A history of Goodwood Festival of Speed sculptures
Every year since 1997 the Goodwood Festival of Speed has taken over the grounds of Goodwood House, and at the front of the impressive mansion stands a temporary sculpture designed by artist Gerry Judah.
In fact, ‘temporary sculpture’ probably doesn’t do them justice. Take, for example, this year’s offering.
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Weighing over 150 tonnes and standing 28 metres tall, the homage to the Jaguar E-type to mark its 50th anniversary is an engineering and artistic marvel.
Built using half a kilometre of steel tubes borrowed from a subsidiary of Jaguar’s owners, Tata Motors, the structure took ten days to put in place and a further four months to plan and build.
The sculpture is instantly recognisable as mimicking the shape of the Jaguar E-type, considered by many (including Enzo Ferrari no less) as the peak of automotive design.
However, this structure is one of the first to not actually feature a car after Judah considered it to be too delicate to use.
Here’s what Judah had to say about the sculpture:
“The E-type is famous for its shape but too small and delicate to hoist into the air. I thought I would like to express the form of the car itself without any embellishments. Everyone recognises the E-type, the shape speaks for itself. You can’t compete with it, you can’t digress from it."
But how does it measure up to his previous work at the Goodwood Festival of Speed?
2010 – Alfa Romeo
The centenary sculpture is inspired by the famous Alfa Romeo Cloverleaf badge – a symbol of the brand’s racing prowess and the colour is no accident either; Italian cars and the colour red go hand in hand.
The cars featured on the sculpture include the 1925 World Championship winning Alfa P2 Grand Prix racer and the more recent Alfa 8C Competizione super car.
Judah explained why the cars were chosen for the sculpture: “Translating their connection and representing the best of all that is Alfa Romeo, there was no better symbol to take inspiration from than Alfa’s famous Cloverleaf badge, which has donned past, present and hopefully future high performance Alfa Romeos."
2009 – Audi
Image via Bruno Postle
Audi’s centenary sculpture in 2009 towered over the Jaguar sculpture at 35m and featured the classic 1937 Auto Union streamliner and the new Audi R8 V10 sports car at either ends of what can only be described as a ‘swoosh’.
The simple but effective design’s intention is to showcase the past and the present of Audi in a ‘sporty, prestigious and progressive’ way, according to Judah.
2008 – Land Rover
Celebrating 60 years of Land Rover, the 2008 sculpture included five Land Rover models crawling over a ‘rock’ mesh to showcase their go-anywhere ability.
2007 – Toyota
Image via Alex Jones
This 45m high sculpture features a selection of Toyota cars including the Toyota Celica GT-Four, Toyota TS010 and the Toyota TF107 suspended from cables. Inspired by traditional ‘torii’ gates, the display was designed as a celebration of Toyota’s 75th anniversary.
2006 - Renault
Image via Bruno Postle
Less of a sculpture and more of a giant pringle-shaped umbrella, the 2006 effort was used to cover Renault’s various race cars to celebrate 100 years of Renault Grand Prix.
It did have its uses however, the sculpture was designed to channel sound and played host to Renault’s rendition of God Save the Queen using an F1 engine.
2005 - Honda
Image via Oli R
The 2005 sculpture is unique in that it was the only one to actually move. Honda, Lotus and McLaren were all represented on this ‘cars on sticks’ sculpture, whose individual parts swayed as if in a breeze.
The full choice of cars were the Honda RA272, Honda RA300, Lotus 99T, Williams FW11, McLaren MP4/4 and the BAR 006.
2004 – Rolls-Royce
This huge sculpture was designed to celebrate Rolls-Royce’s centenary and aimed to celebrate the brand’s land, sea and air abilities by mashing all three together in the imposing sculpture.
And yes, that is a submarine in there.
2003 – Ford
One of our favourite ever sculptures depicts three Ford Le Mans cars racing on a track seemingly materialising out of the sky in a dramatic photo finish.
The scene was designed to replicate the finish of the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours, which featured a 1-2-3 of Ford GTs to take the title for the first time.
Also in the immediate area was the Ford Model T, showcasing 100 years of Ford cars.
2002 – Renault
Renault used a giant feather to showcase seven different F1 cars to mark its return to the sport in 2002. It was the result of a collaboration between Judah and Renault’s head of road car design chief Thierry Metroz.
On unveiling the sculpture, Judah said: “Judah said: "It appealed to Renault's sense of adventure in design, trying to achieve not just a car sculpture but a sense of fun and playfulness."
2001 – Mercedes Benz
The 2001 Mercedes sculpture was particularly impressive. The Mercedes 300SL sat atop a sweeping sculpture which lit up the Goodwood sky at night.
Designed to celebrate the brand’s 100th anniversary, the sculpture is intended to resemble liquid hitting the ground, although it is certainly not intended to signify any sort of leak from the model.
2000 – Jaguar
2011 isn’t the first time the Big Cat has designed a sculpture for the Goodwood Festival of Speed. In 2000, it used an aptly named ‘cats cradle’ to showcase a number of Jaguar models in an impressive display.
1999 – Audi
Audi’s 1999 display featured an Audi Avus quattro and a couple of concepts on a banked sculpture made from metal poles. Abstract but imposing, the structure was the biggest to appear in the Festival at the time.
1998 – Porsche
1998 signified the second year Judah was asked to design the sculpture, creating a dramatic centrepiece to celebrate Porsche’s 50th anniversary – and he decided to go one better than the Ferrari arch the year before with an impressive effort.
The sculpture consisted of several classic and more modern Porsches skewered on huge spikes – including a Porsche 917 and a 936.
1997 – Ferrari
The first recognised ‘sculpture’ at the Goodwood Festival of Speed was this arch from Ferrari. ‘Set’ in polystyrene foundations, it featured a Roman archway with a Ferrari F31B Formula One racing car suspended vertically below.
According to Judah: "I had to create a triumphal arch to hang a Ferrari."
Who hasn’t had the same urge at one point in their lives?