The final chapter in Any Given Reason’s coverage of the Goodwood Festival of Speed is The Cartier Style et Luxe, a premium concours d’elegance for around fifty hand selected and high quality examples of mechanical art.
Set in a relaxed yet tasteful atmosphere on the lawns of Goodwood House, far from the noisy din of racing engines tackling the hillclimb, the Style et Luxe features possibly the widest spectrum of entrants spread over ten classes spanning automotive history.
Given that the Festival of Speed was celebrating 50 Years of the Porsche 911, it is no surprise that the rear engined cars from Zuffenhausen featured prominently in a class of their own. Taking center stage was a 1973 Carrera RS Lightweight, which was raced by Fritz Muller in the European and German National GT Championships.
Right across was the most extreme 911 to have ever been built – the 1998 911 GT1 Street. New regulations in international GT racing in 1998 meant that manufacturers could enter a car that had been designed from scratch, providing a road going version was offered to the public. Strangely enough this is the only road going version to be built and none ever reached any customers, however the model finished first and second at Le Mans that year, giving Porsche its 16th victory.
The Style et Luxe traditionally places a great emphasis on concept cars, and 2013 was no different. The 1954 Alfa Romeo 2000 Sportiva was planned for production, however only two coupes and two spiders were ever built. The all aluminum body was styled by Franco Scaglione, one of his personal favorite designs, and the spaceframe chassis was derived from the Disco Volante sports racer.
Moving to a (slightly) more modern era is the 1986 Peugeot Proxima, a wild concept that utilized the 600+ horsepower turbocharged engine from the 205 T16 Group B rally weapon. As wild as it looks, you can see the beginnings of 1990’s Peugeot design language in the front end – it’s very similar to the 405 sedan.
This 1929 Bugatti Type 41 Royale ‘Henri Binder Coupe de Ville’ was actually the third different Royale I’d seen in the space of a week – that’s half of total Royale production! This chassis started life as the famous Edsers open top tourer, but was rebodied by Henri Binder in the style of Ettore Bugatti’s own ‘Coupe Napoleon’ and spent WW2 hiding in the sewers of Paris. Have a look at Any Given Reason’s visit to the Schlumpf Museum in France, where you can see both the real ‘Coupe Napoleon’ and a replica of the Edsers car, built using original Royale parts.
The ‘Sixties Sensations’ class was full of the voluptuous shapes we’ve all come to know and love. This isn’t just any 1960 Jaguar E-Type – 9600 HP is by far the most famous E-Type in the world. 9600 HP was built as a prototype and used for development testing and was loaned to Jaguar’s favored journalists prior to the E-Type’s 1961 Geneva launch. This is the car that famously hit 150mph in the hands of Autocar, and then the truth came out that it was actually fitted with a blueprinted engine, bigger valves, performance cams, an aluminum rear hatch and perspex rear windows. This is the car that famously only just made its launch at the Geneva show after a flat out drive across Europe from Coventry by Jaguar executive Bob Berry. Can you image this thing blasting past you at high speed in 1961, when you didn’t even know what it was?
Looks wise, one of my all-time favorite cars is the 1966 Bizzarini Strada 5300. Mechanically its Detroit V8 is no match for the Europeans, but its low and wide stance with muscular rear arches is both clean and aggressive; subtle yet loud at the same time. I love it.
The 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spider. Memorable Ferris Bueller quotes and scenes aside, I think this is pretty much my favorite Ferrari – it’s just a shame that they’re worth so much these days. At the insistence of American importer Luigi Chinetti, Ferrari took the V12 mechanical package and chassis of their current spec GT racer, and clothed it with an attractive Pininfarina styled spider body. The best of both worlds, right? The perfect car for mountain passes on hot summer nights.
The McLaren F1 is, for me, the ultimate supercar and I don’t think it will ever be topped. No useless electronics, no ABS, no traction control. Just a ton of power, very little weight and the emphasis put on the driving experience. Like with most of these types of cars it’s a shame that their skyrocketing values mean most F1’s will remain in museums or collections, not being driven for fear of damage.
One thing that separates the Cartier Style et Luxe from other concours d’elegance is that the judging panel is not comprised of leading automotive industry figures or racing drivers, rather influential people from the world of art and design. This enables the judges to look past obvious mechanical traits, value or personal experience and to judge to cars purely on aesthetics and face value. For example, a dedicated auto enthusiast would struggle to not let the value and legend status of the 250 GT California influence opinion on the Lancia Aurelia, two cars both in the same class.
For 2013 the judging panel consisted of Sir Anthony Bamford, Chairman of JCB; AA Gill, writer, critic and restauranteur; Yasmin Le Bon, retired model; Sir Terence Conran, designer, writer and restauranteur; Hugh Hudson, film director; Kevin McCloud, designer, writer and host of Grand Designs; Tom Dixon, Industrial Designer; Jonathan Ive, Senior VP of design at Apple and designer of the iPhone, iPod and iPad; Gordon Murray, introduction not required; Nick Foulkes, editor of GQ magazine; Simon Le Bon, Duran Duran front man; and Marc Newson, one of the greatest Industrial Designers of our time. A rather qualified panel, then?
It goes without saying that anything at the Festival of Speed is going to be brilliant, and the Cartier Style et Luxe is no different. Like the polar opposite Goodwood Forest Rally Stage, it would be worth coming here just for the concours d’elegance alone.