FESTIVAL OF SPEED 2018
Delwyn Mallett goes to Goodwood in search of horsepower – and Porsches
This year marked the silver jubilee of the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The festival has grown exponentially since Charles Settrington, the then Earl of March, now Duke of Richmond (and a batch of other titles), invited a few like-minded enthusiasts for a blast up the drive of the family pile
“THE CORE OF THE EVENT WAS A CELEBRATION OF PORSCHE…”
In the last quarter of a century, the FOS has grown into the most glamorous and eclectic classic car event in the world – amust attend occasion for owners of automotive exotica (and, to be fair, the not so exotic – this year the humble Citroen 2CV was featured) fromall over the world as well as motor racing royalty past and present. The FOS now encompasses everything with wheels, from acrobatic bicyclists, via motorbikes to every facet of fourwheeled motoring, off-road, on-road racing, and ranging from the turn of the 20th century to freshly-minted hypercars. And rather ominously for we petrolheads, for the first time a driverless and electric-powered machine navigated the hill in the outrageous shape of the Roborace projectile.
The core of this yearʼs event was of course a celebration of Porscheʼs 70-years as a manufacturer, and the Duke and Porsche pulled out the stops to ensure the weekend was a success. The Museumʼs considerable contribution commenced with a rare appearance of the car that set the ball rolling 70 years ago, 356/001, and progressed through the decades with some of Porscheʼs finest to the current Nürburgring lap record holding 919 Evo. Crowd pleasers such as ʻMoby Dickʼ were on hand as well as less often seen pieces of history as the ʻParisDakarʼ four-wheel-drive 953 and the not-as-successful-as-hoped CART 2708 single-seater. The Porsche Museum also sent the 1.5-litre 804 flat-eight powered F1 car that in 1962, in the hands of Dan Gurney, gave them their only F1 victory. Richard Attwood piloted it on its demonstration runs.
Hollandʼs Louwmann Museum sent another single-seater in the form of the ex-carel Godin de Beaufort 718/2. Finished in the vibrant orange Dutch national racing colour, the 718/2 was an evolution of the Spyder series, using the four-cam Carrera engine and rebodied as a single-seater. Also in orange and making a welcome change from silver was the ex-ben Pon 904.
Orange also featured on the massive wing adorning the recreation of the Porsche 550 Spyder that Swiss engineer and racer Michael May created in 1955 – and which was promptly banned. This pioneer of aerodynamic down force made an interesting comparison with the bewinged Chaparral 2E of a decade later parked elsewhere in the paddock.
As ever, famous racing drivers past and present were in abundance, amongst the many ex-porsche regulars Richard Attwood and the ubiquitous Derek Bell, who I am sure must have been cloned as he seems to be everywhere where classic cars gather, were much in demand from fans. Rally ace Walter Rohrl, and Porscheʼs Nürburgring expert, was at the wheel of something more sedate than the fire-breathers he is normally associated with – a 356A coupé, albeit a Carrera.
The spectacular giant sculptures created by artist Gerry Judah and anchored to the lawn in front of Goodwood House have become a much anticipated feature of the event but, to these eyes at least, this yearʼs was not amongst his best efforts. A single 52 metre vertical column (the same height as Nelsonʼs) soared skywards into a starburst of Porsches, which were almost too far away to be identifiable. This giant maypole did come alive briefly when a magnificent parade of Porsche history, led by 356/001, circled its base for a crowd-pleasing flag waving photo call.
The Porsche presence in the Cartier ʻStyle et Luxeʼ Concours was also a little on the underwhelming side, as well as puzzling. As usual the Concours cars were grouped into headlined categories. Some quite excruciating puns provided the themes – Bright Sparks, for pre-ww1 electric cars being inoffensive, while ʻFins ainʼt what they used to beʼ for a batch of 1950s and ʼ60s American excess had a high squirm factor. ʻFresh Air (Cooled) Motoringʼ as the theme for the Porsche presence obviously satisfied the organisers at the planning stage but turned out to be rather disappointing in execution.
Of the six cars displayed three were Speedsters – which seemed to be an opportunity lost to show other open Porsches. Why not a Convertible D, or a Roadster, or a Cabriolet? Nothing wrong with the cars themselves, each being a superb example of its type, but the fairly subtle differences between them would be lost on the majority of spectators. Jay Kayʼs 1955 Pre-a, and Edoardo Tabacchiʼs rare and desirable 1957 Carrera GS/GT were both finished in black, while Amanda Neweyʼs 1956 car, sporting US spec bumper guards, was painted red.
A 550 Spyder completed the ʻmade in Zuffenhausenʼ quartet, the two other cars being only partially Porsche. The 1957 Swissbuilt Enzmann 506 Spyder is essentially a VW Beetle chassis with a glassfibre body bolted on to the floorpan. This particular and unique example managed to edge into the Porsche display as it was fitted with a 1300cc Porsche engine and brakes from new. The Devin-porsche also scraped in on the basis that it carries a Porsche engine, one of the multiple options available in the chassis and glassfibre body produced by California-based Bill Devin between 1955 and 1964. Given this yearʼs theme there were surprisingly few Porsches in the Bonhams auction held on the Friday. The famous Aston Martin Zagato, ʻ2 VEVʼ, and the late John Surteesʼ BMW 507 both set world records for the type but, for Porsche fans, interest focused on what superficially was an unremarkable 1977 US spec 911S. However, due to its starring role in the Scandi-noir thriller, The Bridge, interest was high. Driven in the series by the enigmatic police detective Saga Norén, the car had acquired over the last four years quite a cult following. Now surplus to requirements as the series has finished, it was donated by the production company to raise funds for the international charity, Water Aid.
The delectable Sofia Helin, who plays Saga in the series, was on hand to encourage bidders into opening their wallets, which seemed to work as the ʻJager Grunʼ 911 was finally knocked down for £125,000 (£141,500 with premium), four times over what, admittedly, most thought was a surprisingly low estimate. Ameticulously restored yellow 1972 911S fetched
“OF THE SIX CARS DISPLAYED, THREE WERE SPEEDSTERS…”
£166,700 with premium. A 993 Turbo achieved £116,300 and that was it for Porsches.
One newly restored and extraordinary Porsche design made its world debut at Goodwood with barely a mention of the word Porsche. Perhaps not surprising as itʼs a Mercedes – the extraordinary six-wheeled T80 record car built between 1937 and 1939. Powered by a massive 3000 hp, 44.5 litre supercharged inverted V12 Mercedes aero engine it never ran in anger as WW2 intervened. The experimental engine was removed and returned to the war effort and the car put into storage.
Unlike Porscheʼs Auto Union Grand Prix cars at the Warʼs end, the T80 was liberated from its hiding place by the Allies rather than the Russians and returned to Mercedes rather than being shipped east as reparations. The extraordinary streamlined body has long been on display in the marvelous Mercedes museum but minus, we now learn, the mechanical internals. Mercedes has created a see-through tubular space frame that defines the shape of the body around the original and reconstituted rolling chassis carrying a period correct but partially sectioned engine. Magnificent. Not yet a ʻclassicʼ but, as all Porsches eventually reach that status, the latest 911 Speedster ʻConceptʼ is surely destined to become another hugely inflated in value ʻinvestmentʼ vehicle. The car, on display in the ʻmodernsʼ paddock, was somewhat marred by the ʻboy racer ʼ graphics (surely, not destined for production!) but the conversion to Speedster format is aesthetically more pleasing than that of earlier 911 Speedsters.
Ironically, unlike the original Speedster which jettisoned all frills in order to make it a cheap ʻpoor manʼs Porscheʼ, the new one is from the ʻExclusiveʼ department of Zuffenhausen. In other words production, if it makes it, will be very limited and the price will be exclusive, too.
We suggest you watch out for it at the 2043 Festival of Speed Golden Jubilee. CP
“WATCH OUT FOR IT AT THE 2043 FESTIVAL OF SPEED…”
Left: Porsche brought a whole host of cars from its collection to help celebrate 70 years of the marque, including the original Porsche No1, 356/001 Right top: Richard Attwood took to the wheel of the Type 804 Formula One car, powered by a 1.5-litre flateight. In the hands of Dan Gurney, this car gave Porsche its only Grand Prix victoryRight: We always imagined the ‘Mary Stuart’ RSR to be bigger than this… Far left: Magnificent centrepiece featuring Porsche road and race cars was designed by Gerry Judah. At 52 metres, it matched Nelson’s Column in height
Right: Some famous faces lined up in the paddock. Easy access gave spectators a chance to examine the cars up closeLeft: Porsche’s stunning 961 (race sibling of the road-going 959) hurtles up the hillclimb
Left: Waiting their turn in front of Goodwood House for the parade up the hill
Above right: Type 804 alongside RSK – another hard choice for the seasoned racer
Below left: Martin Eyears’ gorgeous Carrera Abarth ran in the 1961 Le Mans 24 Hours and Targa Florio
Above left: 956 or 962? Take your choice – just as long as you don’t mind the iconic Rothmans livery
Below right: David Piper’s 917 is always popular with the photographers
Above left: Edoardo Tabacchi’s rare and desirable 1957 Carrera GS/GT Speedster was perfect
Above right: The evergreen Derek Bell always has time to stop and chat with the crowds
Below, clockwise from top left: New 911 Speedster concept attracted attention all weekend; the extraordinary Mercedes T80 record-breaker – designed by Ferdinand Porsche, naturally; Moby Dick – the ultimate incarnation of the 935; heaven on earth? It just could be…