7 fantastic (and unusual) cars that prove the Goodwood parking lot is vintage heaven

Goodwood Welcome Sign Entrance

The Goodwood Revival is a lot like an onion. It has many layers. And while it takes time to peel each layer, they all offer a tasty automotive reward—none more savory, perhaps, than the one you’ll find just outside the gates at the historic race track.

Beyond the vintage racers in Goodwood’s paddock, beyond the vintage clothing, entertainment, carnival rides, and multitude of shopping options, you’ll find the place where it all begins—or ends, depending on which way you’re walking. It’s the parking lot. Not just any parking lot, mind you. The best spots are reserved for the classics. Hundreds of them… row upon row of automotive treasures… big and small, old and new, priceless and affordable, driven hard or barely driven at all—but driven to the Revival nonetheless.

Here are seven cool and unusual vehicles from the parking lot at the legendary Goodwood Motor Circuit near Chichester, England.

1957–61 Vespa 400 (and Vespa 600)

Vespa 400 and Vespa 600
Jeff Peek
Vespa 400 (and Vespa 600)

Goodwood regulars repeatedly warn newcomers that wasps are an annual inconvenience at the track, but we found two wasps that were a welcomed sight. Designed by Piaggio of Italy and built by AMCA in France from 1957–61, the quirky Vespa microcar (Vespa means wasp in Italian) is powered by a little 24-cubic-inch two-stroke inline-two engine mounted in the rear, and the battery is hidden in a drawer up front. Vespas weigh less than 1000 pounds, but they always draw big-time attention, so seeing two parked side by side is a rare—and cool—sight indeed.

1937–49 Lancia Aprilia

Lancia Aprilia
Jeff Peek
Lancia Aprilia

While our favorite split-window belongs to the 1963 Corvette, this one predated it by a quarter century. The last design by Vincenzo Lancia, the 1937–49 Aprilia is class simplified. Although Aprilias didn’t have much power—the top engine was a 1.5-liter V-4 that produced 48 horsepower—who cares? Less power means more time to gawk at them as they pass by.

1962–66 Triumph Vitesse

Triumph Vitesse
Jeff Peek
Triumph Vitesse

How in the world can a Triumph be on this list? Because a Triumph owner is writing this story. Regardless, the Vitesse is a head turner, and certainly not a car you see every day. While it’s really just a Herald with the six-cylinder engine under the bonnet, we hear it’s fun to drive, sounds great, is easy to work on, and parts are a doddle to find.

1959 Ford Zodiac Mk II

1959 Ford Zodiac Mk II
Jeff Peek
1959 Ford Zodiac Mk II

Marketed by Ford of Britain, this 1959 Zodiac Mk II is a rare left-hand-drive version—rare for England anyway, considering Brits could only buy right-hand models. Featuring a two-tone paint job and a wide distinctive grille, the Zodiac carried a 2.6-liter six-cylinder engine, which produced about 87 horsepower, mated to a Borg-Warner three-speed with overdrive. If astrology is your thing, how could you pass this up?

1964 Bedford CA Dormobile Deauville

1964 Bedford CA Dormobile Deauville
Jeff Peek
1964 Bedford CA Dormobile Deauville

Hmmm…. We had the same reaction. Thankfully, the owners helped us out by leaving some details in the window, referring to the vehicle as “885XYB Buttercup” and explaining, “Buttercup is quiet (sic) a rare conversion as (sic) has the highest level of specification that was available in 1964 using a van body.” 

Misspellings and typos aside, we just had to read on. The van has a four-cylinder 1.6-liter engine mated to a four-speed gearbox, and if you’re wondering how well an engine that small moves a vehicle this large, here’s your answer: Its 0–60 time is listed as “never been that fast.” The good news is, it cost the owner only £35 in 1989 (that’s about 56 bucks then, $117 today). Seems like a steal, except the owners admit they’ve done a lot of work on ol’ Buttercup and she’s still limited to “shows and short breaks.”

1978 TVR Taimar

1978 TVR Taimar
Jeff Peek
1978 TVR Taimar

TVR is a British icon, and although the company isn’t what it once was, those three letters mean something in the world of high-end sports cars (even if the casual fan has no idea that they come from the first name of its creator, TreVoR Wilkinson). As one of only 395 built, this 1978 TVR Taimar is one rare bird, so we were excited to see it just as we were about to head back inside the gates. The Taimar is powered by a 140-horse, 3.0-liter Ford V-6 mated to a four-speed manual transmission, but let’s face it, the car’s real power is its ability to stop traffic. This thing is all about looks. It has an especially nice-looking tail—particularly the wrap-around window.

1967 Pontiac LeMans Coupe (OHC 6 Sprint)

1967 Pontiac LeMans Coupe OHC 6 Sprint
Jeff Peek
1967 Pontiac LeMans Coupe (OHC 6 Sprint)

There are plenty of 1967 Pontiac LeMans coupes out there, but finding one equipped with the Sprint package is tough enough in the U.S., let alone England. Equipped with a 215-horsepower, 230-cubic-inch overhead camshaft inline six-cylinder engine with Rochester Quadrajet carburetor, this is muscle car treasure. We only we wish we could have learned more about its journey to the UK.