Tag Archives: John Elwin

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A Classic at Antwerp

The 40th Antwerp Classic Salon celebrated Ferrari’s 70th anniversary with a magnificent display of Prancing Horse machinery that included cars with significant history. The selection ranged from a 1947 166 Inter Coupe to an F40, and included a 500 Superfast that had once belonged to Peter Sellers together with a 275 GT Spider, formally the property of Raquel Welch. Those two cars alone could surely tell a few stories! Meanwhile, a 288 GTO was previously owned by Belgian driver Jean Blaton and also father-in-law of one-time Ferrari F1 driver Jacky Ickx. Blaton himself, now aged 87, raced sports cars under the peudonym of “Beurlys”, twice finishing third at Le Mans in a Ferrari.

Ferrari’s long associations with Le Mans was covered by a rarely-seen 512 BB in ‘European University’ colours, as raced at La Sarthe in 1981. The 512 BB was progressively developed by Pozzi and examples appeared at Le Mans over several seasons, starting in 1978 when a car due to be driven by the aformentioned Blaton retired before he got behind the wheel. The car on show at Antwerp (chassis #35525) was entered by Rennod Racing and driven by Belgians Dieudonné, Xhenceval and Libert, finishing ninth overall and third in class. The result was all the more credible as Dieudonné fell ill and only drove for four hours.

Ferrari’s origins were not forgotten either; before building cars in his own right, Enzo Ferrari’s team raced Alfa Romeo’s and on show was a 6C 1750 that Ferrari sold new to Luigi Scarfiotti, the father of later Grand Prix driver Ludovico. The car was entered in the 1930 and ’31 Mille Miglia events under the Scuderia Ferrari banner, finishing in sixth place on the latter event.

More modern Formula 1 activity was covered by an 87/88C that was used by Gerhard Berger en route to third place in the 1988 World Championship, beaten only by the battling duo of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.

Antwerp is not primarily about exotica though; whilst there are plenty of other rare and unusual vehicles to be found, it is also an event where more mundane machinery gets a look-in. Thus it was that the concours judges found themselves selecting as ‘Best in Show’ a rather superb Mercedes-Benz 280SE Cabriolet that was actually a hire car! The green machine would make the ideal holiday tourer. The concours classes were split into three ages groups, the earliest being for vehicles from 1885-1995, where first prize was awarded to a Talbot Lago whilst second went to a rather splendid MG TD.

The MG was offered for sale privately by the very engaging Stephan Mackertich, who lives in France, and had taken the MG in part exchange for a Jaguar E-Type. The English owner of the MG had apparently bought it fresh from a superb restoration and having driven it only a few miles decided an E-Type was what he really wanted. By contrast, Mackertich was also showing an unrestored LHD 1952 Morris Minor Convertible that he had brought in from Sri Lanka where it had originally been owned by a diplomat. The green car was well-patinated and the owner was inclined to keep it that way.

Again, in the 1956-1975 class it was the second-place car that had a lot of appeal, being a 1967 Alpine A11 in rarer cabriolet form but in the end it was just pipped by a Borgward. Alpine of course is very much in the news with the launch of the new A110. A Volvo might sound like an unusual choice, but the judges awarded the 1976-1990 class to a Belgian-built 1983 Volvo 240 Turbo that had been superbly restored by its passionate private owner at a cost of some 40,000 euros. The judges felt the fact that this was the work of an enthusiast rather than a restoration company deserved recognition and so it won out over a very low mileage 1988 Morgan +8 that local dealers Oldtimer Farm are selling. Third in that class went to an MVS Venturi Cup, not a marque seen too often at shows.

One hall at Antwerp is devoted to club stands and as ever the range of ingenuity and machinery on display covered the full spectrum, with everything from microcars to the mighty lime green Plymouth Hemicuda that local club Scuderia Antverpia was displaying. British brands were well represented, from Austin-Healey to Rolls Royce, the Healey club showing a rare Rolls-powered car. Aside from the Plymouth, Americana was also prominent, in particular by the Belgian Mustang Club, and from the ’40s & ’50s there was a monster hearse. Closer to home, Minerva was a local manufacturer with a factory not far from Antwerp and, although cars have not been built since the war, there is still a keen following. The factory was requisitioned by the Luftwaffe to use as a repair centre for fighter aircraft during World War Two, so not surprisingly, it was bombed by the Allies. Post war the company did for a time assemble Land Rovers, primarily for military use.

Amongst the rarities to be found was a Brazilian-built Volkswagen SP2. Dating from the mid-seventies it was an attractive sports coupe based on the period VW Variant chassis with a rear-mounted 1700cc flat four air-cooled engine. It was never officially imported into Europe so is quite sought-after. Almost as rare but very much in as-found condition was a Saab 92, whilst a Mercedes 190SL also posed as a barn find. At the opposite end of the scale, with unpainted body panels, was the superb 1934 MG Type P-Q owned by Gaston Lenaerts.

A busy autojumble and private car sale area rounds out the delights of Antwerp Classic Salon, an event which seems to steadily improve year on year. Always held on the first weekend in March, it is well worth a visit.

John Elwin March 2017

A Revived Revival

 

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The nineteenth running of the Goodwood Revival was effectively the start of a new era, as the circuit has now been in operation for longer than originally, when racing began in September 1948 and ended in July 1966, partially for safety reasons. Little had changed at the circuit when racing resumed with the first Revival Meeting in 1998. Consequently, racing has been restricted to cars and ‘bikes that raced in period. That notwithstanding, developments have continued and Goodwood continues to astound, public enthusiasm for the Revival showing no signs of waning.

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Whilst the facility might have changed little in the intervening years, development of the machinery has continued a-pace, with many cars now going much faster than in the day – and that’s often without the star drivers that were behind the wheel way back when.
That was reflected in the way that the GT cars that normally contest the RAC Tourist Trophy were split into two groups, pre-1963 cars taking part in a newly-created event, the Kinrara Trophy, a one-hour race that ran into the twilight on Friday evening. Despite being a late addition to the programme, Dane Tom Kristensen stamped his authority on proceedings when he was drafted in to share Joe Macari’s Ferrari 250GT SWB. He firmly planted it on pole despite not having sat in the car before Friday morning, but the cars’ owner left him with a lot of work to do by dropping down to eighth in the opening stint of the race. He rose to the occasion, helped a little by others’ misfortunes, storming back up the order to win, the Ferrari completing the distance some 12.8-seconds ahead of the Martin Hunt/Patrick Blakeney Edwards Jaguar E-Type.

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The RAC Tourist Trophy Celebration occupied its traditional slot on Sunday afternoon, and catering purely for 1963-64 cars saw a healthy grid of predominantly AC Cobra and Jaguar E-Type machinery. The simple statistics will say that the Chris Ward/Gordon Shedden E-Type started from pole position and led away to eventually win from a trio of Cobra’s, the Michael Squire/Frank Stippler car heading Andrew Smith/Oliver Bryant and David Hart/Giedo van der Garde, but there was plenty of action along the way. Many considered that Shedden was lucky not to incur the wrath of the stewards when he lapsed into a bit of BTCC-style driving; a lively dice for the lead with van der Garde seeing the Cobra tapped into a spin by Shedden as they lapped backmarkers, effectively putting the Dutchmen out of contention.

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Saturday was wet, when a forecast that promised rain from 10am until 4pm proved to be rather accurate. The Goodwood Trohy race for pre ’51 grand prix cars opened proceedings and Calum Lockie ended up a jubilant winner in the slippery conditions his Maserati 6CM taking over at the front after five-times Goodwood winner Mark Gillies was forced to pit his ERA R3A for a plug change, rejoining to finish ninth. The podium was completed by Matt Grist’s Alfa Romeo P3 and Tom Dark’s Bugatti T73C.

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The Madgwick Cup for sub 3-litre sports prototypes from the 1960-66 era was something of a Lotus 23 benefit, with Andy Newall’s 23B getting the better of a scrap with Andrew Hibberd’s similar car. Joe Twyman would have made it an all-Lotus podium but a time penalty for an incident dropped him to fifth, elevating Max Bartell’s Elva-BMW Mk7S to third place.

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The St Mary’s Trophy race represented a departure for Goodwood but could be described as a retrospective look at the future, for it was a one-make race, something almost unheard-of in 1966 but now commonplace. The car in question was the diminutive Austin A35, a tiny unlikely-looking racer but with its readily tunable BMC A-Series engine it did indeed race in the day, largely thanks to the efforts of Graham Hill and John Sprinzel’s Speedwell concern. Anyway, celebrating its 60th birthday, a fleet of identically-prepared cars contested the two-part race, with the star drivers getting a baptism of water, on Saturday. Karun Chandhok remarked that he’s never driven anything with so little grip, whilst Goodwood debutant David Coulthard said he’d been told the car had about 90 horsepower, but he reckoned most of them were hiding in another paddock! Whatever, the touring car experts Andrew Jordan, Gordon Shedden and Steve Soper filled the podium on Saturday, whilst James Dorlin, Charles Knill-Jones and Mike Jordan did likewise on Sunday, overall victory going to the Jordan’s, despite getting through three engines during the weekend.

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The Lavant Cup, celebrating the 80th anniversary of the BMW 328, saw Martin Hunt’s Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica lead all the way except when it mattered – the last lap! He lost speed with a moment at Lavant allowing Malcolm Harrison’s Cooper-Bristol to snatch victory with pole-sitter Patrick Blakeney-Edwards (FN Targa Florio) finishing third. The rain was at its worst for the Whitsun Trophy, hardly ideal for the ‘big banger’ sportscars so it was perhaps fitting that race winner Rob Huff was awarded th Rolex Driver of the Weekend for his efforts in the Lotus-Oldsmobile-19. He had a mighty scrap with Mike Whitaker who had recovered from spinning his Lola T70 Spyder on the warm-up lap, only to have one or two grassy moments in the race. It was a somewhat heroic (or brave!) first-time outing at Goodwood. Third place went to Tiff Needell on board Paul Whight’s Lotus 30. With the weather starting to improve, Saturday’s racing ended with Richard Woolmer (HWM-Cadillac) winning the Freddie March Trophy, narrowly beating Rob Hall’s Aston Martin DB2 and Steve Boultbee-Brooks (Aston Martin DB3S).

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Sunday could not have been more different, with the sun shining down on Goodwood once more. The action started with the Chichester Cup for front-engined Formula Junior cars. Andrew Hibberd (Lola-Ford Mk2) inherited the lead, and victory, on the penultimate lap after misfortune befell others. Joe Colasacco’s Stanguellini-Fiat was a close second and Chrsis Drake’s Terrier third. Despite losing the nose from his Scarab after contact with Tony Wood’s Tec-Mec Maserati, Julian Bronson clung on to win the Richmand Trophy. A pair of Ferrari 246 Dino’s completed the podium, Andy Willis heading Rob Hall.

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Even though regular winner Andy Middlehurst did not take part in the Glover Trophy race, a Lotus 25 nevertheless still came out on top as Nick Fennell’s similarly Classic Team Lotus-prepared car got the better of a scrap with Martin Stretton’s Lotus-BRM 24. With Miles Griffith’s similar car in third place and Richard Attwood’s BRM P261 coming home fourth, that remarkably meant BRM engines in three of the first four cars. The final race of the weekend, the Sussex Trophy, fell to Chris Ward’s Lister-Jaguar Costin, from Gary Pearson’s Lister-Jaguar ‘Knobbly’ and James Cottingham’s Tojeiro-Jaguar, so bringing to a close a superb weekend’s racing with few major incidents and seemingly much improved diving standards.

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The Goodwood Revival is about so much more than just the racing and amongst many of the attractions there were tributes to Jack Brabham, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his third World Championship, uniquely driving a car bearing his own name. Sons David and Geoff, together with other family members and friends were on hand to mark the occasion and witness parades of the many varied cars from his career.

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That 1966 championship was the first of the 3-litre era, the new more powerful cars playing a part in the cessation of racing at Goodwood in 1966, but nevertheless here was a retrospective look to the future with demonstration laps of 3-litre F1 cars, including examples of Brabham, Cooper and McLaren that would have tested at Goodwood in the day, as well as three examples of the Lotus 49, the car that introduced the all-conquering Cosworth DFV to motor racing.

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Away from the track there was plenty to keep visitors occupied. The Earl’s Court Motor Show this year majored on Lamborghini, with everything from a tractor to the latest model. Dotted around the paddock a variety of period transporters could be seen, from the prosaic Morris Commercial-based transporter used to transport works BMC MGA’s, to the flamboyant Fiat originally supplied to the Scarab F1 team but subsequently owned by Shelby, who had to beef it up with an extra rear axle in order to bear the weight of the Cobra’s as they travelled around Europe. Even more unusual was a single-car transporter built by Dennis in nearby Guildford, better known for their fire engines and dustcarts.

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The air displays were somewhat muted this year in the wake of the tragedy in Shoreham a year ago. However, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight made its customary fly-past, whilst there were frequent displays during the weekend by the sole airworthy Bristol Blenheim, accompanied by Spitfire and Mustang.

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Back on the ground, we were reminded that it was 1966 by crowds of enthusiastic football supporters celebrating England’s success in the World Cup – looks like they might have to make that one last a bit longer yet!

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What will Goodwood have in store for the 20th Revival Meeting in 2017? A look back at 1998, perhaps?

John Elwin October 2016

Arts & Elegance

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Now in its third year, the Peter Auto-organised Chantilly Arts & Elegance Concours is rapidly establishing itself as a leading event of its kind, right up there with Villa d’Este.

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Indeed, like the Italian event, Chantilly was also supported by BMW as part of the Bavarian manufacturer’s centenary celebrations.

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Despite early morning rain and leaden skies for the rest of the day, some 13,500 visitors were drawn to the absolutely stunning surroundings of the Domaine de Chantilly, north of Paris, to see some magnificent machinery and to be entertained by the Garde républicaine (think Household Cavalry).

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The Concours d’Elegance was divided into classes, and as well as being on static view, the cars were paraded in front of the assembled crowd. To add to the style, each entry in the manufacturer’s concept car class was accompanied by a fashion model representing one of France’s fashion houses. First prize in that class went to the DS E-Tense, accompanied by a creation from Eymeric François. However the choice of the public was the Mercedes-Maybach 6 Vision, accompanied by a model representing Jean-Paul Gaultier.

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Another model from the same fashion house combined with the McLaren 570GT to take the prize for the most beautiful ensemble. Zagato have diversified from its usual fare to produce a motor-cycle for MV Augusta and that led to a special prize.

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Away from the modern exotica there were plenty of breathtaking machines entered in the numerous other concours classes, from which the 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Berlinetta, with coachwork by Touring and owned by American collector John Shirley, was awarded Best of Show.

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There were too many other classes to list them, some with titles such as ‘The former English marques’ (ie. no longer in business) or ‘The great untouched travel sedan cars and limousines’ – that went to a delightful 1938 Packard.

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Italian exotica was well-represented, including classes for the Lamborghini Miura (celebrating its 50th anniversary), a tribute to the Pozzi racing team and two classes for Tour de France cars, both of which were won by Ferraris.

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There were also numerous Alfas, from pre-war to a recent Zagato creation, whilst a small but select group of front-engined Formula 1 cars saw the prize go to a 1946 Gordini Type 11 from a pair of Ferraris and a BRM.

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Any event is not complete these days without an anniversary to celebrate and in the case of Chantilly it was Jean Todt’s 50-year career in motor sport. Now President of the FIA, he was a leading rally co-driver before moving on to team management, primarily with Peugeot during the Group C days and then at Ferrari throughout the Schumacher era.

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From a selection of rally cars from his past, a 1979 Peugeot 504, still owned by fellow rally star Jean Guichet, with whom he shared the car on the Argentinian Rally, was given first prize in the Tribute to Jean Todt class. The wide-ranging display of rally machinery also included Ford Escort Twin Cam, Alpine-Renault, Fiat 124 Spider, Sunbeam Lotus and Peugeot 205. The man himself was on hand too, to award the prizes.

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Away from the concours, a busy club area saw a huge range of vehicles on display, some a little strange such as the Rolls Royce that had been mated with an MGB bodyshell! Aside from that, there were some good club displays with the likes of Bugatti – the modern ones – Jaguar well-represented, as well as inevitably the various French brands. It was all very sociable too, as many of the visitors enjoyed a picnic lunch in the areas set in woodland adjacent to the moat surrounding the Chateau.

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A delightful, laid-back, hassle-free day out, Chantilly should be on every enthusiast’s must-do list. The 2017 edition is scheduled to take place on 10 September.

John Elwin, October 2017

Rolling Downs

 

After nineteen years it must surely be getting difficult to unearth yet more rarely seen racers with which to attract the crowds to Lord March’s front garden and this year’s event did have a slight ‘so what’s new?’ feel to it.

Bellissimo

Nevertheless that did not deter a record attendance of more than 181,000 popping down to Sussex, many of them appearing to be first-timers and somewhat different to, shall we say, the regular crowd.

Jaguar Concept

Of course a large number were attracted by the Moving Motor Show event that ran on the Thursday for the second year. Such is the success of this that it is likely to become a slightly more stand-alone show run over two days earlier in the week.

Beauty is in the eye…

With the E-Type celebrating its’ 50th birthday this year, Jaguar was the featured marque with Gerry Judah’s customary sculpture in front of Goodwood House depicting an E-Type Coupé nose-diving into the ground; apparently the other way up was considered to look just too phallic! Whatever, looking as though it was made out of a re-cycled windmill it did not have the presence of Judah’s previous masterpieces although those lucky enough to see it after dark reckoned it was more impressive when floodlit. Strangely though, Jaguar themselves did not seem to make much of the occasion, unlike others before them.

See the C-Type

There was a dedicated Jaguar class taking to the Hill in honour of the Big Cat’s history at Le Mans; it’s 60 years since a C-Type took the first win and amongst those turning out was a rare appearance of a ‘Lowdrag’ C-Type built for the 1952 race. The streamlined bodywork might have increased performance down the Mulsanne but it also ruined the cooling and two of the three cars retired due to overheating, the third for other mechanical reasons. Amongst the E-Types being exercised were E2A, the early factory prototype that Briggs Cunningham took to La Sarthe in 1960 and ‘ECD 400’, the first E-Type to win a race in the hands of Graham Hill at Oulton Park in April 1961.

Beautiful Restoration

All eyes however were on the recently restored Lowdrag car that claimed Peter Nocker’s life at Montlhery in 1964.

Lindner Nocker E-Type

After languishing for many years the wreck has been rebuilt by Peter Neumark’s Classic Motor Cars Ltd business, representing some four years’ work and utilising as much of the original as possible – more than 5,000 hours went into the very individual bodywork alone. And no, it’s not for sale.

Future Past

With chatter about a possible return to Le Mans by the Tata-owned marque, former works driver, Andy Wallace, was on hand to remind everyone he has not lost his touch as he took to the Hill in a gorgeous Silk Cut XJR9LM.

Old Stinger

If Goodwood had a central theme it was the Indianapolis 500’s centenary, an impressive array of men and machinery being lured across the pond, ranging from the 1911 Marmon Wasp that won the first race, to most recent winning driver Dan Wheldon. Whilst some took to the Hill during the weekend an ‘Indy Track Moment’ took place each day.

Accident in Progress

A symbolic line of bricks was brought over from the Brickyard (must have been interesting explaining away that hand luggage!) and laid on the track in front of the House where 33 cars – the same number as form an Indy grid – were lined up behind a 1958 Chevrolet Pace Car, whilst an authentic American announcer did the introductions. Marching bands and majorettes added to the occasion before a roof-top guitarist pounded out ‘Back Home in Indiana’ before the familiar ‘Gentlemen, start your engines’ was given.

Parnelli Jones & Lotus 56

Amongst the stars who drove were Parnelli Jones, Al Unser Jnr., Danny Sullivan, Bobby Rahal, Emerson Fittipaldi and Dario Franchitti whilst Josh Hill got to drive grandad Graham’s ’66 race winning Lola – or at least the re-creation thereof.

Penske PC19

Two-times winner Dario was in seventh heaven though. With a keen sense of history he is a great fan of fellow Scot Jim Clark and having had the opportunity to briefly get behind the wheel of Jim’s ‘65 Indy-winning Lotus 38 so sensitively restored by Classic Team Lotus last year, he was able to have a proper run in the sister car that Bobby Johns drove to seventh place that year before Clark himself used it to finish second in 1966, making it a British one-two. Franchitti was even resplendent in Clark look-alike helmet.

Our Nige

Lotus was very much in evidence at Goodwood, as befits an event with the title “Quantum leaps that shaped motor sport”, for Lotus were responsible for many of them. Amongst the impressive array under CTL’s awning was a Type 25 (first monocoque chassis in F1), 49B (first F1 car to race with a high wing), 76 (first F1 car to run a semi automatic clutch), 88 (first F1 car to run with a composite monocoque, not to mention two chassis), 96T (first Indycar with composite monocoque).

88 Mate

It was a terrific vindication of all that Clive Chapman and his team have done to keep the Team Lotus to the forefront in recent years that Dan Collins set BTD during the Top 20 Shoot-out on board the twin-chassis Type 88.

Inspirational

It was another Lotus that caught Clive’s eye though, as Parnelli Jones had brought over the day-glo red STP-liveried 56 Turbine car with which Joe Leonard so nearly won the 1968 Indy – he was leading when with just nine laps remaining the Pratt & Whitney turbine suffered a flame-out, leaving Bobby Unser to take the first win for a turbocharged car. Mused Clive, “I think our winter project will have to be restoration of our 56B if I can find an engine.”

The Vulcan

The 56B was the F1 interpretation of the Indy car built for the 1971 season. It ran in Gold Leaf colours initially, debuting at the Race of Champions before Dave Walker gave it a brief  GP debut at a wet Zandvoort. In the wake of problems surrounding the death of Jochen Rindt the year before the car was painted gold and black and sent to Monza under the World Wide Racing banner for Emerson Fittipaldi, finishing eighth. After one more non-championship race the car was abandoned in favour of the Type 72, and for sometime languished in a corridoor at Lotus, where this particular writer made use of the flat rear deck to sort-out filing whilst working there. It did have its uses after all!

The Hamilton Brothers go head to head

Modern F1 cars no longer set times at Goodwood but many of today’s stars turned out, inevitably home-grown stars Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button received a tumultuous welcome. And without any FIA stuffed shirts in attendance to give him the seemingly obligatory dressing down, Hamilton truly entertained in a 2008 MP4-23. He also got to drive – with a little more respect – the 1981 MP4, John Barnard’s design that utilised the then novel carbonfibre and launched the now Ron Dennis-run McLaren on the path to future success.

Who says racing diesels are new?

Incidentally, McLaren test driver Chris Goodwin has invested some of his earnings in a McLaren M1B, the first chassis built and raced in the US by Chris Amon. Goodwin will be following in the footsteps of his long-time historic racing father Tony when he races it at the Revival.

Quick Vic & Chaparral

Other current F1 teams represented included Red Bull with an old RB1 for Mark Webber and Adrian Newey, Williams, Ferrari and both Team Lotus and Renault, all using older cars.

Last Year’s Model?

They reason they don’t use today’s cars is that the mileage counts towards their testing allowance and it also puts pointless mileage on the engines.

Mustangs for all tastes

Martin Donnelly somewhat bravely got back behind the wheel of a Lotus-Lamborghini 102, the model with which he ended his F1 career with a huge shunt at Jerez in 1990. The car, the only Lotus ever to have used a V12, has recently been restored by CTL and owner Andrew Morris also took a turn, although with very limited track time in the car it’s been a bit of a learning curve as there have been a few problems getting the Lambo to run cleanly and engine spares are not exactly plentiful.

Lotus Esprit

In keeping with the Motor Show theme, the majority of manufacturers now have a presence of some sort with from Audi, occupying their usual dominant pitch by the hill down to tiny Morgan, whilst newcomers Lotus were showing the new Esprit, now signed-off for production.

Terry Grant on the way to a record

Despite my opening comments, there was plenty to see at Goodwood, even a successful record attempt by Terry Grant for the longest distance by a 4-wheeled vehicle on two wheels – he managed to get his Nissan Juke all the way up the 1.1-mile hill, but one has to stop somewhere this’ll be it – until the Revival in September, that is!

And finally… no story is complete without a stunning Alfa Romeo

John Elwin, July 2011