While we’re not planning on trading our big blocks for air cooled VW engines any time soon, we always dig seeing video that proves the concept of power to weight ratio. Take this awesome in-car clippage from an autocross. The vehicle that we’re riding in is a 1963 Sardini chassis Formula Vee race car that sports a VW engine that probably puts about 70hp to the tire in modified form, if we had to guess. The car has an 83-inch wheelbase and weighs, get this, 850lbs without the driver. Interestingly, this is one of only 10 Sardini chassis ever built. Despite the Italian sounding name, they were constructed in Manhattan, Kansas back in the early 1960s.
The driver literally wears this car. As this is an autocross, he is not required to be in a fire suit, or anything of that nature. He’s got his helmet on and a really neat course of cones to carve through. To say that this thing is a nimble, fun, man-sized go kart would be an understatement. Obviously there are modern chassis and engine combos that would be more grippy and quick around the course, but we’re thinking that having one of these to both autocross and open track (maybe even wheel to wheel race in the SCCA) would really be some big, stupid fun.
Both Chad and I have spent a bunch of time at autocrosses recently and one thing becomes readily apparent when you watch with a critical eye. Balance and agility is far more important than blunt force and brute strength. Hazing the tires out of a corner isn’t going to help your elapsed time. Sticking and gripping is. This little car barely has the suds to spin them up in a car wash but looks like a riot to us!
Press play below and discover why we want an old Formula Vee car so bad!