Neil Armstrong’s Golden Rims

Virgin Atlantic Neil Armstrong Sol Rally Barbados

When life doesn’t happen to you, go to it.

Neil Armstrong didn’t drive his usual beast at the Sol Rally this year and we’re not sure everyone picked up on it properly. It turns out his engine was in California being worked on which left him nothing to drive… So come the Sol Rally, our Bajan Bulldog needed some metal for his pedal.

He got in touch with Virgin – he had an idea. The plan was to import a car from the UK. Not any car, the Ford Escort Mk2. There is such a massive cult-following around the world that Ford have started pressing new panels all over again.

It’s a legendary car that the greats have driven and, this year, our homegrown Armstrong was bombing around in one. We have to remember that if you’ve grown up tearing up the rallies in Barbados you’re certainly going to know the courses pretty well so by adding a new car, you’re adding complexity, character and a handful of the unknown. There’s your adventure right there.

Virgin agreed. The car was brought to Barbados in the cargo hold of a Virgin Atlantic plane and the mechanics came with it. Virgin will always say one thing consistently: Life won’t come to you. So go to it. Armstrong needed a car for the Sol Rally and Virgin flew one over. Bam. Just like that. Those gold rims were all UK magic in Barbados.

It’s an awesome drive… In fact we were in it when it tore around Bushy Park (it was amazing) and the vibration just got right under our skin. Dream come true. There is the story of an Irish collector who bought fifty Mk2 decades ago and now they’re all worth ten times what he paid. Deal well done.

We asked Armstrong what advice he would give his younger self: Nothing. I got to see and learn from all levels, bottom to the top. Don’t stress out and enjoy.