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Onlookers in vintage clothing look at classic cars at the 2021 Goodwood Revival, including Sir Stirling Moss's silver No. 722 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR

Goodwood Revival 2021 Brought Classic Car Icons Into Living Color

The Goodwood Revival returned after a year's pause for 2021. And once again, the celebration of speed made the Duke of Richmond's estate echo with the sound of classic race cars, vintage motorcycles, and onlookers dressed in their 1948-1966 finest.

From the Woodward Dream Cruise to your neighborhood Cars & Coffee, there’s no shortage of vintage motoring events in the US. But overseas fans have their own car shows, too. In the UK, for instance, there’s the Goodwood Festival of Speed, a hill climb starring vehicles old and new. But the Duke of Richmond’s estate holds another show dedicated solely to classic machines, cars and otherwise: the Goodwood Revival. And after taking a year off due to the pandemic, the Revival returned for 2021.

The past doesn’t just come alive at the Goodwood Revival—it roars to life

Onlookers in vintage clothing look at classic cars at the 2021 Goodwood Revival, including Sir Stirling Moss's silver No. 722 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR
Onlookers in vintage clothing look at classic cars at the 2021 Goodwood Revival, including Sir Stirling Moss’s No. 722 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR | David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

Given that the Goodwood Revival shares part of its name with the Festival of Speed, you might expect the two events to be similar. And to a point, they are. Both take place on the Goodwood Circuit, found on the grounds of the Duke of Richmond’s estate. And both feature classic cars—as well as motorcycles—racing around said circuit.

However, it’s here where the events start to differ. While the Festival of Speed also celebrates modern vehicles, the Goodwood Revival is all about the classics. Specifically classic cars, motorcycles, and new for 2021, planes from 1948-1966. If that seems oddly specific, it’s because the Goodwood Circuit originally hosted races during that era, Autoweek explains. And the Duke of Richmond honors that legacy by restricting Revival entries to that period.

And it’s not just the vehicles that stem from that era. Everyone attending the Goodwood Revival, from the racers to the mechanics to the onlookers, dress according to 1948-1966 fashion. That means vintage racing suits, 1950s dresses and vests, etc. It’s basically like Radwood meets the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. You don’t technically have to dress up in period attire, but it’s part of the fun. Even Jason Momoa got dapper at the 2021 Goodwood Revival.

Goodwood Revival 2021 celebrated classic car and motorcycle racing

Michael Dunlop on a red-and-silver MV Agusta 500/3 racing Peter Bardell on a maroon-and-black Matchless G50 at the 2021 Goodwood Revival
Michael Dunlop on an MV Agusta 500/3 racing Peter Bardell on a Matchless G50 at the 2021 Goodwood Revival | Jordan Butters via Goodwood

Speaking of riding, the other difference between the Goodwood Revival and the Festival of Speed is the racing. The latter event has the participating cars and motorcycles go around one of several courses one at a time. Meanwhile, the Revival has an entire grid take to the track at once—and that’s just one event. The three-day weekend sees valuable vintage cars and motorcycles trading paint at full racing speed.

But the competitors are just as varied as the vehicles. Some of the classic cars’ owners, including AC/DC singer Brian Johnson and Ford CEO Jim Farley, compete themselves. Professional racers like former F1 world champion Jenson Button also get behind the wheel, though. The 2021 Goodwood Revival was actually Button’s vintage racing debut, The Sunday Times reports. And this year marked the first time a woman competed in both a motorcycle and a car in the same weekend, Hagerty says. That woman is Maria Costello, pro motorcycle racer and Isle of Man TT podium finisher.

And then there are the vehicles themselves. On the vintage motorcycle side, the 2021 Goodwood Revival Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy saw everything from Matchless bikes to MV Agustas to some BSAs and Hondas. Motorcycles weren’t the only two-wheeled machines there, though. This was the first year of the Eroica Brittania, which starts vintage bicycles.

As for the classic cars, to quote Petrolicious, “’This place is nuts.’” Wandering around you’ll see Shelby Cobras, Ferrari 250 GTs and GTOs, original 1950s F1 cars, Blower Bentleys, and swathes of Ford GT40s and Mini Coopers. And that’s not counting the vehicles in the parking lot, which Hagerty describes as “the world’s greatest car park.”

There were also some special vehicular guests at this year’s Goodwood Revival. For one, BRM fired up the first of its V16-powered Type 15 continuations. Radford also showed off its new Type 62-2. And, on a more somber note, the late Sir Stirling Moss’s Mille Miglia-winning 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR served as the centerpiece for the racer’s memorial.

You can relive the 2021 action online while you wait for 2022

The 2021 Goodwood Revival ran from September 17th-19th, so it’s already wrapped up. However, the event organizers are updating the Revival YouTube channel and Twitter with footage and photos. So, even if you couldn’t go, you can still see what went down.

And you still have plenty of time to plan for next year’s event. Although the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Revival to take 2020 off, it’s coming back again for 2022. And before that happens, the Goodwood Members Meeting takes place on October 16th-17th.

In the meantime, keep your passport updated, and see if you can find a tweed suit and hat.

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