The Goodwood Festival of Speed is underway – and it really is a petrolhead’s paradise. From a paddock full of supercars to the latest Tesla Model X, not to mention historic race cars running up the hill, there’s something here for everyone.
For those of us who appreciate classic cars, you have to look a little harder – but search, and you will find. Here are six classic cars that caught our attention.
BMW’s centenary is being celebrated at this year’s Festival of Speed, with the main structure in front of Goodwood House featuring a 1999 Le Mans-winning BMW V12 LMR, a BMW 328 Mille Miglia Roadster and the 1983 Gordon Murray-designed Brabham-BMW BT52 Formula One car.
As you can imagine, there’s no shortage of classic cars from Bavaria on display at Goodwood this year. One that caught our eye is this stunning BMW M1 from the firm’s heritage fleet. A rare mid-engined BMW production car (alongside the modern i8), the M1 was styled by Giugiaro and was a genuine useable supercar.
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL
Not to be outdone by BMW, Mercedes-Benz has a huge stand at Goodwood this year. In pride of place is this, a W198 300 SL roadster.
We’re more used to seeing 300 SLs in two-seat coupé form, with its distinctive gull-wing doors. The roadster has more conventional doors, but isn’t any less eye-catching, especially in this unusual orange colour.
Vauxhall’s really pushing its heritage at Goodwood – from a 1903 veteran car to a line-up of every generation of Astra. Picking just one we’d like to drive way has proved very difficult, but we think we’ve managed.
It is, of course, the 177mph Lotus Carlton. When it was sold in the early 90s it proved to be controversial – with some calling for it to be banned. Who needs a four-door family saloon capable of nearly 180mph?
One gang of criminals fuelled the controversy by using a Lotus Carlton as a getaway car for a series of hit-and-run raids. “We simply haven’t been able to get near the thing and it looks unlikely that we ever will,” one policeman said at the time. “Our urban panda cars can only go at 90mph, but we also have a policy of not getting involved in chases. If we did that, the thieves could kill themselves or someone else.”
This near-mint Citroen 2CV Charleston wasn’t on the manufacturer’s stand, but on that of an independent 2CV specialist.
We’ve all heard the story of the 2CV – an affordable car, within the reach of French farmers and capable of carrying eggs across a ploughed field without breaking them.
Originally intended at a short-running special edition in 1980, the Charleston proved to be such a success it was incorporated into the regular model range. This example is a very late Charleston, from 1990, and was restored in 2009. If you like what you see, it could be yours. It’s advertised for a very reasonable £12,450…
We could have picked a tidy, original Golf off Volkswagen’s stand, but this rather modified example caught our attention on the stand of car care company Meguiars. Launched in 1974, the Golf was groundbreaking – a front-drive hatch and successor to the ancient Beetle.
Like many Volkswagens of the era, the original Golf now has a serious following of enthusiasts – many of whom like to modify them to their own tastes. This 1982 example appears to be freshly restored.
Yes, two Citroens, but could the 2CV and SM be more different? In production for just five years in the early 70s, the SM was what the future looked like back then. And it was exciting.
Created with input from Maserati (Citroen owned the firm at the time), the SM matched clever suspension fine-tuned in the revolutionary DS with an Italian V6 engine.
It sold in small numbers – not helped by a reputation for temperamental mechanics and an expensive price tag, before being axed when Citroen was taken over by Peugeot in the mid-70s. Today, it remains a brave proposition for enthusiasts – but bite the bullet, and you’ll be rewarded with an exceptionally cool classic car.