Goodwood Revival 2023

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Two of the 11 Royal JLR vehicles on display at Goodwood Revival : credit: © Louise Woodhams
Louise heads to the Revival to check out what was on offer for Land Rover fans

Louise with boys Leo and Max – Land Rovers prove to be a favourite!

The Goodwood Revival is one of the planet’s most outstanding motoring events – staged entirely in a period theme, every year the famous circuit comes alive with iconic cars, motorcycles and fashions of the past. But it’s more than static displays and monumental racing, there are hundreds of exhibitors sharing their wonderful products, and then there’s the traditional funfair with vintage steam-powered rides, an open-air cinema, historic aircraft and flypasts, Bonhams auction (more on that in a bit) and circus shows – to name but a few of the highlights. And the attention to detail is just incredible – so much time and care goes into recreating the bygone era of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s (honouring the original lifespan of the Goodwood circuit) that it genuinely feels as though you’ve gone back in time.

There were a few restored Range Rover classics – this was a favourite

​​​​​​If you’ve never been before, put it on your bucket list. It’s paradise for general petrolheads and green oval fans alike – there’s always a heavy presence from Land Rover. The theme for 2023 was most definitely electric restomods and specialists in the preservation, restoration and futureproofing of Land Rover vehicles. Electric car conversion companies that stood out for us included Electric Classic Cars which had a Defender 90 powered by a Tesla Performance drive unit good for 600bhp (0-62mph in 3.8 seconds) and a range of up to 170 miles, and Electric Car Converts whose main display was a bare chassis Series IIA build revealing the wiring, control box, battery box and motor. This EV conversion, by the way, costs £34,800, which is one of the most ‘affordable’ offerings we’ve seen.

Part-restored car allows visitors a close-up look at the degree of attention Windsor Classics spends on its restorations

​​​​​​Windsor Classics was showing its completed restorations but also a work-in-progress, allowing visitors to get a close-up look at the huge degree of care and attention it lavishes on its restored Series Land Rovers. Likewise, Kingsley Cars RE-Engineered really stood out for its classic Range Rovers, including a beautiful Bahama Gold example. HC Classics, which is known for its full body restorations, trimming and producing bespoke re-modelled classics was in attendance, as was Rig Automotive which had a number of interesting bespoke camper/expedition Defenders on display.

Electric Classic Car’s Tesla-powered 90

Land Rover Classic previewed its new roof tent

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Electric Car Converts’ bare chassis Series IIA shows off its EV conversion work

Some of the familiar Land Rover brands were exhibiting, including Nene Overland and Twisted Automotive, while Land Rover Classic took the opportunity to introduce a new range of original parts and accessories for the classic Defender, previewing a new official roof tent designed in partnership with TentBox, to ready to buy in 2024. The Expedition Camper was joined by four other classic Defender vehicles, including a Black Pack-equipped 110 Hard Top, 90 Station Wagon with a heritage aesthetic, and two Classic Land Rover Trophy support trucks.

Spitfire offers welcome refuge from the sun

The seven rare Series I Land Rovers – from the Estephan Collection – which we wrote about in LRM’s News section (November issue) also went under the Bonhams’ hammer. All had different roles in life ranging from simple farm duty to royal tours and going behind enemy lines. The 1953 86in ‘Royal Review’ (£80-120,000 guide price), which won best at the Cartier Style et Luxe display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year, was used by the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip on their tour of Australia in 1954, and sold for £86,250. One of six prototypes that Land Rover built for the SAS – complete with a .50-calibre machine gun on the rear, two Vickers machine guns on the bulkhead, a Bren gun for the driver and a bazooka in the rear, sold for £71,300. The 1955 86in model had a guide price of £70-100,000 so someone got a bargain. The second production Land Rover, guide price of up to £150,000, sold for £109,250. Having been used very little since a professional restoration in 2019, the buyer was probably hoping the lights-behind-the-grille early model will be a future sound investment.

Royal Rovers

Another highlight from the event included a unique convoy of Royal JLR vehicles, which completed a lap of Goodwood Motor Circuit in tribute to the Queen. Nine vehicles navigated the track, while a pair of the earliest Royal vehicles – the first Series I State Review vehicle and a Series I ordered by HM King George VI – were on display throughout. It was the first time this unique collection had ever been gathered, picked out from the Royal fleet, JLR Classic and private collections. Each Defender and Range Rover model had close links to the Royal Family, in either an official capacity or privately as part of the household fleet. For example, the Series I registration LXC 894D was originally ordered by HM King George VI, and was used by HM Queen Elizabeth II and other senior members of the Royal Family at Balmoral; it was restored in 2010 by Land Rover apprentices. There was also the long wheelbase Defender 130 ‘Jumbo’ with three doors on each side to support outings at the Sandringham Estate, where it is still a working vehicle. We were unofficially told it was a gun bus for shoots. It was also interesting to look around the first Range Rover to take the role of ceremonial State Review vehicle which entered service in 1975 and was used until 2002. Its specially modified rear included foldaway seats and a lectern containing concealed umbrellas. An additional exhaust silencer ensured the V8 engine was kept to a minimum for its Royal passengers.

All in all the Goodwood Revival had much to offer Land Rover fans and, as always, it was a truly immersive experience. Clear a space in your diary for 5-9 September 2024 and sign up for ticket alerts to avoid missing out: goodwood.com/motorsport/goodwood-revival/.

 

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