Classic Cars

The 10 Coolest American Cars at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Bullitt Mustangs, a Ford GT40, and a Shelby Daytona Coupe bring American muscle to England

Lest you think the Goodwood Festival of Speed is all about English and European machinery blatting its way up the hillclimb, think again. There’s plenty of American go-power on hand and from a diverse mix of vehicles. Here are 10 of our favorite Americans at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

1968 Ford Mustang Boss 302
This former SCCA Trans-Am series racer was campaigned by Dan Gurney’s All-American Racers team for the 1969 season.


1966 Chaparral 2E
The Can-Am racing series of the 1960s and early 1970s was one of the most technically innovative racing series of all time. Case in point: the Chaparral 2E designed by Jim Hall with a moveable, high-mounted rear wing, and side-mounted radiators funneling cooling air to a 5.4-liter Chevy V-8.

1959 Balchowsky-Buick “Ol’ Yeller II”
Ol’ Yeller II was the second iteration of American driver and engineer Max Balchowsky’s famous road-racing cars. Said to be built for less than $1500 and powered by a 6.0-liter Buick V-8, this car was driven in-period by then-upcoming legends Dan Gurney and Carroll Shelby in West Coast road races.

1963 Cheetah
With its wild styling and tubular space frame, the Cheetah was built by Bill Thomas to go head-to-head with Carroll Shelby’s Cobras. Power (and a little help) came courtesy of Chevrolet and a fuel-injected 327-cu-in V-8 making some 550 hp.

1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe
When Shelby’s Cobra was down on top speed at such circuits as Le Mans, with its famous Mulsanne Straight, Australian designer Pete Brock gave it sleeker, more aerodynamic bodywork that brought Shelby the 1965 World Sports Car Championship and a class win at Le Mans the year before with American drivers Dan Gurney and Bob Bondurant at the wheel.

1967 Eagle-Westlake T1G
This is the first Formula 1 car Dan Gurney designed and he used it to win the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix at Spafrancorchamps, also his final F1 victory. Gurney remains the only American racer to win in Formula 1 with a car of his own design.

1976 Penske-Cosworth PC4
Roger Penske’s final Formula 1 effort before leaving the sport to concentrate on Indy Car racing, the PC4 was moderately successful, finishing first in the ’76 Austrian Grand Prix with driver John Watson at the wheel.

1966 Ford GT40 MkII
The very car that gave Ford its first 24 Hours of Le Mans win with Chris Amon and Bruce McLaren at the wheel. A bit sad to think that McLaren would lose his life soon thereafter here on the Goodwood grounds while testing a McLaren prototype.

1995 Newman-Haas Lola B02/00
Ok, so Lola is actually an English company but this car was built for the American CART Series. It’s been so long ago that it’s easy to forget Le Mans, France-born Sebastian Bourdais won four consecutive Champ Car championships from 2004-2007. This is his second championship-winning Newman-Haas Racing Lola B02/00 from the 2005 season, powered by a Ford V-8.

1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT
One of two original star cars from the Steve McQueen movie “Bullitt,” this Highland Green 390 GT was recently brought out of long-term hiding and back into the spotlight. McQueen tried unsuccessfully to purchase the car a few years before his death in 1980. It was wonderful to see it in motion once again on the Goodwood hillclimb, flanked by a 2019 Mustang Bullitt edition.

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