The Goodwood Revival 2015 marked the first time in the history of the Cobra saga, that all six of the Daytona Coupes would be gathered together in one location. This never happened in period because the first of the Daytonas was produced in California, while the remaining five cars were made in Italy. Even once they were racing in 1965, they were never all in one place together at one time and so with this background, it is not hard to see why this occasion was of such significance.
On Friday, 11 September, the weather was glorious, the cars were glorious, and the people were all decked out in their period gear, so what else was there to want. Well, one thing I was missing was my long telephoto lens, which is in for repair… Typical. Isn’t it? Just when you want it, you don’t have it with you.
And so it was with some anticipation that we awaited the Daytonas, together with a few Cobra Roadsters, as they prepared for their High-Speed Demonstration run at 11h25 on Friday. We heard them before we saw them. And then they appeared, the six blue Coupes, interspersed with the Cobra Roadsters. The first-born of the Daytonas, CSX2287, is totally unrestored and is the car used to set a batch of speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats. CSX2300 (#12) was the car driven by Allen Grant and Bob Bondurant in 1965, the year in which Shelby won the World Championship for GT cars. There is no doubt about it, Lord March puts on the best automotive garden party in the world, period! The Cobras and the Daytona Coupes only circulated for 15 minutes, but what a sound and visual spectacle we were treated to.
A short while later it was the turn of the Ferrari dynasty, all the 1950s drum-brake Ferraris, those competing in the Lavant Cup. The earliest was the 1950 166 MM Barchetta, but others included the 375 MM Spyder, 250 MM, 500 TRC, 250 GT TdF, various other 250s, 340s, and 750 Monza models. Spectacular doesn’t cover it, they were simply sensational, and they were most certainly not holding anything back as they circulated at speed.
My plan was to capture images of the crowds, highlighting the dancing, the stunning period dress and the general mood and ambiance of the Goodwood Revival 2015 . The amazing thing is that at the Goodwood Revival the people are all happy, it must be the period dress and the ambiance, because you don’t have the pressure of having to flash the latest fashion about.
The next item on my programme for the day was to attend the media call for the re-enactment of the Carroll Shelby International and Shelby American press conference in honour of the 1965 FIA World Championship. This was recreated in the same atmosphere as the original press conference 50 years ago, in which Ford, Carroll Shelby (played by grandson Aaron Shelby), Alan Mann (played by son Henry Mann), Peter Brock and some of the drivers were present. It was well acted and fun to watch, and this was followed by a photo opportunity in which two of the drivers, namely Allen Grant and Jack Sears, as well as the Daytona Coupe designer Peter Brock were present to sign autographs for the public. All in all, it was a great idea even if it was rather ‘cosy’ in the confines of the Bill Shepherd Mustang Booth in the Goodwood Retail Village.
The weather at the Goodwood Revival 2015 remained sunny and warm for the whole day, until that is the last event of the day, which was the Freddie March Memorial Trophy, a 90 minute race that started in the dry but rain began to fall with about 30 minutes to run. The slippery surface ensured some scary moments, and a good proportion of the field all had a moment on the grass. The race was dominated by the #54 Cooper-Jaguar T33, and it ran out a comfortable winner after 90 challenging minutes.
The early part of Saturday morning, around 07h30, it certainly looked as though the threat of rain might be carried through, but then it didn’t last and by 10h00 the sun popped out. At 09h00 Credit Suisse held their sixth driver forum in the Goodwood Race Control building, and this was ably hosted by Henry Hope-Frost with panellists Derek Bell, Alain de Cadenet, Stirling Moss, Jochen Mass, Dario Franchitti and Jackie Oliver. As can be expected, there was no shortage of banter between them, and plenty of laughs ensued. Oliver reminded the assembled media about the time when he had to be recovered by the track services in the USA. He said that many of the personnel doing the services around the circuit then were women. When they rocked up to recover him, the lady driver of the tow truck said that she was the call girl (radio lady) and her assistant was the hooker (hooked up the car).
The industry behind preparing and maintaining race cars of the sort seen at Goodwood this weekend is a burgeoning one. For many years the classic car industry has looked after road cars, but the race car industry is an ever-growing one. Obviously the stock of original parts is a dwindling one, but many components are remanufactured today for reasons of both scarcity and safety. Components such as suspension arms and magnesium wheels are prone to deterioration and breakage after many years, and so often the original components are removed from the vehicle and stored, and modern replacement units fitted instead. This is very definitely for safety reasons.
The fashion style at the Goodwood Revival is distinctly ‘40s and ‘50s, across the board for both men and women. I found this surprising as the cut-off date for the race cars is 1966, which was firmly in the ‘60s and the mini skirt era. And only the odd person here and there was not dressed in some form of period clobber.
The Goodwood Revival 2015 is unique for a number of reasons, firstly it is the only such event in the world where the patrons are dressed (voluntarily) in period gear. For those working at the event, such as the Goodwood staff, mechanics and media personnel, period dress is compulsory. Secondly, spectators can mingle with drivers and team personnel in the paddock area, getting up close and personal with the cars.
Make sure that the Goodwood Revival is on your calendar for next year, dust off your old flying jacket, mechanic’s overalls or those ‘60s swinging bell-bottom trousers or mini-skirt, and get yourself down to the Revival…you won’t regret it.
Written by: Glen Smale