Michael Scarlett

Testing with Audi, 1980, Eric Dymock (left) and the late Michael Scarlett

You trusted Michael Scarlett with your life. Often. We did thousands of miles together testing cars, spending the hours talking, conjecturing, gossiping. Congenial, memorable, Michael was generous with his knowledge. I owe him many debts for lucid explanations of technical mysteries. His deeply intelligent writing remains his memorial.

We drove with one another because it felt safe. Michael drove beautifully; fast, smooth, adventurous, sometimes mischievous. Wheel to wheel at 130mph with an identical Peugeot, he turned off our air conditioning. He knew how much horse power it was using and we pulled ahead at 133mph, deeply puzzling the other driver. We found our lap times in Ferraris round Fiorano matched as closely as our views on affairs of state, the way cars handled, or the skill of this or that engineer. His joyful, “I couldn’t agree more…” was said with a zest and enthusiasm to which people warmed. Scarlett was pure delight.

His happy conversations, alas, are ended save in those hearts and minds which, like mine, were enriched through knowing him.