Perhaps the most strange but true new model launch at Goodwood was the global press introduction of the famous Reliant Robin in October 1973, with the Goodwood Motor Circuit (by then closed to competitive racing for seven years) chosen by Reliant to introduce the ‘plastic pig’ (as the three-wheeler became disparagingly known by the police) to the motoring media, which consisted mainly specialist motorcycle journalists, rather than the traditional four-wheeled motoring press.
After the Goodwood circuit was opened on September 18th, 1948, staging the UK’s first public post-war motor race meeting in the process, the West Sussex track was also used extensively for endurance testing by motor manufacturers, racing teams and even motorcycle makers, as well as racing.
These included McLaren and much of the development testing for the then-now 1967 Ford-Cosworth DFV Grand Prix engine. In the early 1950s, Morris used Goodwood for a major endurance test for its best-selling Minor, lapping the Motor Circuit non-stop day and night for an entire week, including an ingenious mobile service and refuelling Morris service vehicle to keep the Minor running at all times. Honda achieved a similar feat too in the early 1960s when it took into first tentative steps into the British market, successfully running a C50 moped non-stop on the Goodwood track for seven days and nights.
The Goodwood name hasn’t just been restricted to motorsport and circuit use though. In 1936 Austin introduced the 14 Goodwood 1.7-litre saloon and cabriolet range, taking the Goodwood horse racing course as its naming inspiration (Austin also using other horse racing venues to name its models at the time, such as Kempton, Ascot, etc.).