750 Formula is a British racing formula for a two-seater sports/racers, regulated by the 750 Motor Club. Originally, cars were powered by the 750cc Austin Seven engine and the Seven chassis. Racing under this original formula regulations continues as a form of historic racing in the 750 Motor Club Historic 750 Series. Later, the Reliant engine was introduced, and since 2003 the 1108cc version of the Fiat FIRE engine is used.
The formula thrives today with a 14-round championship which is closely contested with grids of over 20 cars. 750 Formula is believed to be the most cost-effective way to race today with a competitive season of racing costing around £3,000 to £4,000 inclusive of entry fees, running costs and travel and accommodation.
In addition to being the world's longest running formula, it continues to thrive as an outlet for amateur constructor/drivers to hone their craft.
Dick was a stalwart of the 750 Formula for more than half a decade, starting in his youth, & maintaining his passionate interest until the end. He was always a “character”. He was a formidable figure in the paddock, with his huge sideburns & beautifully prepared, quick cars. His passion for the 750F, & his inherent stubbornness, often got him into trouble, but his love of the Formula never waned. He came across the 750F in the early 70’s, & together with his brother Jon & friend Mick Harris, the 3 of them changed the face of the Formula by producing the Darvi marque. They raised the bar, leaving the rest of the field to follow. Ahead of their time, many of the the Darvis are still racing today, some 30-40 years old, & still a force to be reckoned with on track. Dick had a brilliant mind, excelling at school in maths, physics & chemistry. After a promising career as an industrial chemist came to an abrupt end, Dick turned his full time attention to the 750 Formula & became “Dick Harvey Racing Services” in his single garage in High Wycombe. His knowledge of producing a racing engine from a Reliant Robin & his expertise in building (& very often repairing) well constructed, aerodynamic & elegant cars saw much work come his way, & he often worked 7 days a week, putting the needs of others before his own racing. His reknown became worldwide, & there are still Darvi Reliant race-tuned engines as far away as America & Australia, Harvey bodywork on numerous historic race cars in the UK & abroad, &many happy Bond Bugs & trikes enjoying the thrill of beating all off the line at traffic lights around the country. Dick, Mick & Jon raced happily together for many years, always working on updating & improving the Darvis. Their combined expertise, meticulous attention to detail & flair for the track created the evolution of the Darvi marque. Mick’s first Championship win came in 1982, with 9 others to follow over the years, & Dick’s Championship came in 1987. Many people owe their years of fun & enjoyment to Dick. Always on call to the Formula fraternity, he prepared engines & gearboxes, built & re-built chassis, suspensions & bodywork, & gave advice & expertise to those in need. Together with Peter Herbert, he produced a (now) much sought-after book, “750 Racer....Everything you need to know about building & racing a low-cost sports-racing car”. For those lucky enough to own one of these books, the story of the 750 Formula & the rise of Dick Harvey & the Darvis is well documented.In the 90’s the recurrent problems of the fragile race-tuned Reliant engine had been discussed at length for some years, but Dick, Mick & Jon were always working on a solution. In 2002 Dick bought a BCR chassis that had been based on his Mk5 design & the start of the Fiat era was born. After much hard work in the High Wycombe garage, the 750MC kindly allowed Jon to race “au-concours” in the first bog-standard Fiat-powered 750 at Mallory to see whether it matched the race-tuned Reliant. It did.
And the field running today with Fiat power is part of the legacy that Dick has left behind.Dick’s life changed dramatically in March 2003. A massive stroke one morning saw him paralysed on one side & without his speech. Throughout the last few years his family have altered their lives to enable him to continue to enjoy a peaceful retirement, & Mick has continued daily to support his friend & keep him updated with all things 750. Despite his lack of speech, Dick was still able to show his continued support & advice for the current 750 racers. The 750 Formula is, we believe, the longest running championship in the world. Without Dick Harvey it almost certainly would not have been. Every time one of us gets into a 750 to do battle, we owe this man a huge debt of gratitude for the endurance of the Formula. Under the gruff exterior, for those of us that were blessed to know him well enough, was a true & loyal friend. Life will never be the same without him. Rest in Peace, my friend, & watch over us as you always have done. We will continue your legacy.
Sue & Mick Harris
The 750 Formula would not be where it is today without the energy and commitment from the late great Dick Harvey, manufacturer of the well known Darvi 750 Formula series of cars.
Sue and Mick Harris have created a fantastic look back at the history of the Darvi marque and it makes for an incredibly interesting read. Please click on the photograph to read Darvi - The History.
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Photographs Courtesy of Jonathan Elsey