The Humans of the 2015 Goodwood Revival
Even more interesting than the cars.
Goodwood, England -- It's not the vintage cars or bikes or planes that attract us to the Goodwood Revival, the three-day event that happens each September in England. It's not the World War II fighter planes that fly around just before some of the most storied racing cars in history cut it up on a 2.4-mile circuit, run into each other in chicanes, and have gut-wrenching wrecks. No, it's the people.
Famous actors and racing legends mingle and laugh with common folk in complete anonymity, as everyone is dressed in traditional outfits from simpler times of the last century. You'll see herringbone tweed, flannel suits, rockabilly leathers, poodle skirts, pencil dresses, and military uniforms. The cars, crashes, and jubilant chaos are great, but it's the people who attend the Goodwood Revival that make the weekend unforgettable. We attended this year's event just a few days ago as guests of Subaru and had a great time talking to some of the coolest, most interesting people we've ever had the pleasure of meeting.
"It's the only place in the world you can experience this kind of stuff. Everyone is dressing up. This is the cream you see, the top class cars you can find from everywhere. Everything is just right."
"She's getting Victory Rolls, a 1940s style that's quite high and involves a lot of backcombing and strategically placed hair grips, and it looks fantastic. She's going to be windproof; it's a bit blustery on site today, isn't it?"
"I have three outfits that I worked on over three or four months. I live in Los Angeles, and one of the shops I went to is known for sourcing clothes for period films and Mad Men. I made visits to three different shops, then four visits to the same shop."
"Look around. The friendship, the people, the cars—it's a coming together of lots of things. You can come here as a petrolhead or someone with a passing interest or with no interest in petrol and have a great day. It captures it all. I've never had such a great weekend."
"We come from Belgium. We take the Chunnel and—what is this dance? I like the dance, I watch the dance. I'm not a dancer myself."
"At my age, I wouldn't wear a miniskirt from the 1960's. I did then—I certainly did then. But now my daughters look better than I did."
"I'm really, really tired. My dad races this car here, so we have to wake up really early. I'm taking a minute to gain my wits, but it's a lovely event. The racing is really fun every year, and I'm going to the ball tonight and have never been before."
"The wink back to history and the atmosphere that the family here, Lord March and the other owners, create and how personally they take everything is fantastic. The event is three days. If you're here only for one day, you'll come away and haven't seen half of it."
"You look at it and think it's an old monster or whatever, but it's actually pretty friendly. It slides nicely, and you've just got to be committed ultimately. The consequences of anything going wrong in a car like this at 120 or 130 mph—you don't want to think about it. I'm lucky enough to be allowed to drive the car for someone else. She pays all the bills, and I end up driving the car."
"We do a '65-style dance. It's a very organic thing. There are no set movements. Everything is angular. It's an exquisite thing. Girls tried to be a bit more sexy with it, as part of the youth revolution of the 1960s, and the whole thing is exquisite."
"I belong to a Seattle-based group, Historical Aviation Guild, and we honor the airmen from the 1939 to 1945 Allied air forces. I try get everything as original or period as I can find it."
"I'm attracted to the atmosphere and the history and the time you can experience. You've gone so far back, haven't you? Outside of here, everyone sits on their phones and is closed off. Here, you go back and everyone is friendly."
"This is my Jeep. I've had it for 35 years. It's an American Willys MB. Built in 1942 for the American army. I come down here in it every year."
"I'm really into vintage and love anything that has to do with the '40s to the '60s. And James loves vintage cars, so it's an absolutely perfect blend for us. The people come first for me, but I can appreciate a beautiful car."
"It's my birthday next weekend, so I decided to make all the girls come here. We've tried to come for a couple years but never got tickets. They sell out very quickly, so I made sure I asked the girls and got them really early, and we all went shopping."
"I like the airplanes. I quite love the Spitfires and the Mustangs. My favorite bit is that they shoot bullets."
"I sing mainly '50s stuff. A bit of rock 'n' roll, some slow stuff. I like the older stuff. It's good fun."
"We work on the flight line, driving in people who come in by plane or helicopter. We get to see a lot of very famous people. Meeting people you see in the movies, on the tele—you meet all sorts of people here."
"It's electric. You've got the airplanes, the motorbikes, the racing, the cars—even in the car park are Ferraris and Aston Martins, Bentleys, Rolls-Royces. You meet lovely, likeminded people. The food, the champagne—it's heaven."
"I came to Goodwood originally to exhibit my art two years ago, but it's too expensive. I continue to come here to draw and meet people."
"This is the only event in the world with aircraft and cars and people and bikes and shopping. You don't get it anywhere else. Bring a picnic, champagne, and something to sit on."
"Yeah, I've rolled my own cigarettes for 20 years now. And no, I never go watch the cars. I'm more interested in watching everyone else."
"I leave the girls to get on with it. I just get dressed."
"I have an ambition to race here in the next five years, but she and I come now to watch our friends race. My favorite car here is this one, the Ferrari 500 TLC from 1957. You can see them racing on track in the bizarre fast-forward from the '30s and '40s and '50s. It's quite unique."
"I'll be 19 next week. Being a mechanic is my day job. There's a lot of nice stuff here, isn't there? The noise, the smell—you don't necessarily get that from newer cars, do you?"
"I've had the car six or seven years. I've been racing it this weekend. That's what it was made for, not sitting in the garage. It's a handful, it's heavy—the steering, the clutch, the braking, everything. It's a fast car. A little bit frightening, I must say, but it's always a great pleasure to drive."
"My grandfather was in Royal Navy from 1898 to 1921, but this isn't his uniform. This a World War II uniform. It's just nice to join in. Everyone wants to be an admiral or captain, but it's nice to be an ordinary AB seaman."
"The babysitter counseled this, honestly, but it's nice to bring Henry along to his first Goodwood. It's kind of his second, because he was here in mommy's tummy twelve months ago, but this is his first proper motorsports event."
What we wore to the Revival:
We hung up our WWII American Pacific naval "crackerjack" uniform after day one of the Revival and, for the rest of the weekend, swapped to brand-new pieces from Suixtil and Autodromo, companies that pop vintage-looking clothing and accessories inspired by classic motorsports. Autodromo's stringback driving gloves ($125) had a perfectly tailored fit and kept our fingers warm during the cold mornings, and its tortoise Stelvio sunglasses ($325) looked great on us once the sun came out. Suixtil's Barcelona race bomber jacket ($260) got complimented throughout the day, and we never took it off once, seeing how the lightweight jacket never got uncomfortably warm. Suixtil's jacket and Autodromo's gloves and sunglasses were perfect pieces for a period-correct outfit that looked great at Goodwood Revivial and didn't necessitate weeks of searching through racks at vintage shops.