We have seen their Cunninghams, Jaguars, 1919 Indy Ballot, 1914 GP Mercedes, 1962-65 BRM ‘Old Faithful’,1967 Belgian GP-winning Gurney Eagle-Weslake, Porsche 908 Langheck Coupe and 917PA Can Am car and so many other cars drawn from this fabulous museum, in which the vast majority of the exhibits are runnable and are regularly exercised. While all of these have run either in the home Park around Goodwood House, or on the Motor Circuit at the Revival Meeting, there are plenty more back home in the box.
Some 18 years ago, collection creator Miles Collier and his curator Scott George invited me to join 1961 World Champion racing driver Phil Hill – an old mutual friend – and several other like-minded real ‘car guys’ to co-present a Connoisseurship Symposium at the museum.
I for one had great reservations about how well such a high-minded, and potentially over-intellectual and academic exploration of the old-car world might go down. Well, truth was that between our group of around one hundred it went down a storm… like the best-kept secret ever confided to most of us. Everybody there went away having learned a lot – that was certainly true in my case – and I gather most felt I had returned as much in kind.
Well, nine biennial Symposia later I’m currently sitting in the museum’s vast automotive library, surrounded by bound magazines, sales brochures, race programmes extending way back in time to the dawn of motoring… and of motor racing.