Enrico Nardi was born in Bologna in 1907, his first job was with Vincenzo Lancia, testing trucks. In his own time, he built a special powered by a JAP engine, and used it successfully in hill climbs.
Nardi left Lancia in 1937 to join Ferrari as a test driver and worked on the 815, Ferrari’s first production car, one of which competed in the 1940 Mille Miglia, piloted by Machiavelli di Modena with Enrico as co-driver.
In 1946, Nardi set up his own company with partner Ricardo Danese. The firm specialised in tuning parts and accessories, but also built a series of racing cars powered by a wide range of engines, from a 750 cc BMW unit to an 1100 cc Fiat and a 2500 cc Alfa Romeo.
Nardi's 500 caused a stir among the British competitors when these pictures were released in early 1951due to the use of a Gilera four cylinder engine. The home talent's concern was the possibility that the Italian engine might render the Manx Norton obsolete. In truth they never managed the power necessary in 500cc guise to overcome that additional weight and complexity and the Italian motorbike manufacturers were more interested in two wheels. It also wouldn't have helped that the engine is mounted quite high in the chassis, with shaft drive to the Fiat axle and a short wheelbase, handling would have been quite challenging.
By the mid-Fifties, Nardi began to tire of car building. His last car was a twin-boom sports car built for the 1955 Le Mans after which he concentrated on his line of high-performance parts such as special manifolds, crankshafts, camshafts, and as well as his beautiful steering wheels.
Enrico Nardi passed away at the age of 59, in 1966.
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