Friday, 30 September 2011

Goodwood RAC TT Celebration - Ferraris

The RAC TT or International Tourist Trophy is a more or less annual award given to the winners of a selected motor race. It was first awarded in 1905 making it the longest lasting trophy in Motorsport. Among the many venues that hosted the RAC TT is Goodwood which ran TT races from 1958 to 1964. Below are 9 of the 10 Ferrari's that took part in the Revival Celebration TT practice sessions a couple of weeks ago.

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The #14 Ferrari 250 GT Drogo started life as a 250 GT SWB (Short Wheel Base) Competizione chassis #2445GT in 1961, it was supplied to Garages Francorchamps in Belgium and is known to have won at least seven European races in the hands of Robert Crevits in the 1961 and '62 seasons. At Le Mans in 1962 Robert Darville crashed the car and it was subsequently sent to Piero Drogo in Modena where the current bodywork was fitted. Apparently James Coburn briefly owned this car in 1964. Dutchman David Hart shared the #14 with 2006 RAC TT winner Michael Bartels at Goodwood.

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Readers from may remember my blog on the Ferrari 250 GT SWB Breadvan, I'll repost the whole blog here if I find myself getting short of Ferraris to write about, chassis #2819 is a bastard in so much as it also started life as a 1961 250 GT SWB, but Count di Misurata had his car upgraded by Giotto Bizzarrini, the man responsible for designing both the Ferrari 250 GT SWB and the later 250 GTO. The 'Breadvan' was driven at Goodwood by Nicholas Minassian and Max Werner.

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One of my all time heroes Art Merzario shared the #19 250 GT SWB/C with Kilian Koenig. This 1960 model chassis #1811GT was another car originally supplied to Garages Francorchamps and in the hands of Robert Crevits won 3 races outright in the 1961 season.

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Conrad Ulrich shared his #20 250 GT SWB chassis #3107GT with Frank Stippler at Goodwood. This chassis was originally supplied to M. Auregli in Italy and has no race history, that I can discern, until the current owner acquired it in 1999.

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This light weight 1961 250GT SWB Compitizione was originally entered by the North American Racing Team in the Paris 1000 kms for the Mexican Rodriguez brothers who won on the cars debut race. Subsequently it was sold to Doug Thiem in the USA who succesfully campaigned this chassis #3005GT in 1962. The #21 car now belongs to Lukas Hueni who shared it with Carlo Voegele at Goodwood.

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Gregory Whitten's #23 250 GTO chassis #3413 was originally used as a spare car and tested by Graham Hill and engineer Mauro 'Fury' Fogheri on the Targa Florio in 1962, later that year #3413 was acquired by Edoardo Lualdi who scored numerous overall and class wins hillclimbing with it. In 1963 Gianni Bulgari raced it scoring a class win on the Targa and an overall win at Monza. In 1964 the car was fitted with '64 GTO bodywork at the Ferrari factory for new owner Corrado Ferlaino who promptly took another class win on the Targa and at least two more hillclimb class wins. In 1967 Jack Le Fort acquired #3413 for £6000 /@ US$ 15,000 after several further changes of ownership Gregory Whitten acquired it in 2000 for US$ 7 million ! Greg shared his car with 6 time Le Mans winner Derek 'Dinger' Bell at Goodwood.

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The #24 Ferrari 250 GTO chassis #3767GT was raced with the #8 by original owner David Piper to 5th place in the 1962 Tourist Trophy at Goodwood. David won races in Angola and South Africa with this car in 1962. In 1963 David shared the car at Sebring with the cars next owner Ed Cantrell who clocked up further class wins with the car through to the end of 1964. Since 1974 #3767 has been the property of heavy plant magnet Anthony Bamford at Goodwood his son Jo shared the drivng duties with Alain de Cadenet.

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Jose Albuquerque, of Portugal brought his 250GT Compitizione to Goodwood and shared it with Barrie Williams. Chassis #2159GT was originally supplied to Garage Montchoisy, Geneva, CH and Gérard Spinedi won on his debut in the 1000m sprint at Cern, Spinedi scored numerous overall and class victories in races, rallies and on the hills up to 1964. Mr Albuquerque has been the custodian of this car since 2001.

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Finally Garage Francochamps appears to have acquired this 1960 steel bodied 250GT SWB Berlinetta chassis #2069GT from Baron de Fierlant in 1962, apart from a 2nd place in the 1962 Ardenne hillclimb with Robert Crevits at the wheel, the car has no discernable competition history until the turn of this century when Vincent Gáye acquired it. Vincent was sharing #2060GT with former national hillclimb champion David Franklin in the RAC TT celebration.

My thanks to PauloSF at Ferrari Chat for his contribution to todays blog.

Thanks for joining me on this RAC TT edition of 'Gettin a lil' psycho on tyres', I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don't forget to come back now !

SOT Thanks to a strong alignment of favourable planets I'll be attending the Bill Boddy Tribute Day at Bill's spiritual home Brooklands tomorrow, if I had not picked up a copy of Motor Sport, edited by Bill Boddy, in January 1973 I'd never have been bitten by the passion I still have 38 years later for all things motoring.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Killed By A Pony - Ford Falcon Sprint V8

The stand out car in the Goodwood car park last week was this Ford Falcon Sprint V8, there is something about the unmolested patina of old racing cars I simply find irresistible, something all to easy to underestimate that speaks of both achievement and subsequent precarious survival.

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There are four strands to Ford Falcon history, the US built cars such as the one seen here which were in production from 1960 until 1970, the Argentinian built Falcons in production from 1962 to 1991, the Australian built Falcons which have been in production since 1960 and the US built Falcon 'E series' 8 seat vans built from 1961 to 1967.

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Allegedly Edsel Ford first came up with the Falcon name for the design of a luxury car in 1935, he felt the name did not quite fit and renamed the car Mercury which was launched as a luxury brand in 1938.

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The Ford Falcon was launched in 1960, like the contemporary Chevrolet Corvair, Chrysler / Plymouth Valiant, Studebaker Lark and AMC Rambler, the design evolved from market research which identified that many US families were in the market for a smaller than full size second vehicle primarily to be driven by women. The first generation Falcons were in production from 1960 -1963.

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The second generation Falcon was redesigned in 1964 and aimed at a more youthful market. Falcons were available in two door, 4 door, sedan, 2 door coupé like this 1964 model, 2 door convertible, 2 door coupé utility and 3 or 5 door station wagon forms.

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Six engine options were available from 2.4 litre / 144 cui in line sixes through to 4.9 litre / 302 cui Windsor V8's along with 4 transmission options 2 speed (ford o matic) auto, 3 speed auto and 3 or 4 speed manual.

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Despite over a million sales in the first two years of the first generation Falcon, second series Falcon sales tanked thanks in no small part to another vehicle in the Ford range that was based on the second generation Falcon but aimed at an even more youthful market known as the Ford Mustang which was launched in April 1964.

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To try and keep sales up the Sprint V8 with 4.7 litre / 289 cui, as seen here, and later even 4.9 litre / 302 cui variations were introduced but the slightly more expensive Mustang with the same power trains was the car everyone wanted.

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The secrets of this particular cars past remain hidden to me for now, a signature above the lighter on the dash looks like that of two time British Saloon car champion Jack Sears. I have not been able to find any evidence Jack drove such a car after winning the 1963 British Saloon Car Championship driving a Ford Cortina GT, a Lotus Cortina and a Ford Galaxy 500.

Thanks for joining me on this Sprint V8 edition of 'Gettin' a lil psycho on tyres' I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don't forget to come back now !

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Worth Getting Up At Dawn For - Volvo 480ES

One day in April 1987 I spent the day at Donington Park where Volvo Concessionaires officially introduced the '87 model range to members of it's dealer network. This was the first opportunity many of us would have to drive the much anticipated Volvo 480ES.

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Unlike Volvo's previous coupé the P1800 which was based on an existing Amazon platform, the 480 was a completely fresh front wheel drive design by Robert Koch, John de Vries and interior by Corien Pompe. The 480 platform would then later be used for the 440 hatchback and 460 saloon variants.

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The car bristled with idea's new to Volvo including a Porsche tuned transverse 90 hp engine and front wheel drive, engine management by Electronic Control Unit, digital dash instrumentation, and a Lotus tuned suspension that gave the car staggering road holding.

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By the time the car was launched the pop up head lights were not strictly necessary as the European Laws that had required them to meet a minimum head light height had been repealed, however this change in the law came so late the design remained unchanged.

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During the course of the day I had the opportunity of driving the car around the Donington Park Circuit with a racing instructor at my side and I simply could not drive the car anything like fast enough to explore it's road holding potential, it went every where I wanted it to go safely regardless of the speed I was doing.

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Some weeks later I was given the 480 ES, seen here, for a week in exchange for getting up at some improbably early hour to go and drum up some business at New Covent Garden Fruit Vegetable Market in Central London.

From 1986 to 1995 80,463 Volvo 480 ES, Turbo and 2 litre / 122 cui variants were manufactured at the former DAF works at Born in the Netherlands.

Thanks for joining me on this New Covent Garden edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres' I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don't forget to come back now !

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

A Passage From India - Rover CityRover

In 2000 BMW gave up on it's attempt to revive the Rover Group after six years and sold most of the assets packaged as the MG Rover Group to the Phoenix consortium. At this point all models, bar one the '75', in the MG Rover groups portfolio were around five years old and Phoenix determined that their first new car would be aimed at the city car market segment that had once been an almost exclusive preserve of the Mini, a product of earlier incarnations of the MG Rover Group.

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MG Rover Group did not have any research and development assets so they looked for a partner that would be offered a stake in the group in return for a new car. A deal was done with Indian manufacturers TATA who would build a version of the first ever completely indigenous Indian passenger car the Indica.

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The design criteria for the Indica were that it would be the size of a Maruti Zen, similar to the Suzuki Cervo Mode, the internal dimensions of the Hindustan Ambasador, a cast off from a previous in carnation of the MG Rover Group that is still in production who's design heritage can be traced back to the Morris Oxford of 1948, the price of a Maruti 800, another Suzuki related product, and the running cost of a diesel.

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The design work was carried out by I.D.E.A. in Italy and after a false start with some quality issues the TATA Indicia, launched in 1998, with a Peugeot derived motor proved to be a big hit on the Indian sub continent. Despite the absence of a development budget, apart from the badging, alterations made to the Indicia to suit the needs of European motoring included an upgraded engine to produce 84 hp and exceed more stringent emissions regulations, increase in road wheel size from 13 to 14 inches and corresponding alteration of gear ratio's, stiffer front and rear spring rates, lowered suspension and increased gearing for the steering.

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Production of the Rover CityRover began in Pune India in 2003 but the cars launch was marred by questions over the MG Rover Groups finances and by the newly crowned 2004 European Car of the year the FIAT Panda which was a game changing generation ahead of the CityRover and cheaper too.

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While the CityRover was praised for it's performance and handling it was let down by interior quality, lack of equipment and above all headlining city car market segment price. In July 2005 MG Rover was liquidated with the loss of 6,000 jobs in the company and a further 25,000 jobs in related suppliers companies. Nanjing acquired the assets of the MG Rover Group.

Around 6000 CityRovers, such as the base Solo model seen here, were sold in it's first year and a further 1200 Mk2 versions were sold through non franchised dealers after the MG Rover Groups liquidation.

Thanks for joining me on this 'CityRover' edition of getting a lil' psycho on tyres'. I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I'll be looking at a Coupé built in The Netherlands. Don't forget to come back now !

Monday, 26 September 2011

So You Think You Know Your Sports Cars - Palos Verdes C d' E

Thanks to photo's sent by Geoffrey Horton, I am pleased to bring you another dose of California sunshine from the Palos Verdes Concours d' Elegance held last weekend.

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About the most difficult vehicle to identify in this over view is the Mazda Como Sport unless like me you have wasted a little time playing Grand Turismo 4. Easiest vehicle to identify for regular GALPOT readers should be Geoffrey's Jaguar XK140 FHC, which was up against a Mercedes Gullwing this time out. Shocking to me was that Geoffrey sent me photo's of five vehicles who's manufacturers I had never heard of.

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Oldest of the five was this 1940 Coachcraft 'Yanke Doodle' Roadster, a one off with a chassis frame built from Hudson Essex and Ford models by 17 year old Seward Allan with a body by Coachcraft of West Hollywood and modifications by Frank Kurtis.

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My favourite of the five is this this 1952 Maverick Sportster, a 210 lbs boat tail fibre glass body built by Sterling Gladwin sitting on top of a Flathead Cadillac powered LaSalle chassis. This particular vehicle appears to be the prototype which is recognisable by the absence of any doors.

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Next up we have a car of the type that starred in the reckless and thrilling film 'Johnny Dark' namely a Woodhill Wild Fire built by California Dodge dealer Robert 'Woody' Woodhill, who dreamed of owning a Jaguar XK120 and ended up building two fibre glass specials. With Willys running gear and tailor made Glasspar bodies, Woodhill was unsuccessful at selling his sportscar to Kaiser, owner of Willy's, and after modifying his car to run with Ford running gear he then built similar Buick and Cadillac examples. Again failing to gain manufacturer support Woodhill settled for building his sports cars with Ford running gear and selling then as kit cars that could be assembled in 14 hours, famously demonstrating a 4 hour build on TV.

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The company that started the glass fibre revolution in US sports car production appears to be Glasspar a company specialising in building fibre glass fibre boats who built a, Bill Tritt designed, special, the Brooks Boxer, for USAF Major Ken Brooks. The mould for the Brooks Boxer was then used to produce the Glasspar G2 of the type seen here. A modified version of the G2 body was supplied to Robert Woodhill for his Wild Fire kits.

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Finally the fibre glass body vehicle above is known as a 1960 Hirsch Roadster, sources on the internet suspect the date since the car is described as having Fiero steering, Datsun 280Z rear axle, and a 1966 289 Ford V8 connected to a similarly sourced 5 speed transmission. The owner believes the cars roots lie in a business that failed to get off the ground in Orange County. If you know anything about the Hirsch or indeed about any of the cars above please do not hesitate to either leave a message or get in touch be e-mail, my address is on the bottom of the page.

My thanks again to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photographs from Palos Verdes.

Thanks for joining me on this glass fibre edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres', I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I'll be looking at a Rover. Don't forget to come back now !

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Goodwood Revival #7 Jaguar Foxbat

In the last of this series of blogs about the Goodwood Revival, today we are looking at a unique Jaguar XK150.

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The XK150 was launched in 1957, updating the XK140 with a one piece windscreen, higher wing line over thinner doors and wider bonnet.

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The XK150 was powered by the same 3.4 litre double overhead cam iron block straight 6 motor which was available with a standard 180 hp or with an SE spec 210 hp featuring a modified cylinder head.

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Initially the XK150 was slower than the XK140 until the introduction of a 250 hp 'S' motor featuring triple carburettors and straight ported cylinder head.

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Legend has it that this 1959 car belonged to an industrial chemist in Swindon called Geoffrey Stevens in the mid 1970's. Mr & Mrs Stevens wanted a car that could carry their two Labradors.

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Over a period of two years from 1975 to 1977 Mr Stevens set about restoring his rusty XK150 and grafting the back of a Morris Minor Traveller onto the back of his car turning it into a shooting break, with enough space to carry his dogs.

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The rear lights come from a Mini Traveller, apparently the badges on the boot were hand cut by my Stevens.

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The Foxbat came up for auction at Goodwood with an estimated value of £30,000 - £35,000, surprisingly it did not find a buyer.

Thanks for joining me on this Foxbat edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres' I hope you will join me tomorrow when I'll be looking at some of the vehicles that took part in last weekends Palos Verdes Concours, if you think you know your motorcars you might be surprised at some of these most of which I had not heard of until Geoffrey Horton sent me his photo's. Don't forget to come back now !

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Goodwood Revival #6 - Dress Code

The Goodwood Revival is probably the nations largest annual period dress party covering the years from when Goodwood operated as a second world war airbase to 1966 when the race track around the airfield closed to regular competition.

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This year Ford of Britain was celebrating it's centenary at Goodwood so the period dress on view went right back to 1911. Above Laurel & Hardy look alikes demonstrate a left hand drive 1924 Model T.

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Willys Jeeps were built under licence by Ford of Britain during WW2, note this is also a left hand drive, presumably because it was foreseen that most of these vehicles would be required for the invasion of Europe. This particular vehicle appeared in the blue as used on airfields by the Royal Airforce and the driver is attired in a Royal Air Force officers uniform.

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These two ladies dressed up as land girls part of a huge civilian Women's Land Army who replaced the male agricultural work force that had gone to war. Typically Land Girls wore somewhat unbecoming if practical trousers in place of skirts and dresses.

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Moving into the paddock and forward a decade team mechanics are requested to wear period dress in the Goodwood Revival paddock, anyone visiting the pit area is also requested to dress in period. Above a mechanic tends Peter Thorntons 1955 Austin Healey 100 S.

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Recently retired from competitive driving Sir Stirling Moss came close to loosing his life at Goodwood in 1962 after an accident that effectively ended his top level career. Stirling is seen here on a demonstration run in perhaps the ultimate Goodwood period accessory a Mercedes Benz 300 SLR raced solo by his team mate Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1955 Mille Miglia to 2nd place 22 minuets behind Moss and Dennis Jenkinson in the #722 300 SLR.

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Competitors and spectators from far and wide come to the Goodwood Revival here a party from France who came with a splendid 1950's Citroen H Van and Citroen DS enjoy breakfast before the racing gets under way.

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Throughout the three day Revival a scramble event was run for bikes dating from 1957 to 1966. Here the riders in period outfits are waiting to be let loose on a full lap of the racing circuit.

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THe Ford Popular 103E was in production from 1953 to 1959 by which time early models such as this 1953 model were to be found on the F2 Stock Car circuit. Note the owners period brogue shoes, suit and trilby. Hard to believe this photo was taken last week.

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This Left Hand Drive Goodwood Revival Transport Corps Fiat 600 Multipla was built in 1961, when tested in 1956 the 6 seat Multipla was found to be capable of reaching 50 mph from rest in 43 seconds and having a top speed of 57.1 mph. The driver of this taxi wears a patterned dress that matches the lime green colour of the lower half of the vehicle.

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The gentleman to the right of this Hillman Super Minx convertible wears an outfit typical of many Goodwood Revival spectators, check sports jacket though his flat hat has deer stalker ear flaps.

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Goodwood is set in a rural area of West Sussex, the ultimate period farming accessory for the Revival has to be the Ford Triple D, Doe Dual Drive, tractor built in 1963. Invented by George Pryor who wanted a more powerful tractor than any of those available to him, he came up with the idea of taking two Fordson tractors and attaching them together with an articulated coupling that with the aid of hydraulic rams could steer the vehicle through a 90 degree turn. This is a latter 130 hp model manufactured by Ernest Doe & Sons using two Ford F5000 tractors. The main draw back of the vehicle was that it was too powerful for most of the existing implements so stronger implements had to also be manufactured by Ernst Doe & Sons. Around 300 of these vehicles were sold in the UK and USA, recently a 1962 Triple D fetched a staggering £61,000 at auction.

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Carry on Films were a low budget saucey national institution in 1960's Britain, featuring fairly simple plots of everyday people such as Doctors, Nurses, Policeman, Sailors and such, in 1963 the 'Carry On' team, which included a regular cast from one film to the next, released Carry On Cabby a tail of rival cab companies operated by a married couple. 48 years later at Goodwood this period Glam Cab Ford Cortina and its drivers look like they have come straight off set.

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In the 50's & 60's if one wanted a convertible or estate / station wagon variant of a Ford one would usually have to take it to a coachworks like Crayford to have the work done, as was the case with this 1963 Ford Corsair, at the time this Corsair was built Mini skirts and boots were all the rage, I remember my English Teacher wearing an outfit like this at my London primary school in 1966 and she was the talk of the school for being so 'with it'.

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Even the track marshals working along the start / finish straight, seen here rushing to the aid of Gerhard Berger, get into period dress for the Goodwood Revival.

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There was a pot puri of military dress code on display at this years Revival covering Allied forces from WW2 through to Vietnam. Here two US personal fraternise with a British Army Sargeant and a Women's Auxiliary Air Force Sargeant.

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Among the bravest spectators in period costume at an otherwise testosterone fuelled Goodwood were these two cross dressers,

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while these two bikers were amongst those enjoying an equally wild side of dress code, note the fur lined parker of the 'Mod' in the back ground, back in the day 'Mods' and 'Bikers' were at each others throats as immortalised in the film Quadrophenia.

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Finally bringing us to the end of the racing era at Goodwood in 1966 this cameraman epitomises the effect the Beatles Sgt Peppers Album had on fashions when it was released on the 1st of June 1966 one month and one day before the Goodwood circuit closed gates for thirty two years.

Thanks for joining me on this Goodwood Dress Code edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres', I hope you'll join me again tomorrow when I'll be looking at an unusual woody that was up for auction at the Bonham's revival sale. Don't forget to come back now !