Collectors and their cars at 2018 Festival of Speed

25 years of Festival of Speed – this means two and a half decades of celebrating motorsports for the real petrol heads. In our preview, we said that the Festival of Speed becomes more attractive to the community of car collectors – in parts because the younger supercars have become collectables. But in addition to this trend, especially the batch with Edwardian to early post-war cars demonstrated that the 2018 Festival of Speed is an event for collectors, for collectors also concentrating on older cars – and yes, some of them like to go fast!

Fast ladies

Sally Mason-Styron, the wife of collector Dudley Mason, put the Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta to the test. The actual works car of the 1950s Mille Miglia finished 4th and came in 7th at the Targa Florio in the same year. In the family’s collection since the 70ies, Sally speeded up the hill, showing that Goodwood is most definitely her home turf. Having participated in Goodwood with several Ferraris, including a 365 GT 3/4 Daytona LM and a 1968 Ferrari 166/246 Tasman/F2, this performance wasn’t surprising at all for frequent visitors of the Festival of Speed. In fact, the fast lady already participated in the first edition of the event, however, with a so-called Ferrari killer. In 1993, she presented a Ford GT40.

A car that might be significantly harder to handle presented Annette Viessmann, the wife of collector Martin Viessmann. She showed a 1931 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza of their collection, a visually and audibly stunning car. Formerly used in its period by Giuseppe Campari in GP races, the characteristically red racecar is a living piece of Italian automotive history. Annette’s husband Martin Viessmann preferred a silver car, the 1937 Mercedes-Benz W125 Silberpfeil. For the Mercedes Grand Prix from 1908, also entered by the collector, he chose Ben Collings as a driver.

Early monsters

One collector who seems to have a garage of his own in Goodwood is Julian Majzub. He demonstrated his passion for fast pre-war cars at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed going up the hill with a 1916 Sunbeam Indianapolis. With the same car, he had also competed at the 2016 Goodwood Members Meeting. Especially interesting about the car is its long taper-shaped back. The big deep-sounding engine is also worth to mention. But having read reports about vibration problems, the 4.9-liter six-cylinder twin-cam engine suffered in the period, it would be interesting to know whether Julian Majzub managed to overcome these issues today or not. Nevertheless, he managed this performing a fast ride uphill – as well as the fact that he has to rely on two-wheel brakes in the Sunbeam; a fact that makes the car – most likely – difficult to handle.

Another regular in Goodwood, presenting a large car from ancient times, is Duncan Pittaway. Years ago, he had found a Fiat chassis in Australia that he identified as the one of the 1911 Fiat S76, the so-called Beast of Turin. With the help of the manufacturer, who provided him with the correct engine, he began a long restoration project. The result was the return of a legend of automotive history from Edwardian times. Equipped with the biggest engine ever put into a car, yes – 28.3-liter, the vehicle was built to chase high-speed records. The car develops 300 hp at 1000 rpm, spitting flames out of the hood’s side. Frequent visitors will remember Pittaway, presenting the restored car at the Festival of Speed for the first time in 2015 as much as the host of the event. For Lord March, this has become one of the most impressing moments in the history of the Festival of Speed up until today.

George Wingard from the state of Oregon came over to the 2018 Festival of Speed to present his 1908 Cottin-Desgouttes GP-Hillclimb racecar. In its period, it was victorious in the 1911 and 1912 Hillclimb of Mont Ventoux. In its time it .was way stronger than the competition, but its actual owner also hails the superb handling. After 1912 it was sold to Britain where it was raced in Brooklands and on other race tracks. Then it was rebodied, later on, further modified and went through the hands of some collectors. Before winning two awards at the 2002 Pebble Beach Concours, it underwent an extensive restoration. And for lots of classic car aficionados, the happy end of such an impressively long history is, when the car returns to the racetrack. George Wingard has done the classic car community favour, for example competing with the car at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey and now in Goodwood.

Top collector Evert Louwman of the Netherlands presented a Napier 100hp. It is said that the early British race car was the very first automobile in later-on legendary British racing green. The Napier competed in its period, amongst others in the Gordon Benett cup. Collector and museum owner Louwman has supported the Festival of Speed right from the start. For the first edition in 1993, he offered a Jaguar D-Type of his collection to promote the new event format.

Audi Tradition offered the cockpit of an unusual 1936 Auto Union Type C to another regular at Festival of Speed: race driving legend Hans-Joachim Stuck. His car of choice was the same mid-engined racer that his father Hans drove up Grossglockner Hillclimb in the 30ies. Up until today, the back twin wheels make this car an eyecatcher up until today. Besides the Audi predecessor Auto Union, German rival Mercedes-Benz presented a W196 GP car from the mid 1950ies. Driven by Stirling Moss in the period, the driver at the 2018 Festival of Speed Bernd Schneider proudly wore a helmet with Moss’ autograph as a reference. Such a postwar Monoposto is one of the most sought-after racecars in the market. In 2013 for example, Fangio’s W196 changed hands at an auction for a whopping 29.6 Million USD. Another Mercedes-Benz racecar of the British racing icon, the 300SLR is a frequent visitor to the Goodwood event. This year, former motorcycle driver Giacomo Agostini took the Mille Miglia record car up the hill at Goodwood House. We’d better not ask what an addicted collector could pay for it if it only came on the market. The 300SLR shown at the Festival of Speed is in the ownership of Mercedes-Benz Classic. In this consequence, it seems very much unlikely that it would ever go on sale as long as Mercedes-Benz as a car brand exists.

Talking about classic cars of dizzying value is often talking about a Ferrari GTO. French racing driver Nick Minassian had the privilege of taking Nick Mason’s 250 GTO for a spin at the 2018 Festival of Speed. The drive uphill in the car of the famous British collector (ranking Top 20 in the classic car collector ranking of The Classic Car Trust) was just a few minutes. But driving a 250 GTO for the first time, he got out of it with the brightest smile you could think of. “What a car!” And then he told interesting details of a drive, most likely every classic car aficionados would wish to experience: “The gearbox is nice. It is really precise. I wasn’t supposed to push too much. But at 6000 revs you can hear the engine kicking in and getting alive. I wish I can push it a bit more next time.” We’re sure owner Nick Mason appreciated Minassian’s caution. And as the racing driver realized the finesse of its vehicle, we’re sure that he would always treat it right: “It is really finished to a very high standard. She’s beautiful. And another thing: chassis-wise, it is incredibly good. I have driven many different cars of this era but Ferraris in this time were very good. I’m a lucky man. I’m honoured to drive it.” And we were glad to see him driving this beautiful piece.

Another collector of high-calibre sports cars jumped in the cockpit to compete in the hill climb himself. The year before, he had shown his 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato – one of 19 of this body type. For sure, the US-collector of Beverly Hills wanted to present a car at the 2018 Festival of Speed that was just as spectacular as that one. And with the Alfa Romeo TZ2, he delivered: The second series of the race car from the mid-/late-60ies is another rare Zagato-bodied car of Sydoricks collection. Just 12 of these beautiful but non-compromising touring cars have been built. An optimised Giulia engine and a tubular frame together with the aerodynamic bodywork were great ingredients, but it was the timeless elegance of Zagato’s design, making it a head-turner.

Got wings

We’ve already told about the discovery of aerodynamics for racecar design in the 50ies and 60ies in our Porsche feature of the 2018 Festival of Speed. Aside of the Porsche 550 Spyder with a broad, central-mounted wing, the Chapparal Chevrolet 2E had a wing of the same impressive dimensions. In contrast to the Porsche, however, it is mounted over the rear axle. Constructed by Jim Hall for endurance racing, the Chapparal showed up at Sebring, Nürburgring and Brands Hatch – but aside its dramatic looks, it didn’t leave that much of a trace in motorsports. But the wing was later on introduced to other cars of this class – insofar the Chapparal lead the way.

Last but not least: 70 years of Jaguar XK

While the celebration of the Porsche jubilee was an essential highlight of the Festival of Speed, Jaguar also had something to celebrate. Its XK-model is now 70 years old. It was this model that secured Jaguar’s success in early post-war times. The XKs – whether Coupés or roadsters – were sports cars with excellent performance for the price. At the same time, the technological fundament of the XK was so good that Jaguar was able to develop a complete family of race cars like the C- or D-Type. Seeing all of these models driving at the same time up the hill underlined the big footprint, Jaguar left in these days in motorsports. Amongst the cars were not only vehicles by Jaguar Classis. Dealers contributed to this celebration as well. JD Classics, for example, presented the record car XK 120 “Jabekke Coupe.” Louwman brought a D-Type once again, presumably the same rare long-nose version as the one they used for promoting the festival in 1993. British collector Peter Neumark, who had handed over his restoration business to its employees in 2016, drove a rare E-Type. The Lightweight “low drag” Coupe from 1964 is a refined Lightweight-version, developed for German race driver Peter Lindner. As Lindner’s car entirely crashed in 1964, there is lots of speculation about the car today. But most importantly, it is just beautiful to see in motion.

And seeing all these automotive gems in motion is why nearly 200.000 spectators come out to Goodwood House and celebrate the Festival of Speed nowadays. Looking forward to a new edition in 2019!

All photos courtesy of Julien Mahiels.

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