Held all over the world, vintage races keep classic cars alive. Block out the cellphones and modern clothing, and the cars take you back to their glory days.
The best vintage race of them all is the Goodwood Revival. The annual event held in southern England on a World War II reserve airfield and the estate of the Duke of Richmond, Goodwood goes further to transport us back in time.
The sheer volume of living history at Goodwood is astounding. Name a make or model or even a specific race, and a representative car is probably there. Think about your racing heroes and you’re bound to spot a few of them behind the wheel of the historic machinery on the track.
(Visit the featured gallery of more than 100 photos of vintage racing action.)
The races feature the most desired cars in the world. Hundreds of millions of dollars of cars can take to the track at the same time. The Ferraris, Alfa Romeos, Bentleys, Cobras, Jaguars, Corvettes, Lotuses, and Minis are familiar to most enthusiasts, and each one has its story: how it was acquired, who owned it previously, its racing provenance, how it was restored, and more. But then there are the Alvas, Austin Healeys, ERAs, Bizzarinis, Rileys, Talbot-Lagos, TVRs, etc. that are just as interesting and historical. Dig deep, and every car at Goodwood teach us more.
The best part, though, is the racing. Pro racers and gentleman drivers race the hell out of the cars, sliding through corners, touching body panels, carrying big speeds through turns, and generally having a blast. You might think a $20 million Ferrari is too precious to subject to such danger. The owner doesn’t, and that’s great for fans.
If Goodwood is the best vintage car race in the world, its parking lot may be the best car show. The pre-1971 parking lot features lines of Jaguars, Aston Martins, Minis that sit among crazy one-off historic road and race cars that seem to belong inside the gates.
The American cars stick out here. They’re bigger, often more aggressively (though not beautifully) styled, and still fascinating. Eye candy covers the lot in every direction. By the time you get bored with the sixth Aston Martin DB5 you come across, you know you’re spoiled by the car show that is the Goodwood parking lot.
Both inside and outside the gates, the attendees dress in period-correct apparel. British gentlemen in 1930s attire mingle with ladies in 1950s poodle skirts. All kinds of military uniforms can be found on the grounds, and Goodwood itself makes sure to amp up the ambience with 150 actors who sing songs, dance, and look the part from World War II military personnel to 1960s hippies.
The 2019 Goodwood Revival, held Sept. 13-15, had its usual docket of races, with classes for cars from the 1930s to the 1960s. The featured marques this year were Mini in honor of its 60th anniversary and Bentley in honor of its 100th. That gave 150 Minis from throughout the company’s history the chance to run parade laps (aside from the numerous Minis that competed in various races).
Bentley had an even higher honor. Twenty-nine pre-war Bentleys ran in the annual Brooklands Trophy race. It was truly a treat to see the truck-like Bentleys from the days of the brand’s racing glory take to the track again.
Other notable story lines this year were the return of Dario Franchitti to racing. The Scottish driver and four-time IndyCar champion got behind the wheel of a race car for the first time since a crash at IndyCar’s Grand Prix of Houston prompted his retirement from racing. Goodwood also honored legendary driver Stirling Moss, who celebrated his 90th birthday Tuesday. Unfortunately, he couldn’t attend due to poor health.
As many as 450 vintage cars, military aircraft, and 170,000 or so people did attend, and the sights and sounds were spectacular as usual. We present them here in a gallery of the best of the 2019 Goodwood Revival.
This article was originally published by Motor Authority, an editorial partner of ClassicCars.com.