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2013 Subaru BRZ: The Road To Goodwood Page 4

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The long M1 to Brighton

Good things come to an end, usually not quite as industrial or grim as the drizzly cloverleaf outside Sheffield, where we decided after just a couple of hours to leave behind the slow pace of those country roads. It was time to make time, and to make a direct route south for the English Channel, stopping for a quick fish and chips at a converted gas station right before entering the motorway.

We were headed for Brighton, not exactly the final destination, but close enough to Goodwood and home to a generally wider selection of pubs. Brighton's a coastal resort, alternately happening and shabby, and this weekend in the midst of a chili festival. Street vendors with vintage clothes by the rackful must have been anticipating good Goodwood crowds, or maybe a bedbug-like hipster infestation. We drove by slowly--I still didn't have a hat and the racks were tempting, but not as much as our cars were tempting the locals. Apparently, only about 1,000 BRZs are allotted to Subaru UK for the launch year, and seeing one live is a game of Concentration, with sidewalk crowds trying to match the shape with the brand.

We give them ample opportunity, since we miss the hotel parking garage three or four times and make the scene work to our advantage. We're not alone though--the Goodwood crowd is already descending on Brighton, although it's a good 30 minutes to the southeast of the festival.

That is, if you time it correctly. Leave Brighton at, say, 8 o'clock in the hope of entering the Revival by 9, and you're dreaming. Some three hours and a minimum of four stranded British cars later (it's still unclear if they measure time or distance), we finally make our way onto one more ducal estate, this time the Duke of Richmond's grounds, next door to the global headquarters of Rolls-Royce, and now the home of the Revival--as well as the Goodwood Festival of Speed and other heavily sponsored opportunities that have kept the estate in ducal hands.

We leave the BRZs parked neatly in a row, to be collected later, and dive into the Goodwood Revival a mostly natty bunch, outfits spanning the decades from early 1940s to the very end of the Goodwood era. Specifically, 1966. More specifically, April 4, I think. It all comes down to the pinstriping.

All except for me of course. I wandered into and around the Revival with just the argyle looking period-appropriate--unless you count a little windburn and some eau de leaded gasoline around the neck and ears.

I never did find the perfect hat. But in a quintessentially quirky, perfectly British moment of zen, I wondered whether the hat had found me.

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