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The story from conception of WSM in 1961 to present day . .
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Pictorial file in two parts of WSM's in action from 1962 to 2007 . .
News 04 / 05 / 06 / 07
News archives 2004 / 05 / 06 / 07 . .
Bentley to Sprite
Pictorial file on almost everything bar WSM's that DW-S drove . .

Pat Moss . .

Sad to report that equestrian, rally and racing car driver Pat Moss passed away on Thursday 16th October - click here for a Telegraph obituary

Freeman Frolics . .

A reminder that a well prepared car can save our bacon at any moment. A marshall reported front offside brake disc failure may have caused the multiple barrel roll pictured. 'Equipe' GTS regular Paul Freeman escaped unhurt from the Spa 6 Hour accident in September, but there's a fair bit of polishing out scheduled. Click on for more pictures of the 6 hour event from the Spa-Francorchamps website.

Combe Swingers . .

Ian Hullett and Murray Henderson took a much deserved win at Castle Combe on October 4th in their AH Sprite. A 10 second winning margin over 21 laps may not seem excessive, but took into account a second stinting Henderson spin at Camp Corner. Seeing off NSU TT, Lotus Super 7 and Sunbeam Alpine in the Swinging 60's encounter goes some way to restoring the balance after a few mechanical woes this season for the friendly duo.

WSM 202 Stays Home . .

The one and only WSM Midget will continue to be campaigned from the UK. 'Equipe' GTS regulars with a TR3 and Lotus Elite, Brian and Pat Arculus are the new custodians - there were clues as to their interest, not least of which was Brian taking WSM 301 for a spin out of the paddock at Zolder in July - and the car definitely remains in good hands. Amongst other interests, Brian has the 'XK' fever and never seems to be short of one or two . .

Gathercoles 2008 Gold Cup Grief . .

The 2003 Revival WSM driver and engine builder - 'Husband and wife David and Lorraine Gathercole have vowed to return after three days of mayhem at Oulton Park. Lorraine's debut in the ex-Val Musetti Royale RP11 was curtailed when its BDA engine threw a rod. Having repaired his Formula 2 Chevron B25 after an off at Druids, David suffered electrical and fuel system problems in his race. To compound their woes, their Chevron B34 was damaged when Andy Huxtable went off on coolant.'

Reprinted from Autosport 28th August

R.I.P Brian Archer . .

Sebring guru Brian had been in hospital since the beginning of July after being diagnosed with cancer. He underwent major surgery and looked to be set for recovery, but passed away on Saturday 23rd August.

There were many occasions when his knowledgeable company was enjoyed, but I recall his unfailing generosity when, in a crowded Silverstone paddock, he offered to put me up for the night in his motorhome parked adjacent to the WSM. As with all things Sebring, with no hesitation and no thought to his own inconvenience, he was happy to oblige. Our thoughts are with the Archer family at this time.

Martin Ingall at has posted tributes from many of Brian's friends.

Wheeler Sprite In Targa . .

Motorsport September 2008 - Doug Nye unearths 1969 picture of the Targa Florio

WSM at Zolder . . .

WSM 202 - go to FOR SALE for details

March in May . . .

Courtesy of journalist Steve Havelock and his forthcoming articles in M & G Enthusiasts, Octane and Classic & Sportscar.

Win for Sprite Duo . .

After the disappointment of an engine failure at Brands on May 4th while leading the Swinging Sixties race, the Hulett / Henderson pairing took a class win at Mallory on May 24th with the same grid. Engines are getting a bit short in supply though, and time in the workshop looms . . .

WSM at Silverstone . . .

WSM's are entered for the MGCC event on June 14th/15th. Two half hour races are scheduled on the International circuit with 'Equipe GTS' , and 210 and 301 will be looking for better performances than last year when both hit problems and allowed the Sebring Sprite PMO 200 to run away with a Class win.

Auctioneer and historian Guy Loveridge piloted the 1948 Connaught L2 to an unblemished finish around Monaco at the historic meeting on 10th May . . .

Cottage Classics Sold . . .

Ginetta guru 'Spadge' Hopkins confirmed sale of all stock and jigs within the Framlingham business are sold to Ginetta Cars. A newly formed entity will now continue at the Suffolk premises, and oversee the Ginetta race series with Spadge at the helm -

" Ginetta Hertitage Ltd has been formed from the Ginetta related elements of Cottage Classics Ltd, with the full support and financial input from Ginetta Cars Ltd, to support and supply the classic Ginetta market and the Ginetta Heritage Race Series."


Sprite 50th Goodwood May 16th - 18th . . .

Credit where credit's due - the organising team worked their socks off to make happen a birthday party with style. Celebrating a half century of possibly the most charismatic affordable sports car was always likely to be a fun affair, and so it proved. Thoughtful arrangement saw a display of historic cars unlikely to be equalled, and the many exquisite examples of the Frogeye made abundantly clear the little cars appeal. Plentiful track time on Friday and Saturday, fairground rides available all day, a well attended Hog Roast on Friday evening, Concours and driving tests, dinner in Goodwood House on Saturday, and all washed down with Sunday's gentle blast up the hill past his Lordship's front door.

WSM was well represented, and thanks to Rae Davis, Clive Cocks and John Pearson, four WSM Sprite's joined the historic car display alongside the recently refurbished Sebring Sprite 'BXN' that set the design ball rolling in 1962. It was an especially poignant day on Saturday as the four men pictured (right) alongside the late George Snively in 1963 were re-united with the brand on the grid at Goodwood. Pictured left, Jim McManus, Douglas Wilson-Spratt, Mike White and Peter Jackson were together for the first time in 45 years amongst the 50 cars gathered to commemorate the Sprite's special day.

We met Sebring guru's Jonathon Whitehouse-Bird, Martin Ingall and Brian Archer, ex-NASA and Healey Club USA President Bill Emerson and his charming partner Melody (right), and included in the pictures below, Robbie Gordon recalled his time with WSM 202 and his involvement in the later WSM MGB. It was good to catch up with ex-F1 mechanic and WSM engine builder Ted de la Riviere, and better still see him fold himself up into WSM 301 and take a run up the hill climb on Sunday. Robin Pinkerton, Sales Manager at Delta Garage in 1964 and past owner of several WSM's joined the gang, while Peter Jackson rolled the years back with a few laps in 'BXN' and was tended by Paul Webb and Andy Garbutt. Ex-BMC doyen Basil Wales collared a similarly garbed AW-S, 'Whizzo' Williams was his convivial self as ever, Mike Garton drove a WSM for the first time, wheelman and engineer Jack Wheeler recalled Targa Floria days, Willie Cave found his way around, author John Baggott continued his research from the horses mouths, and hot shoe Clive Baker was his usual dapper self. The dish that was once Healey competition secretary, Debbie Hardy caught the eye, shortly before Healey 100M pilote and Hardy Engineering husband Neil caught mine. Goodwood House was filled by 300 dinner guests and was a typically sociable affair, with DW-S being poured back to base circa 1am Sunday morning . . .

Click on for the John Wallace view . . .

Pictures courtesy of Andrew Paramor and Peggy McManus

Sixties and Seven's . . .

Good to hear from FISC and Goodwood 2006 WSM pilote Ian Hulett who had an eventful 'Swinging Sixties' race at Brands last week-end (4th May) in his Sprite. Front row qualification lead to a rush of blood and a VERY jumped start on the law abiding Spitfire alongside. Everything went swingingly until with 22 laps gone, retribution came calling in the shape of water pump gasket failure, valve seizure and subsequent engine destruction. 'Autosport' this week has a picture taken early on the first lap. Guess who does'nt feature as they're so far up the road ?

Manx Classic pix . . .

Go to 'Race News' for pix from Paul Hardiman and The Sloc and Lhergy Frissell hill climbs on April 18th and 19th

Goodwood Foursome . .

Now confirmed that four of the pictured drivers from the 1963 Wing shot (left) will be present on May 17th and playing an active role in parading the cars around the circuit at the Sprite 50th celebrations. Left to right DW-S, Peter Jackson, Jim McManus and far right Mike White are scheduled to drive WSM301, BXN, WSM210 and WSM207. Robin Pinkerton , Sales Manager with Delta Garage in the 1960's, has also promised an appearance. The missing driver will be George Snively, of SNELL helmet standard fame, who passed on some years ago in the USA.

WSM202 . ..

The unfortunate John Pearson had troubles at Donington on Easter Monday. Scheduled with the Equipe GTS grid, WSM202 spat the dummy for first practice and a clutch problem kept the WSM sidelined for the race - see 'Race News' for results . .

16th-18th May and 24th May Sprite 50th at Goodwood and Gaydon . .

As owner of and competitor in VBM 7, one of the first Sprite's off the production line in 1958, DW-S is recognised as winner of the first competition award in a Frogeye. In 1958, he persuaded the powers that be to let him have the car earlier than the launch date on May 16th, accrued some mileage under the cover of darkness and then won a Sporting Owners Drivers Club rally on May 24th with navigator John Bayliss.

Plans are afoot for DW-S to complete some parade laps in a WSM at the track where he raced in the 1950's. Although WSM's have raced at Goodwood in period, DW-S was equipped with a TR2 in 1955. As Jim McManus has made a remarkable recovery from major surgery, and Peter Jackson is hopeful of joining the celebrations too, it may be that the men most associated with the WSM brand will be out together and lapping in three WSM's.

If the restoration continues to plan, DW-S intends to fly in with his Jodel Mascaret on Friday 16th, and both Jim and Douglas are booked for the Grand Ball on the Saturday evening.

The Austin Healey Club are pulling out all the stops, and there will be a high quality display of special interest Sprites and Midgets. On Friday and Saturday the cars will be housed in a marquee at Goodwood circuit adjacent to the pits, and on Sunday on the lawns outside Goodwood House - click on to access more information on the anniversary event.

We understand that Bill Emerson, Healey historian and ex-NASA engineer will be joining the fun, as well as 1960's WSM owner and racer Mike White.

Healey Club archivist and historian Paul Woolmer is attempting to break records again and assemble the largest gathering of historic and rare Healey machinery ever seen. His last effort at Thruxton in 2002 for the Healey 50th produced an epic display, and we could see the four WSM Sprite's together that featured on the Fordwater Trophy grid at Goodwood in 2006.

On Saturday 24th May the Midget & Sprite Club, MG Owners Club, MG Car Club and Healey Drivers Club host a UK conclusion to the celebrations at the Heritage Motor Centre in Warwickshire - click on for more details.

Courtesy of Ray English in Australia, click on here for a 1958 video featuring Roy Salvadori testing a Frogeye at Silverstone and commentator John Bolster.

WSM3000 . ..

As pictured in the page header, although neglected, the car remains sheltered and complete amongst an eclectic mix of 1970's cars in surrounding grounds. VW Scirroco's, Mk1 Golf's, Triumph 2000 and MGC are in various stages of neglect, and with little chance of rescue. Viewing the car on January 19th for the first time since 2003, it was heartening to find doors opening and closing in line, and little sign of degradation over and above what may be expected.

'Equipe' GTS at Barley Mow . .

The annual splash and awards dinner on 19th January at the West Horsley venue illustrated where priorities lie for series participants - the loudest cheers for a trophy winner went to Ron Cody in accepting the Silver Lady for Spirit of 'Equipe' GTS - many drivers in the series have benefitted from Ron's selfless and generous supply of time and expertise in helping others, and cruelly sometimes Lady Luck deserted Ron. Although not a championship due to FIA and MSA regulations, the 'Equipe' series throws up serious competition amongst some high quality drivers, but in a spirit that engenders over-subscribed grids and bon homee amongst rivals. 'Equipe' organiser's Jim Lowry and Christophe Wilmart were pleased to present the following -

E W Rayment & Co Trophy class winner - Tom Smith

Jigsaw Racing Trophy class winner - Neil Howe

MGA Trophee D'Excellence - Ron Cody

Cottage Classics Trophy class winner - Nick Smith

'Equipe' GTS 100% Race Finisher - Paul Freeman

JMH Classic Ladies Shield - Helen Elstrop

DK Engineering Trophee D'Elegance - Malcolm Johnson

Virgin Radio Classic Rock "Golden Oldies" Grandparent class winner - John Andon

The George Edney Historic Trophy for best pre-62 period E FIA car - Brian Arculus

Elstrop Racing Le Casque D'Or Driver of Distinction - Graham Bates

Virgin Radio Classic Rock Trophy de Bronze for 3rd O/all - John Andon

Olivo Restaurants Ltd Tropheo Argento for 2nd O/all - Neil Howe

The 'Equipe' GTS Winners Cup - Tom Smith

Jim McManus . ..

Very pleased to report Jim is making a good recovery after sudden illness in November. We spoke with wife Peggy yesterday, and having flown back from Florida on Christmas Eve, Jim has been recuperating at their Cranleigh home.

Track Day Pain from Castle Combe . .

Ouch ! The unforgiving Quarry at Combe catches out many, but near the end of the sequence, one Lotus driver has a BMW nearly wipe him out trackside . .

Spa 6 Hour . .

Click on for four minutes of fabulous Healey 3000 in-car video with Jaap Sinke early in the 2007 classic race. The sideways Aston Martin DB4 featured is the eventual 5th overall car of Vergers, Bennett and Taylor with a fastest lap of 3m 02s, while the Sinke car had problems on its way to 52nd (3m 08s).

Nurbergring 1964 . .

Prompted by Jim Lowry who forwarding an interesting UTube item from the 'Ring in 1963, we did a search for 1964 and 1965 and found this clip which included 1960's WSM racer Peter Jackson tending to a gearbox. Further detail came from Peter recently -

'I drove Marcos number 100 in the 1963 race with Tim LaLonde for Marcos Cars. I handed over at half distance when leading the race overall to Tim who had the clutch go after one lap, which was rather a shame. Marcos knew that the clutches were a little suspect, did not fit a new one for the race and the centre plate broke. The 1964 film in fact shows me helping to change the gearbox on the Diva which I co-drove with someone called Brandon. It had a very hot Ron Harris Formula Junior Ford engine which was very cammy. The close ratio box broke in practice and we borrowed a standard box out of Don Sim's Anglia !! The ratios were of course all wrong and it was very difficult to keep it on the cam in the slow corners. Someone spun a Marcos on the second corner and I was very lucky to avoid the ensuing carnage. I ended up driving the car for most of the race and I think finished third in the class.'

Woburn Special . .

'A very Merry Christmas and a great 2008 to you and yours. I came across the attached photos of what I believe is the (or maybe just "an") Alderton Special.  An arse-scraper of the first water !  I don't remember any details of this beast, but I seem to recall it looked like a real handful. I believe it is Bill Alderton at the wheel and the photos were taken at one of the SODC hillclimbs at Woburn in the early 1960's.  I have a few more Woburn photos, but I thought these would give you a grin over the Christmas turkey ?'

Barry Pinkerton