REMEMBER the Arrows F1 cars?

Among the drivers of the Tom Walkinshaw-owned team were Mika Salo, Riccardo Patrese, Pedro Diniz and Jos Verstappen — yes, daddy of the current Red Bull wunderkind, Max.

They were serious contenders from 1978 to 2002 and other noted drivers included Thierry Boutsen, Derek Warwick, Eddie Cheever, Damon Hill, Gerhard Berger, Tora Takagi, Pedro de la Rosa — and our own Alan Jones.

Arrows used engines built by Brian Hart and the cars were the first British ones with Brit-built engines since the BRMs of the late 1970s.

They never won a GP, but scored nine podiums — five of them second spots.

Arrow takes two in the back

Now a UK company called Race Cars Direct has a couple of Arrows cars for sale, but they’re very special models, built for taking VIPs for a F1 experience a day before any actual Grand Prix.

There was a two-seater Minardi doing such work, but the Arrows are three-seaters, and unlike the Minardi, where the VIP sat in a cockpit behind the driver, the Arrows offers side-by-side seating for two VIPs at a time.  

“The designers focused on giving passengers  a totally uncompromised and real driver’s view of what Formula One is all about, while maintaining passenger and driver safety,” Walkinshaw said.

“The Arrows AX3 has been designed to give a truer experience than ever before of what an F1 driver sees and feels from the cockpit.

“A lot has been written about acceleration, G-forces and braking capabilities of these racing cars, but now we are furthering the opportunity to give people an appreciation of what it is really like”.

The two cars are said to be “in fantastic condition” having been maintained to the highest standards regardless of cost.

Both have only covered minimal kilometres on their  3.5-litre 540kW V10 Hart engines (which can be run with custom made exhaust silencers to reduce noise level to 92 DBA) and are supplied with a comprehensive spares package which includes full starting equipment for both cars, tyre warmers, specialist tooling and a spare zero kilometre engine.

The AX3s have very McLaren-like looks, but the driver sits front centre with his passengers behind, one on either side, so they can get their own share of terror — and bugs.

If it’s just what you’ve been looking for, well, they’re available at something like  $1.25m each.

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Buys

Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.