While the opulence and excess of the Goodwood Festival of Speed continues within the event for its entire four days, what if I told you that for the true car nerds, the carparks hold some of the more interesting cars?
With this in mind, a diversion via the carpark on my walk up the hill to the 2022 event proved worthwhile, with both the supercar parking paddock and general carpark returning some real gems. With that in mind, I chose to focus on the more attainable cars. After all, not everyone has a bank balance containing an amount seven digits this side of the decimal point.
Supercar Parking Paddock
The supercar paddock allowed Goodwood members prime parking a stone’s throw from the event itself. I lost count of how many Lamborghini Urus (Uri?) I saw, but by omitting new supercars from my list, it showed me that some owners favour sense of occasion over outright numbers.
BMW M cars have for many years come with a few different style wheels on the options list. While most owners go for the larger wheel sizes, every so often you come across a M car where the first owner paid careful attention to the available options. The owner of this car is one of them; 345M wheels in 19-inch flavour, over the more common double five spokes, give the car a slightly less flashy look.
Given the limited numbers, seeing an RS 4.0 even at an event like the Festival of Speed is a rarity.
Even more rare is a right-hand drive 924 Carrera GT. One of 400, only 75 RHD examples were allocated for the UK market. A true homologation model, the car’s pronounced arches and additional cut-outs for cooling in the front bumper differentiate it from the normal 924 Turbo.
When the Mk3 Ford Escort was introduced, the front-wheel drive platform wasn’t as competitive as hoped. Gartrac took matters into their own hands by fitting numerous Mk2 Escort components under a modified body shell, along with a 2.8-litre V6 and converting it to rear-wheel drive. These changes resulted in a a large number of podiums in national rallies.
Volvo estates are usually seen in two lights – either a 240 wagon owned by a geography teacher, or the ’90s 850R up on two wheels, bouncing curbs in the BTCC. The V60 Polestar wagon (which Stefan recently picked up a sedan version of) is what happens when the number crunchers take a back seat. As standard, the pictured model came with an impressive specifications list: Öhlins dampers, massive Brembo brakes and a turbo inline-six.
When last did you see a stock Mk4 Supra? With the ever-increasing demand for ’90s and ’00s Japanese performance cars and values skyrocketing, it seems more people are looking to keep cars in stock or near stock condition and enjoy them for what they are, rather than going crazy with modifications.
Despite the wing protruding high above the rear deck lid, the unmistakeable profile of a Series 1 Exige is still easily missed given its diminutive size.
Even if you were unaware of the manufacturer, the Lexus LC 500 couldn’t be anything but Japanese in origin. Styling cues reminiscent of the Lexus LFA and a high-revving, naturally-aspirated V8 along with the extreme attention to detail Toyota is renowned for make it a viable alternative to the German big three.
General Parking Paddock
Over the course of the FOS 2022 weekend, more than 200,000 people flocked the the Goodwood Estate, and unless you were particularly flush and chose to arrive by helicopter or parked in the supercar paddock, you were relegated into general parking along with tens of thousands of other cars. Despite the overwhelming numbers, interspersed amongst the norm were special cars that were mostly of an older vein. Cars that the owner would likely have either carried out some degree of maintenance on, or at the very least felt the pain of having to run by paying someone else to tend to.
While not particularly old, the BMW 550i has always sat in the shadow of the M5. But this is the quintessential Q car – a boxer in a dinner suit. Not much differentiates a 550i from a 520d, but that is likely where the appeal comes from. The fact the car is on German plates shows the owners dedication to motorsport knows no (literal) borders.
I didn’t realise at the time, but the right-hand drive Porsche 930 Turbo Cabriolet was one of 50 made. Even more surprising, the 993 Targa, with its heavy retractable glass roof, was one of the biggest sellers of that generation.
Everyone loves a fast estate, but would a MTM-tuned B5 RS4 or the sleek lines of a CLS63 AMG be the weapon of choice to ferry the family and accompanying luggage?
Or as a left-wing alternative, one of what I believe is the most interesting estates on sale today. The Peugeot 508 SW PSE (Peugeot Sport Engineered) pairs twin electric motors with a petrol turbo combustion engine, totalling 360hp.
The perfect two-car garage? It’s obligatory to check the inside of any 355 to confirm the gated shifter as many original owners opted for the then-advanced F1 automated manual. Thankfully this is the former. The Aston Martin DB5 parked alongside was just as visually appealing, but the only shame was that having checked the DVLA database, both of these cars have barely covered more than a few hundred miles annually, some years far less.
If you didn’t already know, I’m a huge Subaru fan. I sought out a V2 STI RA at the auctions originally, but given their capability most were rallied or used for gymkhana and have led a hard life, I decided on the newer GDB-E shape Impreza. This STI RA V-Limited looked in great, useable condition and could quite easily still hold its own against modern hot hatches down a twisty backroad.
This era of M635i would have originally been fitted with metric-sized tyres and wheels, which were difficult to find at the time and even more so today, which makes the switch to a period Alpina wheel not only a stylish but sensible change.
Not everyone is cut out for owning an older performance car, but if my time sauntering through the Goodwood Festival of Speed carparks were anything to go by, quite a few people still are. I have a great appreciation for modern performance cars as they are incredibly capable, but owning an older car is almost like a badge of honour. The shortfalls and foibles pale in comparison to the analogue experience on offer.