After a gripping qualifying session in the rain yesterday the sun is shining at Silverstone for the 50th British Grand Prix held at this famous old Northamptonshire circuit. To celebrate that anniversary some of the stars from the past were out demonstrating some lovely old cars.

Below, Damon Hill driving his father Graham’s Lotus 49.

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Below, Adrian Newey driving the UTP March followed by Emerson Fittipaldi in his McLaren M23. Behind him is the McLaren of James Hunt.

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After a hiatus of 50 years, April saw the return of the Goodwood members’ meeting. Intended originally for GRRC members only, disappointing ticket sales saw invitations extended to other motoring clubs and subscribers to various motoring magazines. The comparatively light crowds may have been disappointing for the Earl of March but they were fantastic for those who attended. Not having to force your way past crowds of bored wives and girlfriends was a welcome contrast to the Revival Meeting as was the lack of corporate sponsors.

The event was blessed with remarkable weather – warm bright sunshine in what was otherwise a wet and miserable spring. The sun, coupled with the lack of crowds created a relaxed atmosphere most unlike other Goodwood events. But the best thing about the event was seeing cars that most of us had never seen before. Wonderful though the Festival of Speed and Revival are, many of the top cars return year after year. Having gone to both events for nearly 20 years I am afraid I have become a little blasé about even the most expensive exotica. Embarrassingly, at the last Revival, I found myself spending more time looking at the cars in the car park than in the paddock.

It’s this overfamiliarity with the usual Goodwood fare which made the cars at the Members meeting so interesting. For the first time we were shown cars that raced after the date the circuit closed in 1966. Le Mans prototypes and Turbo Era F1 cars did demonstration laps whilst colourful 70s touring cars battled it out in full on races. It was fascinating stuff and I can only hope that the event is repeated in a similar format next year.

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In a previous post I mentioned my love of the Matra 670 that Graham Hill and Henri Pescarolo raced to victory at Le Mans in 1972. Imagine my delight when I found the very car at the members meeting. I also got to hear its V12 howl as it accelerated away from the chicane – something I had been longing to hear for years.

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The fantastic 70s touring car race is going to do wonders for the price of neglected 70s saloons. Dolly Sprint anyone?

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The Dolly Sprints below seem to have lost a little oil….

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Sports Car Heaven – Alfa leads Aston Martin and Jaguar C Type

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Jaguar Le Mans Prototypes exit the chicane

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Jaguar XJR8LM

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Martini Lancia Abarth 038 Delta S4 – this Group B rally car won the 1986 Monte Carlo Rally

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Group B Rally Renault 5 GT Turbo

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Prost and Lauda Turbo Era McLarens

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Beatrice team Haas Turbo Ford’s

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Visiting Rolls Royce Phantom with serpentine horn!

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Donald Campbell’s Jaguar XK150 Coupe – in Bluebird blue.

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The great Sir Stirling Moss checks out the 70s touring car grid. He drove touring cars in that period as an unsuccessful reprise to his career.

The Race Retro show at the end of February was a first for me. It sounded promising – a show given over to historic racing in all it’s guises. First impressions were not favourable. The show is held at Stoneleigh Park near Coventry, an odd assortment of decaying 70s buildings dotted around a windswept and muddy agricultural show ground. Having to park in a muddy field a 10 minute walk from the exhibition halls was not the best start but it’s fair to say the show itself was a cracker. Surprisingly big it sprawled through several large halls hosting traders, clubs, race championship organisers, book sellers, car restorers and auto jumblers. Whilst many of those present had also been at Autosport only a few weeks previously there was a more relaxed feel to the show and better bargains to be had. The show is set to become a regular feature of my yearly calendar.

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The show hosted a fine selection of McLarens. This is a Can Am M8D ex Denny Hulme from 1970. It has a 7.6 Litre 680hp V8 engine. Tragically Bruce McLaren was killed testing a M8D at Goodwood.

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This is the1972 McLaren M19 that American Peter Revson drove in the Indy 500 that year. He came home 31st. Revson would be tragically killed at Kyalami driving for Shadow in 1974.

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I presume this rare old thing is an original and not a replica? It currently seems to be used to transport a stock car racing team. Embassy racing ran a Shadow race car and was owned and managed by two times world champion Graham Hill. He also drove for the team in its earliest years. Hill found running a team a difficult job and initially struggled. However by 1974 things were looking much more promising. Sadly Hill and pretty much the entire team were killed in 1975 in a plane crash when returning from testing at Paul Ricard in France . The team did not carry on and all the assets, presumably including this transporter, were sold.

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One of Graham Hill’s finest achievements was winning the triple crown of motor racing – Monaco, Indy 500 and Le Mans. I have always thought that the Hills (father and son) were unfairly underated. Hill senior’s victory at Le Mans in 1972 at the age of 43 was particularly impressive. His co driver (and future multiple Le Mans winner) , Henri Pescarolo was initially sceptical that the “old man” would be quick enough but now freely admits Hill was the faster of the two of them. I had long been looking for a model of the fabulous Hill / Pescarolo Matra V12 but to no avail, so I was delighted to find this nice old French model, produced to celebrate that historic victory, at Race Retro.

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Corgi produced this nice model of Hill’s 1974 Embassy Racing Shadow just a few months before he died.