Home-made racing car set to race at Goodwood again 55 years on

Michael Homer, Tony Cowell, Roger Phillips and Raymond Jackson in the car
Michael Homer, Tony Cowell, Roger Phillips and Raymond Jackson in the car

More than half a century after its creation, an historic home-made racing car will once again run its rubber on the Goodwood track.

Seventy-seven-year-old Roger Phillip, from Ham, Chichester, said: “I am as excited, possibly more now, at the prospect of driving it again as I was over 50 years ago, and cannot wait...”

Pandora in 1964

Pandora in 1964

Roger and friends Michael Homer and Tony Cowell, from Selsey, funded, designed and built the car, named Pandora, as teenagers in 1964, after coming up with the idea in the White Horse pub in South Street.

The ‘Three Musketeers’, as they were known, began working on the car in a mechanics workshop on weekends and, bit by bit, the car began to come together.

Once ready, they took the car to the Goodwood track for its first-ever race, in which it came third.

The Observer covered the race with a story headlined ‘Goodwood third for home-made car’ on May 22, 1964.

Pandora in the Goodwood Assembly area

Pandora in the Goodwood Assembly area

Roger said: “Unfortunately, (for racing), or fortunately, (for life beyond), each of us three gained friends of the opposite sex,” and the group was no longer available to work on Pandora on the weekends.

Roger then moved to the Bahamas with his now wife Susan and his shares in Pandora were given to Tony and Michael.

Years later, the car was written off and sold but Roger began to try to track down Pandora. After talking to an editor from Autosport magazine after racing in the Renault Clio cup 1993-94, an article was published with the message ‘Have you seen this car?’

More than a decade after that, Roger received an email from a man who, while looking at an old copy of the magazine, recognised the car as his own and got in touch.

Pandora has been restored and ‘resurrected’ and it has been arranged that Roger will take it round the Goodwood track on March 14. He said he was ‘absolutely over the moon’ to have the opportunity to get back behind the steering wheel.

He said: “I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to it. My son is flying over from Charleston and my two daughters are coming from Falmer and Midhurst.

“It’s a very quick car and the fact that we managed to build it, design it and pay for it in our teens was great – no one told us we couldn’t do it.”

Roger, who has driven ‘thousands of laps’ around the Goodwood track called it ‘fabulous’ that he would be back on it after so many years.