Tuesday, May 17

You Can Buy This Ridiculous Trike From Racing Legend Nigel Mansell

A photo of the red Modulo trike with the caption "what the heck is this?"

Do you know what Nigel Mansell’s old trike is
Photo: RM Sotheby’s

Do you ever find yourself perusing car auction listings in search of all the vehicles you’d buy if you ever won the lottery? Well, if you do, an upcoming RM Sotheby’s auction has a load of beautiful cars that you might want to consider. But alongside the supercars and racing machines is this weird trike that used to belong to Nigel Mansell.

As part of RM Sotheby’s upcoming Monaco sale on May 14, the luxury auction house is rolling out a bunch of cars from Nigel Mansell’s personal collection and offering them out to the highest bidder.

The sale includes the stunning 1989 Ferrari 640 driven by Mansell in the 1989 F1 season, and the Williams FW14 that the former racer famously gave Ayrton Senna a lift on at the 1991 British Grand Prix.

Clearly, the former Formula 1 driver has built up a pretty impressive collection of cars over the years. But among the former race cars is this, a 1990 iC Modulo M89.

A photo of the side of a Modulo three-wheeled car.

in some parallel universe, we all drive Modulos.
Photo: RM Sotheby’s

This weird looking trike is a vehicle I’d never heard of before. Made by fledgling company Italian Cars, the Modulo looks a bit like someone stuck the front from a bad copy of a Ferrari F40 to the back of a BMW motorbike. Think of it as an Italian precursor to the Polaris Slingshot.

If, like me, the Modulo is new to you, let me tell you a bit about its history.

The Modulo was conceived by designer Carlo Lamattina, who wanted to change the public opinion of three-wheelers as being “unfashionable, modest and not exciting to drive.”

With that in mind, Lamattina set out to make a three-wheeler “with the performance of a 2.0-liter car, the economy of a motorbike and the driving experience of a low-slung performance vehicle.”

Sounds like an ambitious aim, but the resulting vehicle is exactly what you see here.

A photo of the front of a red Modulo three-wheeled car.

I don’t hate this front end.
Photo: RM Sotheby’s

It seats two, a passenger can sit directly behind the driver, and is powered by a BMW K75S motorcycle engine that produced 74 hp. This is coupled with a five-speed manual gearbox that sends power to the singular rear wheel.

This power plant was paired with a chassis that weighs 850 lbs, meaning that the Modulo could reach up to 125mph. And, its trio of disc brakes, independent front suspension and shock absorbers meant the trike could handle pretty well too.

Despite these lofty performance figures for a 90s trike, it still feels like an odd choice of vehicle for the former Williams F1 driver. But there’s an explanation for that as it turns out that Mansell never actually bought the car. Instead, he was instead gifted it by the Modulo’s designer.

According to RM Sotheby’s, Mansell was presented with his Modulo by Lamattina in 1992 after qualifying at the Italian Grand Prix. In that race, Mansell qualified on pole for Williams ahead of Senna. But it was Senna who would eventually take the win after Mansell retired from the race.

We’re not suggesting the Modulo had anything to do with Mansell’s poor race result. But, if you do end up buying this, maybe don’t gift it to anyone competing in a race anytime soon.

Reference-jalopnik.com

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