Goodwood Festival of Speed; new Porsche 911; VW Beetle; Jaguar C-X16; Pageant of Power
23 December 2011

The month started in familiar fashion, with well deserved praise from all who were at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Over a blazing weekend on Charles March’s ample front lawn, Autocar regulars took rare opportunities to drive classic competition Jaguar E-types and 1980s rally Vauxhalls, as well as brand-new production metal like the Honda CR-Z Mugen and Morgan 3 Wheeler.

It was one of the highlights of the motorsport season. And it was followed, seven days later, by another: a British F1 grand prix to savour, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso reminding us of the talents that made him a world champion.The month started in familiar fashion, with well deserved praise from all who were at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Over a blazing weekend on Charles March’s ample front lawn, Autocar regulars took rare opportunities to drive classic competition Jaguar E-types and 1980s rally Vauxhalls, as well as brand-new production metal like the Honda CR-Z Mugen and Morgan 3 Wheeler.

It was one of the highlights of the motorsport season. And it was followed, seven days later, by another: a British F1 grand prix to savour, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso reminding us of the talents that made him a world champion.

Kicking off our ‘Goodwood FOS’ report issue was a news story of tantalising appeal: Royal College of Art design student Julliana Cho’s vision of a new and striking Porsche 928. Produced with the guidance of Porsche’s own design boss, Michael Mauer, it promised that front-engined V8 coupés – even low-slung shooting brakes – could soon be on Weissach’s menu.

In the same issue, Porsche devotees read about Andrew Frankel’s full-throttle ride in an almost finished version of the new 991 generation of the 911. It’s longer and wider than the outgoing car, with a longer wheelbase and a lightweight aluminium-rich construction. Frankel’s sentiments, for those who don’t remember them, were compelling: “I have little doubt that this will be a great Porsche,” he wrote, “but a different kind of 911. Even more capable, usable, spacious, comfortable and quiet. Will it make you feel hardwired to the road surface? That’s impossible to say without a steering wheel in your hands.” And it would be another four months until that particular moment arrived.

Later in the month came our chance to drive the latest version of a car with an even longer and more widely known legend than the perennial 911 – albeit a considerably less meaningful relationship to it. VW’s new Beetle arrived with a more masculine attitude than its forebear and styling more reminiscent of the original Volkswagen. And although it didn’t handle with the well judged aplomb of a Golf, Steve Cropley could see a place for the car: “The Beetle is and will remain Volkswagen’s icon. A cool 22.5 million have found homes, and there will be many more.”

Our cover story on 27 July featured an in-house rendering (in the picture gallery) of one of the most talked-about Jaguars of the year. We called it the firm’s modern-day E-type. Jaguar has been designing and engineering it as a £40k rival to the popular Porsche Boxster. And the details in that story – of a car with V6 engines, based on a cut-down, next-generation XK platform and intended for production by late 2012 – would be confirmed almost to the letter when, two months later, Jaguar began to talk about the substance behind the C-X16 concept at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

And in a neat piece of symmetry, the month finished as it started, with another report from a summer hillclimb. Matt Prior’s trip the Cholmondely Pageant of Power wasn’t just for pleasure; he was sent on a mission, to smash the venue’s record for a production car – in an Ariel Atom V8, no less. Rain, and a shortage of practice, meant that our man missed his target by four seconds. Next year, if the invitation is extended, no excuses will be required, says Matt. Assuming the sun is as bright in Cheshire as it normally is in Sussex.

Kicking off our ‘Goodwood FOS’ report issue was a news story of tantalising appeal: Royal College of Art design student Julliana Cho’s vision of a new and striking Porsche 928. Produced with the guidance of Porsche’s own design boss, Michael Mauer, it promised that front-engined V8 coupés – even low-slung shooting brakes – could soon be on Weissach’s menu.

In the same issue, Porsche devotees read about Andrew Frankel’s full-throttle ride in an almost finished version of the new 991 generation of the 911. It’s longer and wider than the outgoing car, with a longer wheelbase and a lightweight aluminium-rich construction. Frankel’s sentiments, for those who don’t remember them, were compelling: “I have little doubt that this will be a great Porsche,” he wrote, “but a different kind of 911. Even more capable, usable, spacious, comfortable and quiet. Will it make you feel hardwired to the road surface? That’s impossible to say without a steering wheel in your hands.” And it would be another four months until that particular moment arrived.

Later in the month came our chance to drive the latest version of a car with an even longer and more widely known legend than the perennial 911 – albeit a considerably less meaningful relationship to it. VW’s new Beetle arrived with a more masculine attitude than its forebear and styling more reminiscent of the original Volkswagen. And although it didn’t handle with the well judged aplomb of a Golf, Steve Cropley could see a place for the car: “The Beetle is and will remain Volkswagen’s icon. A cool 22.5 million have found homes, and there will be many more.”

Our cover story on 27 July featured an in-house rendering (in the picture gallery) of one of the most talked-about Jaguars of the year. We called it the firm’s modern-day E-type. Jaguar has been designing and engineering it as a £40k rival to the popular Porsche Boxster. And the details in that story – of a car with V6 engines, based on a cut-down, next-generation XK platform and intended for production by late 2012 – would be confirmed almost to the letter when, two months later, Jaguar began to talk about the substance behind the C-X16 concept at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

And in a neat piece of symmetry, the month finished as it started, with another report from a summer hillclimb. Matt Prior’s trip the Cholmondely Pageant of Power wasn’t just for pleasure; he was sent on a mission, to smash the venue’s record for a production car – in an Ariel Atom V8, no less. Rain, and a shortage of practice, meant that our man missed his target by four seconds. Next year, if the invitation is extended, no excuses will be required, says Matt. Assuming the sun is as bright in Cheshire as it normally is in Sussex.

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