but seeing one driven in anger is truly priceless.