Stock cars in the morning

Goodwood Revival | Press Article 17/04/24

Stock Cars in the Early Morning

10 September 2016

The first full day of racing at the Goodwood Revival has started off with a parade of some of the wackiest racers to be seen at the Goodwood track. Agricultural by comparison with the cars that will be raced here today, over 20 British Stock Cars have been circulating clockwise in front of the gathering crowd – the wrong way for machines more used to short oval circuits. 

Stock Car racing in the UK dates back to the mid-1950s when speedway and other short oval circuits hosted fields of cars based on pre-war American sedan bodies and powered by throaty V8 engines. At least in those early days the cars had a semblance to ‘stock’ or production cars. While American stock car racing evolved into a high speed, large banked oval sport, the British version of the sport remained true to the short circuits. Spectators, eager for live sport in the 1950s flocked to packed stadiums to watch. 

Then, as now, British stock car racing was definitely a contact sport. That means that most of the early cars no longer exist and so many of the cars seen this weekend are replicas. Ford Model B racer Harold ‘Bozzy’ Bosworth was one who did not expect his cars to last more than six to eight weeks. However, his last Model B managed to survive and, now owned by Keith Barber, is one of the stars of the display. Duncan Bell – then aged 17 - was another who competed back in 1955 and he still runs a Ford Model 40 Tudor, now sporting the Picture Post livery of the car in which John Goody became the first Englishman to win a major Stock Car final.

In the 1960s, Stock Cars shed any pretence of being production based, evolving into the sturdy, purpose-built machines with their tiny bodies that are popular today. Six of these OHV V8-powered cars followed up this morning’s spectacular parade. All will be back again tomorrow at 9.20am to entertain the early morning spectators, many of their drivers really looking the part in their ‘bone dome’ helmets.


Editor’s Notes

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