The Goodwood Festival of Speed, which took place last weekend, brings a truly staggering variety of historic and modern cars to compete against each other.
It even had a few green cars, of sorts, which joined the splendid array of vehicles that sprinted up the hill, one by one, to be timed over the 1.1-mile course. Perhaps the most striking was a car few attendees had ever seen, the 1956 Renault Etoile Filante (“shooting star”) land-speed record car.
It’s only theoretically a green car—and painted French blue, naturally—but its experimental 270-horsepower turbine power plant is housed inside a tubular frame covered in a polyester-clad shape that resulted from two years of wind-tunnel testing, according to Renault.
At the Bonneville Salt Flats on September 5, 1956, the Etoile Filante set a Land Speed Record for turbine-powered cars of 191.74 mph (308.58 km/h) over 3 miles (5 km) that still stands today.
At Goodwood, it whooshed silently up the track, usually trailing two older and much noisier historic Renault racers.
Even quieter was the Tesla Model X P90D all-electric luxury crossover utility vehicle, which took several turns running up the hill amidst a line of cars up to 110 years older.
Its drivers invariably made the slower return trip down the hill with both falcon doors open, entrancing half the crowd and leading the other half to mutter, “Hmmph, bit flash, isn’t it?”
The Tesla booth set up amidst other luxury vendors attracted a steady crowd. While its Model X was a very early left-hand-drive model, it offered several of the latest Model S versions in right-hand drive as well. A single Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell car also slowly whirred its way up the hill.