It’s been a miserable year. But on Thursday, for a brief period, the clouds parted and the sky delivered one of those crisp autumn days which makes life truly worth living. Why? Well, because there was a Goodwood event on, of course, and the Duke of Richmond has an impressive track record when it comes to bending the weather to his will.
The makeshift Speedweek is an impressive example of him bending the prevailing conditions to his will, as well. Apart from the prevalence of face masks, you would hardly know that half the country is on the verge of much more stringent lockdown rules if you were lucky enough to be strolling round the paddock at Goodwood circuit.
Frankly it made a nice change from hiding in the second bedroom. And doubtless it will all look smashing when streamed or broadcast over the weekend. But it’s hard not to miss the pomp and pageantry of Goodwood proper. Especially Revival, which qualifies as one of the nation’s few must-attend events.
Naturally you can just rock up, adorned head to foot in tweed - but the nicest way to do it (short of competing) is to arrive in something pre-66, thereby unlocking not only the spirit of the age, but also the privilege of parking in the Revival Car Show for free.
So it is with next year in mind that we’ve dedicated ourselves to the oh-so-onerous task of unearthing just the right kind of carriage for better times. With the search criteria set from 1948 to 1966 (the circuit’s official racing window) it is obviously possible to spend millions, but on the basis of actually enjoying the drive down to East Sussex in something other than a museum piece, we’ve kept the budget to £100k. Which, as you’re about to see, is plenty…
A like the Gaz wouldn’t typically be my first choice given the criteria; my passion is for sports cars, usually as light and as fast as possible. The 1,460kg, 55hp Gaz M20 is patently neither fast nor light
But I can’t stop looking at it. Completely transformed over the past half a dozen years, the M20 is now for sale at directly from the restorer. I love the colour scheme and the obsessive attention to detail, and could think of nothing better than eating a picnic parked up on the Lavant straight with racing cars flying past. Think leisurely car - and that holds a lot of appeal when there isn’t much to rush to.
As an avid student of Russia’s past (you don’t do a 20th Century History degree without learning a lot about the USSR) I’m fascinated by the Gaz story, as well. For example, the full name of these cars was the GAZ M20 ‘Pobeda’, or ‘victory’, so called because work began on them in 1943 when Stalin was already convinced of triumph in WWII. Apparently he selected the four-cylinder engine over a six, too. Were there no limits to his evil!
As PH’s sole representative from the USA, I couldn’t choose anything else this week. Still one of the prettiest cars ever made - and perhaps the best looking to ever leave North America - the Stingray is now firmly entrenched as a blue-chip classic, and peak Corvette. If you needed any further proof, there’s one for sale here at £120,000!
My choice isn’t far off half that price, and looks a mighty fine way to spend £68,950 on Goodwood transport. A 1964, 327ci, four-speed manual Stingray is about as desirable as Corvette specs go, and I love the Nassau Blue paint with matching leather. It even has the turbo wheels!
Having arrived in the UK in 2015 and covered 90,000 miles in its life, this looks the ideal Corvette to use and enjoy; it still presents beautifully after nearly 60 years, but has been driven enough that I could continue doing so and not seriously harm the value. That is, assuming I could avoid the temptation to drive like I was competing in the TT celebration…
Call me predictable if you will, but I could think of nothing else I’d rather bimble down to Goodwood in than an E-Type Jaguar. For all the reasons you’d expect: the incredible styling, the heritage, the competition success - and that’s just for starters.
Now, we all know that E-Types are enormously expensive nowadays - and will surely climb again with the 60th anniversary next year - so it should come as no surprise to find this one only leaves £500 remaining from the £100,000 budget. As a lovingly restored, immaculately prepared matching numbers example, this E-Type should probably be for sale at a six-figure sum; it only isn’t because it isn’t perfect. But its imperfection is to my benefit, or indeed any UK-based buyer, because part of the restoration of this US car involved converting it from left- to right-hand drive. So it deviates from the original spec, but would you care?
Right-hand drive surely means more opportunities to get out and enjoy the E-Type experience, and more chances for everyone near you to be reminded just how good an E-Type still looks. In a timelessly classy colour scheme and with fewer than 1,000 miles covered since the restoration, I’d be pleased as punch to take an E-Type to the Motor Circuit. Along with dozens of others, yes, but the most famous Jaguar is popular for a reason.
Last year I was lucky enough to blag a team member pass for the St Mary Trophy race and get to stand on the pit wall. Thanks to the magic armband I mixed with the racing drivers old and new, and in the car I helped push to the grid was none other than driving legend John Cleland. That car a Volvo PV5445, being shared with PH EnduroKA team member Charles Rainford, which went on to secure second place in the St Mary’s Trophy, a fine effort indeed.
Not a complete surprise as Volvo in the 50s and 60s had plenty of heritage when it came to going fast. The PV544 was a very successful rally car, winning the 1964 RAC Rally outright and continues to notch up success after success in historic competition to this day. I couldn’t find a PV544 in the classifieds this time around, so have gone for its predecessor the PV444 instead - but don’t let that put you off.
The car will need a bit of the generous budget to ship it back from the Netherlands but the ‘Kattenrug’ looks to be in mint condition, has that Swedish durability and would look right at home sat on the bank of Lavant Straight in the Goodwood members area. For near on 20k this is the kind of motoring heritage that wouldn’t be outshone by any of the other more expensive cars presented here.
I’m not fortunate enough to be able to roll off endless racing anecdotes like Pete. I never met Stirling Moss, nor have I competed in the RAC rally - but I have taken part in the much more leisurely paced MSA Spring Classic. Which would now be Motorsport UK, of course, if the event was still running.
Other than the iconic Alpines taking part, the most memorable car for me was a stunning TR4 that jeremyc and I followed in his Elan (sorry Jeremy, your Elan was third, honest). There’s just something so heartwarming about a classic British sports car and I’ve lusted after owning a Triumph of some description for as long as I can remember.
This tax-disc-wearing, ready-to-race example has already competed in the Spa 6 hours and is eligible for a whole host of historic racing events. The leftover budget would go towards funding a season or two of classic racing so I can give Pete a run for his money. And lots of tuition.
The worst thing about driving this Mercedes-Benz 190SL to Goodwood would be that I don’t get to enjoy its incredible styling along the way. Except for the occasional shop window, of course. And the expression of on people’s faces would probably make up for it. What better way to be ushered onto the Duke of Richmond’s estate?
I love that the 190SL’s design borrows much from the 300SL, but remains instantly recognisable in its own right, thanks to the simplicity of its panels and interior. One wing mirror, tiny door handles and a small splattering of chrome work allow the red paintwork and wheels of this car to standout. And just look at that cabin; this is a car you’d have to dress up for, which is fitting given the destination.
This particular SL has received a full ‘nut and bolt’ restoration, with the four-cylinder 1.9-litre engine part of the refreshment. The engine and chassis numbers are said to be matching; “she is in excellent condition and ready to go,” reads the ad. That being said, it’s likely that the next custodian will need to keep such a special machine indoors until spring returns. And with it, we hope, news of a complete Goodwood calendar once again.
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