When I posted this photo to my instagram page in September, I was more than aware of it's significance. What you're looking at here is Mike Griffin, founder of Cartune, racing a VW Beetle, At Goodwood, in 1958. let that sink in.
Volkswagen only landed in the U.K. on Regent Street in 1953, yet 5 years on, probably still harbouring an anti German sentiment (WW2), here we are racing a VW at Goodwood. Not just any circuit, but Goodwood. Steeped in history and a marquee fixture on the classic motoring calendar where the Festival Of Speed and Revival are concerned. Add to that that Drew Prichard of T.V's Salvage Hunters fame was racing his beetle at the Goodwood revival in 2018, exactly 60 years on. Quite a well timed find if I do say so myself. As Ian Clark of Wolfsburg Performance services neatly put it "Amazing pics, so cool to see it wasn't always just British and Italian cars at Goodwood." If you're reading Lord March, more VW's next year please. Period correct and all that!
So how did I even find these images in the first place?
A man who's name crops up all over this site, by the name of Peter Noad wrote a lesser known book called the VW beetle in Motorsport. within those pages there is one sentence and it goes:
"Mike Griffin and Roy Vaughan who formed Cartune Ltd drove VW's in handicap races at Goodwood in the late 50's."
That's it. that's all I had to work with. Now to start looking. First port of call was The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. I sent an email which basically quoted Noad's sentence. To my utter astonishment I received an email back within a matter of hours with 4 pictures. I honestly thought that there was no chance that any photos of the event existed in the first place, and even if they did, I'd never find them. I couldn't believe how well it had gone. Has anyone even remoteley interested in VW's ever seen these photos? I can't recall seeing them in any publications. But why are the photos significant?
They're significant because it cements Mike, Roy and Cartune as genuine pioneers of VW tuning, particularly in the U.K. Most of us can probably reel off names like Joe Vittone of EMPI over in the U.S.A. and Theo Decker of Germany, but it's tough to name someone in the U.K. that was tuning Volkswagens in the U.K. back then. There's a chance these could just be stock engined Ovals, But It wasn't long after that Mike and Roy set up Cartune offering such goods as superchargers and wide five disc brake kits for VW's in Safer Motoring magazine. Who's to say some of these products weren't being tested in these very photos? I'm aware that they both had the kind of disposable income to do such a thing too.
I always believed that Cartune deserved more recognition than what it has had, and if these photos can't give the name more provenience then I don't know what can. After all they are the U.K's first performance VW company.
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