An increase in the hours of daylight and reported sightings of sunshine could only mean one thing. Time to don the de-rigueur Fifty-Textures-of-Tweed country casual combo and put my best brown-brogue’d foot forward to attend the Goodwood 77th MM.
Just to flat-cap it all – mustn’t forget the tweed titfer-tat!
As Goodwood circuit is not used all year round due to local noise restrictions – it’s easy to forget that it’s is a very high speed circuit and therein lies the risk to race drivers and to spectators.
At the end of the first lap of the first of Sunday’s races a really scary crash unfolded right in front of me on the start/finish straight when Richard Wilson’s Lotus Cooper Climax T51 collided with Stephen Bond’s Lotus Climax 18.
Instead of both cars coming to rest on the track or in the tyre wall – the collision caused Bond’s Lotus to go into an end-over-end cartwheel which lifted it over the wall and hedge of an access road before it plummeted down into a pedestrian tunnel right next to the viewing area for wheelchair users.
Possibly because it was early in the day – the pedestrian tunnel was empty so by a miracle spectator injuries were avoided. Stephen Bond also came out of it with broken ribs but was extremely lucky not to come out worse particularly as fuel was pouring from the car as he hung suspended in his seat belts.
It’s horrible to contemplate but with slightly more forward momentum the cartwheeling car could easily have cleared the pedestrian tunnel and landed on the wheelchair spectator viewing area.
Luck was with a number of people as it looked like the accident could have shaped up to be a 1955 Le Mans type incident.
I was rooted to the spot watching the accident in slow motion but a few yards further along the viewing platform Tim Quinlan captured this remarkable footage of the accident:-
A while back I bumped into a very nice chap at Donington Historic Festival who wanted to have a chat about our respective 911s. In the course of the conversation he almost guiltily confessed that although he really liked his 911 – his main passion was for “British Plastic”. His definition of “British Plastic” was British cars with Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) bodywork built during the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.
In a scene reminiscent of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting – I had to own-up to having had a previous predilection for British Plastic myself through brief ownership of a TVR Vixen. I obviously stressed that I had successfully overcome this affliction and had since moved firmly into German Metal.
The term “British Plastic” stuck in my head as it reminded me of the plethora of interesting cars that were around (and were occasionally on my shopping list) during my “plastic period” in the late ’70s. I consequently thought it merited a post or even two posts under my A to Z of Car Stuff page:-
British Plastic – Part 1 covers the following marques:-
On the one hand – there are the modern internal combustion engine/battery powered vehicles built to save the planet and/or salve the collective consciences of automotive eco-warriors (isn’t that an oxymoron?).
On the other hand there are Euro/US Hybrids – sleek and elegant European styled cars with stonking great American V8s shoe-horned into their delicate chassis. These cars have a simple purpose in life – to tear-up roads and circuits at the fastest possible speed but in the best possible style and taste!
1) The special thing about petrol/electric hybrids is they’re NOT new. They were designed and driven donkey’s years ago thanks to Ferdinand Porsche.
2) The special thing about Euro/American hybrids is that they combine the best of European styling with the rugged power of American V8 engines. A number of specialist manufacturers have created beautiful and innovative sports cars, GTs and saloons that have graced the roads and race circuits of the world for years. Long may this Euro/US Hybrid cross-breeding programme continue.