Port ponders a race car, but not for racing

| 6 Jun 2012

I know for a fact that I’m not the only individual in the C&SC office that is almost always on the lookout for something new to capture their imagination – long, or short term. It may not (and often won’t) lead to anything, but it’s a bloody good way to while away the hours when it’s too wet to work on the cars that we do own.

And this brings me neatly onto my latest infatuation. I’ll tell you what I want. What I really, REALLY want… and that is an early Formula Vee car. Mock all you like, but the air-cooled enthusiast in me can’t help but be lured by these pint-sized racers that helped kick-start the careers of such luminaries as Lauda, Fitipaldi and Rosberg.

Based on stock Beetle parts, the single-seater was conceived in 1959 by a VW Porsche dealer in Florida who commissioned Nardi to build a prototype based on a 1958 car.

Two years later and George Smith and William Duckworth created the Formula Vee series using the Nardi car as the model for their Formcar, thus launching an ‘affordable’ way to go racing.

So why do I want one? Not sure really.

It could be that there’s a little bit of a racer in all of us big boys and the romanticism of being able to open the garage door to discover your very own race car obviously appeals.

Curiously, though, I’m not that bothered about actually taking to the track with it and there lies the problem. If I managed to get my hands on an early car, I’d want to be able to pull it out of the garage and take it for a spin around the Berkshire lanes.

Therefore, it would have to be road-legal and unless I was lucky enough to hit upon the Holy Grail (ie one that had been road registered in period) I would be fitting it with cycle wings, indicators, filing off the sharp edges etc and the end result would be a diluted dream.

If that had to happen then I may as well buy a Caterham and be done with it. Oh well. Looks like that infatuation was one of the short-lived ones. Sigh.