I Hope I Am a Cat

By Bob Shiflet – first published in 2013

That probably sounds strange to you, so let me explain.

In 2008, I took what I thought was a once in a lifetime trip to England with three other guys. The main purpose of our trip was to attend the Goodwood Revival, three days of vintage auto racing like no other. Some other SVBCC members went a couple years ago so they know what an experience this was.

Well, in September, I used up another of my “nine lives” to once again attend the Goodwood Revival. This year the weather was not as pleasant as five years ago, but the racing was still great. Unlike racing in the US, at Goodwood they race in the rain. I don’t mean they drive around the track at a leisurely pace; they are out there racing, often in multi-million dollar cars.

The featured marquee this year was the Ford GT-40. Imagine seeing about 40 GT-40’s pitted in one area and about 30 of them on the track in an all GT-40 race. What a site!

Of special interest to me, was seeing the Austin Healey 100-4S that was unfortunately involved in the 1955 Le Mans crash that remains the worst racing tragedy in history. French driver, Pierre Levegh, ran his Mercedes into the left rear of the Austin Healey which launched the Mercedes into the spectator area killing over 80 people. The Healey was repaired and after several additional years of racing was sold in 1969 for 155 British pounds. The new owner kept it in his garage in its tattered condition. In 2011, the tattered car was sold at Bonham’s Auction for the tidy sum equal to $1.2 million. Not a bad return on the investment. The car was taken to Australia where it was restored to its condition just prior to the 1955 Le Mans race. The car is not a museum piece. It was raced at Goodwood this year!

If you love cars and enjoy vintage racing, just ask anyone who has been to Goodwood and I am sure they will tell you it is well worth the trip. If I am a cat, I have now used up two of my nine lives, but I hope to be able to use at least one more of them on this “once in a lifetime trip”.