10 dropheads braving a British downpour at Goodwood Revival

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Jaguar C-type at Goodwood Revival detail 2
Nik Berg

Britons buy more convertibles than the residents of any other nation in Europe and, by the looks of the cars in the Goodwood Revival parking lots, it was ever thus. Perhaps because the weather is only thing that truly unites as a people, we have always taken every opportunity to drive topless or tonneau-covered. We Brits are either bold in the face of the elements or delighted to expound on the unpredictable miseries of open-top motoring … and there are few things more miserable than being caught in a squall in car that takes an engineering course to erect its roof.

Perhaps that’s why so many of the droptops lined up in the green fields of Goodwood were left uncovered, despite the near-certainty of a downpour on a late summer afternoon in England. Here are ten British convertibles that showed their stiff canvas tops—and the even stiffer upper lips of their owners.

1934 Lagonda M45 Drop Head Coupe

Lagonda M45 at Goodwood Revival
Nik Berg

The owners of this lovely Lagonda hedged their bets by putting the roof partially up, ensuring that at least the rear passengers would have a dry ride home. Fitted with the four-liter Meadows engine in a three-liter chassis, the M45 was one of the fastest cars in its day. In 1935 the M45 R Rapide won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in style with Johnny Hindmarsh and Luis Fontés sharing driving duties.

1966 Daimler V8 Touring

As you may be aware, Daimler never made a four-door convertible version of its 250 V-8 sedan. That hasn’t stopped some sun-seeking enthusiast from having a go. The conversion looks rather tidy, although we have to wonder just how much the body flexes over bumps.

1951 Austin A90 Atlantic

Austin Atlantic at Goodwood Revival
Nik Berg

The short-lived Atlantic was build by Austin to appeal to our American cousins and was part of the British government’s “export or die” edict. With just 350 making across the ocean for which it was named, the 2.7-liter Atlantic inadvertently chose the latter option. It was only built for three years.

1967 Lotus Elan S/E

Lotus Elan at Goodwood Revival
Nik Berg

The lightweight Lotus Elan may just be the perfect British roadster, admired the world over for its exemplary handling. Also extolled ’round the world: the British determination to enjoy a summer picnic, no matter what the skies may threaten.

1932 Morgan Three-Wheeler

British motoring doesn’t get much more basic than a Morgan three-wheeler. Low-tax, and driveable on a cheaper motorcycle license, the miniature Morgan brought mobility to many. Its JAP engine hung out beyond the front axle, side pipe ready to scorch. Skinny tires meant this tricylce was also hugely entertaining.

1968 Mini Moke

Mini Moke at Goodwood Revival
Nik Berg

Today you can buy a brand-new Moke powered by batteries, but the chances of it having enough range to get anyone to Goodwood are slim. The drivers of this glorious green Moke did things the traditional way, with a little A-Series engine under the hood and the wind and rain sweeping through the open sides.

1959 Alvis TD21

Alvis TD 21at Goodwood Revival
Nik Berg

This Park Ward–bodied Alvis drophead is an even rarer sight than the double rainbow behind it. Fewer than 800 were made, the majority of which were coupes. A genuine 100-mph car, its owners might have just been able to outrun the weather on their way home.

Jaguar C-Type

Jaguar C-type at Goodwood Revival
Nik Berg

The provenance of this C-Type is a little unclear. It’s registered as a 1966 car, long after Jaguar finished making its short run, so it is likely a replica. That might explain why it was left open. Hopefully the owner didn’t need to bail out the footwells before heading home.

Austin Healey 100M

Top marks for endurance go to the owner of this 100M, who had traveled from Germany, thus braving the autobahn, the English Channel, and the English weather. Big Healey, bigger balls.

1950 Riley 2.5

Riley 2.5 at Goodwood Revival
Nik Berg

This Riley four-seater cabriolet is greener even than the lush grass of Goodwood. With its Big Four 2.5-liter engine rated at 16 RAC hp (over 100 in American metrics), this RMD was the last convertible to wear the Riley badge. What a way to bow out.

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Comments

    My own Lagonda was parked just in front of the LG45. It’s a strange article because the forecast was for dry weather all day, hence the hoods being left down and in any case the shower only lasted 10 mins and by the time we drove home the seats were completely dry. All good fun!

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