7 gorgeous race cars we drooled over at Goodwood

1964 AC Cobra

Unlike many vintage motorsports events, in which “racing” is a bit of a misnomer, competition at the Goodwood Revival is flat out, all in, and fierce.

“Even though some of these cars are worth millions, they don’t hold back,” says Scott Barber, a mechanic at the British Motor Museum. “This is full-blown racing. It’s amazing when you think about it.”

Barber volunteered to work on the pit crew for the 1963 Jaguar E-Type lightweight “low drag” race car that finished fifth in the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) TT Celebration race at the historic Goodwood Motor Circuit near Chichester, England. The car is one of seven that we just couldn’t stop drooling over.

1963 Jaguar E-Type lightweight “low drag” #10

1963 Jaguar E-Type lightweight “low drag”
Jeff Peek
1963 Jaguar E-Type lightweight “low drag”

When the Jaguar Lightweight E-Type came out in 1963, it was powered by a fuel-injected, 300-horsepower 3.8-liter Jaguar engine. When transformed into a lightweight coupe, the Jaguar was fitted with a highly boosted, more powerful engine, which delivered in excess of 340 hp.

Barber says the rare low-drag Jag was the culmination of years of aerodynamic study and testing, and its narrow nose is the most obvious clue of that technological evolution.

“Ferraris are more refined, but Jaguars are more raw,” Barber says with a smile. “Lots of fuel, big bang, more torque—very British.”

1964 AC Cobra “GPG 4C” #1

1964 AC Cobra
1964 AC Cobra
1964 AC Cobra
Jeff Peek
1964 AC Cobra “GPG 4C”

One of the most famously campaigned AC Cobras, this red and gold beauty also raced in the RAC TT Celebration at Goodwood. Delivered new to Tommy Atkins’ High Efficiency Motors Racing Team, the car raced in the 1964 RAC TT at Goodwood with Roy Salvadori behind the wheel. It also raced twice at Goodwood in ’65, winning the Sussex Trophy and claiming the GT Class in the Whitsun Trophy.

1965 Ford GT40 #13

1965 Ford GT40
Jeff Peek
1965 Ford GT40

Few race cars are more famous or iconic as the GT40, which was the result of Henry Ford II’s unrelenting desire to beat Ferrari on the track. The GT40 did exactly that, winning the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans four consecutive years from 1966–69. This gorgeous ’65 GT40—powered by a 390-horsepower 4.7-liter V-8—competed in Goodwood’s Whitsun Trophy race.

1965 Ferrari 1512 #13

1965 Ferrari 1512
1965 Ferrari 1512
1965 Ferrari 1512
Jeff Peek
1965 Ferrari 1512

John Surtees, 1964 F1 World Champion, once told Motorsports Magazine that if he had to choose one car, it would be the Ferrari 1512 he drove at Monza at the end of the ’65 season. “I would not normally choose a 1.5-litre car, but there was something so good about the 1512.” It was the first flat-12 engine produced by Ferrari engineer Mauro Fogheiri and had 24 spark plugs, four distributors, four ignition coils, and fuel injection. Although the flat-12 wasn’t overly powerful, it had a low center of gravity, which significantly improved handling. This one competed for Goodwood’s Glover Trophy, open to 1.5-liter Grand Prix cars built from 1961–65.

1963 Cooper-Climax T66 #66

1963 Cooper-Climax T66
Jeff Peek
1963 Cooper-Climax T66

Also racing for the Glover Trophy, this 1963 Cooper-Climax T66 represented a leap forward from the previous T60, particularly in handling and stability of the car under braking and while turning. Bruce McLaren drove one during the 1963 season but could only manage to finish sixth overall. Nevertheless, the Cooper looks sleek and fast, and it was properly celebrated as a featured marque at Goodwood.

1964 Brabham-Climax BT11 #16

1964 Brabham-Climax BT11
Jeff Peek
1964 Brabham-Climax BT11

Another race car with ties to Climax, this 1964 BT11 was driven by Australian Jack Brabham during the ’64 Formula One season. Brabham finished eighth in the standings, just behind New Zealander McLaren. As a 1.5-liter car, the B11 competed for the Glover Trophy at Goodwood.

1959 Aston Martin DBR1 #6

1959 Aston Martin DBR1
Jeff Peek
1959 Aston Martin DBR1

Six decades ago this month, Carroll Shelby, Stirling Moss, and Jack Fairman drove a DBR1 to a victory at the RAC Tourist Trophy at Goodwood, so it only makes sense to draw attention to this stunning DBR1, which took part in Goodwood’s RAC TT Tribute. How special is the DBR1 in motorsports history? The prototype sold for a record $22.5 million last summer—and it never won a race. And when it comes to good looks, we dare you to walk past one without stopping and appreciating its beauty—at least for a moment.