The annual accumulation of tax-free classics is such a brilliant distraction that I could easily stay there all day, were there not a lot of other reasons to be at Goodwood. The diversity of machinery, the friendliness of the owners, the juxtaposed joy of seeing a lightly battered Ford Anglia 100E parked next to a shiny Aston Martin DB4: it's utterly enthralling. And, naturally, I always try to have one of my own ancient automobiles among the aged throng.
Every Monday from this point onward, I'll be writing about classic cars not as racing machinery – that's the province of co-columnists Andrew Frankel and Doug Nye – but as road cars, to be driven as much as possible and enjoyed as the antidote they are to increasingly soulless, undemanding modern machinery. Having said that, I'm beginning with a car of my own which currently can't be driven at all because it's in pieces.
It wasn't meant to be that way. Back in the 1980s, I owned, successively, two examples of a 1936 Singer Le Mans, a 972cc, twin-carb, overhead-camshaft sports car to rival MG Midgets of the day and very successful in motor sport. Pre-war cars nowadays seem to appeal to a diminishing demographic but they're great fun. You can't help but be intimately involved with the mechanics of making them move, double-declutching through synchro-less gearboxes, letting the steering wheel slither in your hands as the flexible structure follows the road surface, coaxing the best from an engine often meagre in output despite hearty vocals.
So in September 2012 I bought another one. It's a 1934 model, shorter, lighter and even more intimate in the cabin than the '36, racier to look at but not so good in the steering and handling. Good enough, though, if all is working as it should.