Nigel Mansell is selling one of his prized red racers – but it’s not what you imagine

by James Mills
31 March 2022 2 min read
Nigel Mansell is selling one of his prized red racers – but it’s not what you imagine
Photos: RM Sotheby's

It is well known that Nigel Mansell enjoys his hobbies as much as the next person. Hand him a set of golf clubs and he’ll take home trophies, even going so far as to gain an entry to the Australian Open in 1988. Kit him out with a karate Gi uniform and before you know it he’ll have earned a black belt. But when it comes to driving for pleasure, few could have imagined that the 1992 Formula One World Champion would indulge himself with an oddity like the iC Modulo.

Yet sure enough, Mansell has owned the three-wheeled Modulo since 1992, and with nearly 3200km (1980 miles) on the clock the former F1 driver has clearly found time to take it for weekend drives – perhaps with his beloved golf clubs on the tandem-type back seat.

The Modulo is being sold by Mansell as he clears out a number of cars from his personal collection. They include a race-winning 1989 Ferrari 640 F1 car and the very same, 1991 Williams FW14 that Mansell drove to victory at the British Grand Prix – famously giving Ayrton Senna a ride back to the pits after taking the chequered flag.

The Modulo was created by Carlo Lamattina, a former Alfa Romeo engineer who formed iC (Italian Cars) and took it upon himself to change the perception of three-wheelers being unfashionable and boring to drive. It goes without saying that history shows such attempts were generally unsuccessful.

All credit to Lamattina, however, as he knew a PR opportunity when he saw one. During the weekend of the 1992 Italian Grand Prix, the engineer presented the first Modulo to Mansell, who subsequently moved it to his personal car collection housed in Jersey, where is has been ever since.

What would Mansell, family and friends have experienced when getting behind the wheel of this strange-looking creation, which looks like the lovechild of a Lamborghini Diablo, BMW motorbike and homemade bumper car?

The first generation of the Modulo is powered by a 750cc, injected and water-cooled BMW K75S engine and paired with a BMW five-speed manual gearbox. Housing the BMW drivetrain is a box-type welded steel chassis, clothed with a carbon fibre and Kevlar-reinforced polyester body. There are disc brakes, independent front suspension and a rack-and-pinion steering box.

All in, it reportedly weighs less than 400 kilograms, and with a 74bhp engine could reach 125mph – assuming you had the guts in such an unusual-looking projectile. Who knows if Mansell himself was brave enough during those decades of ownership.

The Modulo is being offered for sale without reserve, during RM Sotheby’s Monaco auction in May. Whoever buys it will pay significantly less than it would cost to buy one of Mansell’s GP-winning F1 cars, but they will have to have the Modulo recommissioned as it has been standing for some time.

Perhaps Our Nige’ was too busy playing golf to get behind the wheel…

Read more

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