For many years, Pebble Beach was the lighthouse event of the classic car scene. Cars were restored to better than factory specifications, made into pristine jewels, meant to be only displayed at special events, and only to be driven for a few short meters, before being returned to the safety of the climate controlled storage facilities. The art involved into that was unquestionable. And the results stunning to look at. It was all about preserving the heritage. Splendid. But for some of us, there was something missing.
- Enter Goodwood. It’s impossible to overstate the importance that this group of people, the GRRC, have in the classic car world. They took an impossible stance. Not only are the classic cars meant to be driven a fair bit more than from a trailer to the events podium and back. No. That won’t do. They have to be racing.
Crazy, I know. Who would do that? After all, these cars are worth unspeakable amounts of money, they are priceless, what if they get scratched? It would be a disaster. The Goodwood community took a different view. They argued that the very thing that makes these vehicles priceless is the experience of them at full speed. Without that, we are not being presented the real value, the real soul of these pinnacles of human ingenuity.
Somehow, the owners listened. At least a few of them. With fingers intensely crossed, they let their cars stretch their legs. Then they were bitten by the merciless bug of racing. Soon, racing drivers were at the wheel. And they did what they do best. Race each other.
Far from resting on their laurels, the GRRC went on to extend the appeal of the classic car world ever wider. The great thing about this endeavour is just how much candour and authenticity is involved. The Goodwood Revival, for all its massive size, is, at heart, a very warm and welcoming event. Dressed in period attire, people experience the feeling of not taking themselves too seriously. The joy and exuberance infused by the personality of the classic cars permeates the atmosphere down to molecular levels.
It’s like a great carnival, only this time, the dresses manage to remove the masks from people’s faces. They are revealed as the better versions of themselves. An elegant, mannered, convivial and excited expression of their personalities. Filled to the brink with sportsmanship and the inexplicable feelgood factor that the presence of the metal monsters of yesteryears entails.
No, it’s not a revival of the good old days. For those days were not that great, if placed under a decent scrutiny. Yes, in those days, many of our heroes ascended to greatness, but this was in the face of extreme hardship. We, the later generations, did not experience a world war. Many of us never faced food shortages. Even though we often complain about the poor mobile signal, we never really had much going against us. The Revival goes beyond keeping this memory alive.
The Revival is about re energising in us the traits that can make us great. For us Alfisti, it may start with getting shocked by the sheer presence of a P3. It can be about losing yourself into a conversation with one of our racing legends, like John Dooley, with the laurels of a recent victory in your peripheral vision. It may be about a nightly encounter with a pair of TZs, deep into the solitude of the deserted iconic pit lane. You soon connect to the invisible, indescribable fabric that makes our hearts tick. You are revived.