Time-warp: the Goodwood Revival motoring festival celebrates its 17th year

Goodwood Revival motoring festival celebrates its 17th year
The Goodwood Revival saw the golden age of motor racing celebrated for a 17th year, with both drivers and cars from the past showcased on the track
(Image credit: press)

For one weekend every September, a little piece of England goes back in time to celebrate the golden age of motor racing. Even before you enter Goodwood’s historic racing circuit gates on the south coast near Chichester, the feeling of time-travel starts to hit home. As we arrive outside, the vehicle before us in the drop-off queue is an old Second World War army truck. Once the handbrake is on, the driver – in a full British military uniform – rushes straight round to the back, opens up the canvas flaps and helps his glamorous period-costume lady passengers disembark via a rickety old wooden ladder. No-one bats an eyelid. Because we’re at the Goodwood Revival…

Once inside, the vast majority of visitors are dressed up in fashions that would have been typical of Goodwood’s golden age as a racing venue from 1948 to 1966 and come to the annual event – now in its 17th year – to watch classic cars race, revel in a little nostalgia and maybe buy a pair of string-backed gloves or a vintage petrol pump from one of the many stalls that surround the track.

It’s not just for old folk either. Young, or young-at-heart, hipsters get to show-off the current state of their large and twirly moustaches and beards, teamed up with outfits more suited to the decades their facial hair styles were invented for; 1950s throwbacks show off their latest vintage wardrobe finds; and there’s even a classic pedal-car race for the kids. Everyone seemed to be having fun, and taking the fashion seriously, if not themselves.

Forget the teeming masses at the associated Goodwood Festival of Speed earlier in the summer – all SuperDry T-shirts, plastic VIP lanyards and branded goodie bags – the Revival held at Goodwood's racetrack, rather than its house and estate, is a much more sophisticated sartorial affair. The track and paddocks, that you can get unusually close to, feature an awesome and always beautiful array of rare 1950s and 60s racing cars – including classic Ferraris, Jaguars and Maseratis – that are often raced by equally limited edition racing driver legends, and in a fashion belying the fact that each is worth hundreds of thousands (in some cases millions) of pounds. There’s even an onsite branch of Tesco with old-school exterior signage and Green Shield Stamps on offer inside.

Get into character and a you’ll have a weekend like no other, whether you’re a devoted classic car fan or not.

motoring festival

Friends bid their brave drivers a fond farewell before the vintage race starts

(Image credit: press)

Child in car at motoring festival

Even children can get involved in the action – as long as their pedal cars are period-perfect Austin J40s of a type that raced between 1949 and 1966...

(Image credit: press)

old-school Tesco

There’s even an old-school Tesco, replete with Green Shield Stamps

(Image credit: press)

Goodwood Revival motoring festival

A particular point of the Revival’s appeal is the rarity of the cars in action. For the 2015 event, all six original examples of Carroll Shelby’s Cobra Daytona Coupe were brought together for one race, in what is believed to be a world-first

(Image credit: press)

Red car

This year’s Revival paid special tribute to legendary racing driver, engineer and team owner Bruce McLaren, with a suitably magnificent set of McLaren racing cars on the Goodwood grid. His legend lives on today with the F1 ream that bears his name (and, more recently, a series of road cars)

(Image credit: press)

CARS at the Goodwood Revival motoring festival celebrating its 17th year

Get into character and a you’ll have a weekend like no other, whether you’re a devoted classic car fan or not

(Image credit: press)


For more information visit Goodwood Revival

Guy Bird is a London-based writer, editor and consultant specialising in cars and car design, but also covers aviation, architecture, street art, sneakers and music. His journalistic experience spans more than 25 years in the UK and global industry. See more at www.guybird.com