Nine Favorites from the Performance Car Lot at the Goodwood Festival of Speed
No matter the amount of zeroes in your bank account, parking at the Goodwood Festival of Speed is free. Not all free parking is created equal, however, with a section of grass just north of the paddocks reserved for qualified performance cars. This mini-car show is called the Performance Car Parking, and as long as your car fits on a rather extensive and detailed guest list, you've got access. We always make this one of our first stops at the Festival, so we picked out a handful of favorites.
Lamborghini Diablo GT
While Diablos are not exactly as common as Civics, this long, dark, and handsome Lambo is a rarer than you might think. Only 80 GTs were built, with none slated for the U.S. market. It's best thought of as a roadworthy Diablo GTR, with a stripped interior, extensive use of carbon fiber, and upgraded engine, brakes, suspension, and aero. This was the first use of the punched-out 6.0-liter V-12, producing a mighty 575 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque.
Lotus Elan M100
Figure this one out—a front-wheel-drive Lotus roadster, with an engine and gearbox from Isuzu, sold as a Kia in certain parts of the world. On paper, it's a disaster —on road, it's allegedly a blast. In spite of its wrong-wheel-drive configuration, the Elan was lauded for incredible handling and composure, along with strong performance. Contemporary tests pegged the Elan's 0-60 mph time at a respectable 6.5-seconds. It's not nearly as exotic as the cars that surrounded it, but we rarely see these over here in the States.
Porsche 997.2 911 GT3 RS 4.0
We make a lot of lists for various car shows and events. Each time one of the very rare and very expensive RS 4.0s show up, it's a guaranteed listee. Now that values of these 500-hp screamers approach the seven-figure mark, it's uncommon to see them actually being driven on public roads, so this classic white example stood out from the pack of Paganis and McLarens.
Here's another supercar we never got Stateside. It's a shame, as by all accounts, the M600 is likely one of the most exciting and visceral supercars ever made. Surprisingly, power comes from a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged Volvo V-8, producing 650 hp and 604 lb-ft of torque, sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. Performance is stunning, with 0-60 taking just 3.0 seconds, and 0-100 in just 6.5 seconds.
This one inspires melancholia rather than jealousy. Us Yanks had our chance to purchase our own version of the VXR (itself a variant of the Holden Commodore) when Pontiac briefly offered the G8 and Chevrolet sold the SS. Ours were never fitted with the same level of performance kit as the Holdens and the Vauxhalls, so we've had to make do with CTS-Vs and Charger Hellcats. We're not terribly well-versed on VXR8 subspecies, but this appears to be a Bathurst edition, likely packing over 500 hp from a supercharged LS-series V-8. If we're wrong, please don't kick us while we're down.
This is one of France's rally legends. Using mechanicals pulled from contemporary Renaults, these hyperlight coupes stormed road circuits around the world. The roadgoing variants were particularly stunning, with a low, squat stance. This is a 1600 SC, indicating a power output around 140 hp.
We've seen our fair share of LaFerraris, but this fascinating two-tone vectored pant scheme was worth a mention.
Ford Focus RS
Sure, we've got one more year (hopefully) of the current-gen Focus RS, but it was neat to see the second-gen car that never made landfall. It's an interesting reminder that while the new RS uses a 2.3-liter four-banger and all-wheel-drive, the old RS utilized a 2.5-liter Volvo-sourced inline-five, putting out just over 300 hp to the front wheels.
What a way to close the list. Finally, values of the F50 now begin to reflect the rarity and specialness. Whereas Ferrari built 1,300 F40s, 399 Enzos, and 499 LaFerraris, only 349 of the intriguing F50 left Maranello. It's certainly not for a lack of power or sound, with 513 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque from the 4.7-liter F1-derived V-12.