‘A lot of people said it would never work… but we managed it!’ A whole village will testify to that. When Mike Vardy takes his car out for a run, you can’t exactly miss it.
Mike’s car is a 1905 Fiat powered by an engine out of a WW1 airship. Not your average automobile perhaps, but in the cacophonous, tyre-shredding world of Edwardian racing cars it’s pretty much par for the course – even if Mike does describe the owning and rebuilding of such a car as an ‘illness’.
It’s an illness we love, along with his village neighbours to judge by the number of swivelling heads and slack jaws in our video.
We dropped in on Mike to see how his preparations were going for the first S F Edge Trophy race – Mike’s Fiat will be one of the Edwardian giants bringing some Brooklands-era power and glory to the 74th Members’ Meeting at Goodwood this year (19-20 March).
Those preparations are going well, as Mike was only too happy to demonstrate, charging through his village and laying down plenty of rubber – something GRR imagines you really can’t help but do when you have 3,000 lb ft of Isotta Fraschini torque at the rear wheels. Taming it is the key, as Mike tells us, but get it right and this monster of a car will hit 127mph.
It makes quite a sight on public roads but what we are really looking forward to is a grid-full of such cars when they take to the Motor Circuit for the first time in anger during 74MM. The Fiat will be joined by other pre-1923 masters of the Brooklands banking such as GN, Darracq and Sunbeam.
Something to look forward to then, but for now enjoy watching Mike and his Fiat in action and hear Mike’s story of his eight-year rebuild – and how ultimately it has ended in disappointment…well, sort of!