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WSM - News 2009

 

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The story from conception of WSM in 1961 to present day . .
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WSM - racers, mechanics, painters, owners, salesmen M - Z . .
In Competition
Pictorial file in two parts of WSM's in action from 1962 to date . .
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News archives 2004/05/06/07/08 . .
Bentley to Sprite
Pictorial file on almost everything bar WSM's that DW-S drove . .
 

WSM Sanction 2 to order - contact tony@wsmcars.com or paul@wsmcars.com

 

Bearded Fatty In Red Costume . .

Hope he remembers 'Touch Wood', the autobiography of 1953 Le Mans winner and celebrated bon viveur Duncan Hamilton. This new edition follows on from the 1960 publication and has been edited and extended by Doug Nye.

WSM 401 S2 . .

Sprite compadres Ian Hulett and Murray Henderson continue with chassis work for the first S2 WSM - the floor pan takes shape and the H frame is welded. Multi-tasking is the name of the game, as Murray is a gifted colour applicator also . .

Stocking Fillers For WSM 202 . .

A straight cut low ratio gearbox rebuild and fresh engine block with new pistons and camshaft etc. The Brian Arculus Christmas stocking is going to buckle the end of the bed, but it will include a gearbox rebuild manual from wife Pat in case things go pear shaped as the last such rebuild was circa 1983 on a Jaguar XK120 . .

40 + 20 . .

Luton-based Sprite racer Ian Hulett celebrates today (October 31st) and can officially become the 'grumpy old man' while travelling for zilch on public transport. Pictured with the WSM S2 body which Ian will race in 2010, unofficial sources confirmed filming for the next series in his role as the 'Stig' in Top Gear is completed. Lovely wife Maggie sets up the entertainment tonight just prior to warming the slippers . .

Morgan Maverick . .

Published by Douglas Loveridge Publications, the autobiography of Chris Lawrence is an enjoyable book. From Royal Engineer to Le Mans class winner and Grand Prix driver, car designer and leader of the historic movement in the USA, Lawrence certainly never had grass grow under his feet . .

Six Hour Sprite's . .

The Birkett event at Silverstone presented the usual challenges, with rain, accident and mechanical hardships all taking their toll. Regular Birkett entries Charles Marriott, Simon Page and John Hopwood in Frogeye's, Ian Hulett in his Lenham Sprite and Mark Lister in his Mk 3 Sprite comprised Team SuperSprite for whom Marriott took the start in showery conditions. The 40 team race was slowed by a number of incidents early on requiring the intervention of the course car, but as the rain got heavier Hopwood took full benefit of a new set of soft compound tyres and was quickest by several seconds amongst the Sprite team. Lister spun at Copse in his first stint and badly damaged his venerable race car, fortunately without personal injury, but he was unable to take any further part in the race. Page’s Frogeye was attacked by a Toyota which realigned the rear bodywork of his car and forced him to pit to assess the damage, after which Hulett made some adjustments to his throttle linkage and as a consequence did a lap stuck on half throttle before collecting a pit lane speeding penalty which was successfully appealed by team manager Richard Angood. In the final hour the rain stopped, and as the sun dried the drenched track Hulett was able to put in some quicker times, although fortune shone when the chequered flag came out just as he reached 41 of the 42 lap maximum allocated by the handicapper. Final results showed the SuperSprite team 10th overall on handicap and first in class C, the best result to date for the Sprite team which has been competing in this event for more than 10 years.

Pictures courtesy of Paul Webb

80/80 . .

This all new book has been published to mark the 80th birthday of Sir Stirling Moss on September 17th 2009. Earlier this year, Goodwood set out to display 80 cars at the 2009 Revival that Sir Stirling had driven and raced over the years. This is a record of those cars, never before seen together, and giving the reader both new and historic photographs together with short descriptions of each car and the part they played in his career.

It is a book you can pick up when you have a few minutes and read short passages about cars most of us only dream about. The cars range from real exotics including Maserati 250F, Aston Martin DBR 1 and 2, Jaguar D Type and Ferrari 250 SWB and GTO, through to every day cars like Morris Minor, Berkley and even a go-kart. Austin Healeys are well represented, with a 100S and two Sebring Sprites included.

Stirling Moss 80/80 comes with an ingenious gate-fold soft cover both at the front and back with autographs and personal messages from many of Sir Stirling’s friends and colleagues. It has 174 full colour pages and at £11.99, or £19.99 signed by the man himself, represents very good value.

Authors -words by Peter Russell and new photographs by Jonathan Green

Preview by Paul Woolmer

WSM 402 S2 . .

Fresh from tlc, Paul Hull's chassis arrives at Colmworth for the next stage of preparation. The 'GT' specification road car retains more weight than the 'Sprint' model intended for competition, but will still be lighter than a standard Sprite.

Thurleigh Track Day . .

In operation for some time, the Bedford Autodrome facilty has 'Jonathon Palmer' stamped all over the manicured fields and pristine surroundings - those who have eyeballed Snetterton and Brands Hatch recently will recognise the Doctor's imprint - and the 70 cars presented for trackday fun included Mazda MX5, Caterham 7 , Ferrari, Mercedes, Maserati and Porsche. Fish out a crumpled £10 note and you had unlimited passenger track time, and there are'nt many better ways (with your clothes on) to spend an afternoon than hooning around a fast and curvacious venue. My thanks to Sarah and Mike Harris, and the unfortunate Paul Beadman whose Caterham 7 engine expired, possibly due to lugging this passenger around for so many laps . .

FISC EuroTour . .

Organiser Pieter Bakker is a Sprite man through and through - he has a long term commitment to the Spridget-based race series administered from his Dutch base, and over the years has moved regulations towards the historic scene and away from 'modsport's. Pictured in conversation at Zandvoort with Christophe Wilmart of 'Equipe' GTS, both men are keen to develop the burgeoning reputations that their respective series have earned.

WSM's at the seaside . . see 'Race News'

WSM 401 S2 and WSM 402 S2. .

The first lightweight 'Sprint', destined for Ian Hulett, has certainly been on a diet. As pictured, the entire shell, bonnet, doors and bootlid came in at under 40kg, and the overgrown schoolboy in the page heading picture had to try it out for size. Meanwhile, the base for Paul Hull's 'GT' is off to the sand blasters for TLC - Paul did much of the chassis preparation himself prior to collection by Colmworth Classic Cars - and work is underway to produce the body.

Jack Wheeler . .

The engineer, racer and yachtsman who travels extensively in his search of sport and competition, has stealthily approached octogenarian status. He purchased a supercharged Sebring Sprite in 1960 from the Donald Healey works and entered some club events, but he established a yearning for 'proper' races and events where distance and conditions were a true test of man and machine. In the 1960's he competed at the Circuit of Mugello, a 40 mile lap through mountains in Italy, and both 500k and 1000k at Nurburgring. He contested the famous Targa Florio on eight occasions from 1966, with a hard earned 18th place finish in 1967 (right) with his familiar Sebring, and an equally impressive 29th in 1973 with a Daren Mk 3 alongside Martin Davidson - the list of luminaries scattered in their wake included F1 and sports car legends.

Pictured right, Jack and Mark Parrott at the WSM re-union pit lane garage at Rockingham in 2001 wrestling with the aluminium ducting for Paul Woolmer's WSM 202 - Jack had helped get the restored car prepared late into the previous night, and was on hand in the morning to complete the task. More recently Jack has seen entries for his Sebring at the Goodwood Revival, and headline several gatherings of historic cars, including the Sprite 50th in 2008. He continues to sail, and includes ex-rally star and friend Rauno Aaltonen as a regular shipmate.

A surprise party awaits at the house of colleague John Phillips in Surrey on Sunday 30th August -

Happy birthday Jack . .

WSM 401 S2 . .

The first chassis to receive WSM S2 treatment is soon to arrive at Colmworth Classic Cars, and the first lightweight body has been produced. Paul Hull is planning an Old English white finish for his 'GT' spec car, while the lightweight 'S' shell is for racer Ian Hulett. .

Bentley Drivers Club 60th Anniversary . .

Re-uniting DW-S with his lightweight Bentley 4 ½ litre at Silverstone rolled back the years - Richard Holland brought the car from Suffolk on Sunday - as this was the car Douglas assembled in 1949 and set the template for weight reduction and aerodynamics that would later become the trademark of WSM design.

Buckler's Bits . .

Buckler Mistral registered PMO 528 pictured arriving on a cargo of stone at Castletown, Isle of Man in the 1970's. It remained stashed away without engine, firstly with Malcolm Buckler in the Isle of Man, and then Bristol with Malcolm's brother-in-law Keith Ambrose. Malcolm's nephew Simon took up the cudgels and the car has a fresh MOT and awaits paint and final detailing after 35 year's R & R.

When Douglas Wilson-Spratt needed the chassis shortening on his 4 1/2 litre Bentley in 1949, George Burton of Bucklers Motor Engineers in Reading did the job. George is pictured here leaning over a Sunbeam racing car next to Fred Hoffman (white coat) outside Hoffman and Burton Ltd in Henley-on-Thames in 1950.

And lastly, a still taken from a 9.5mm home movie with ERD 96 being driven out of the Buckler works in 1950, and the car as it appeared at the 2008 Goodwood Revival last September. This was the first Mk 5 Buckler ever sold in 1949 (to M. Parrott) and entirely works built - Johan le Toquin is the current custodian.

Bentley Drivers Club - August 8th/9th . .

Click on for event details where three WSM's will have two races with the 'Equipe' GTS grid on Saturday and Sunday.

'Equipe' GTZzzzzzz . .

Following a re-shuffle of the 'Equipe' GTS race series organising responsibilities, Jim Lowry assured all competitors at Le Mans that they would continue to benefit from the tireless enthusiasm of compadre Christophe Wilmart . .

Mystery Car . .

Malcolm Buckler, of the eponymous car brand, is curious as to the pictured car's identification - maybe MG based, can anyone help ?

Warwick Healey . .

Pictured during the 50th celebrations of the iconic 3000 on June 21st, Healey exponents Robbie Gordon and Peter Jackson at JME's Cape premises in front of the ex-Pat Moss rally car.

Le Mans Story - July 4th/5th . .

Held on alternate years to Classic Le Mans, this event is hosted on the shorter but equally nostalgic 'Bugatti' circuit. The demanding 4.2km loop starts on the 24 hour grid surrounded by the pits complex and grandstands leading up to the Dunlop bridge. Sweeping down to the Esses, the Bugatti circuit turns right before Tetre Rouge, making a series of curves and fast straights before rejoining the 24 hour track at the Ford chicanes. The first race on Saturday kicks off circa 8.30pm under floodlights, and WSM's 208 and 210 will be contesting Class 2 of the 'Equipe' GTS double-header, as WSM's 202 and 301 did in 2007 . .

WSM Sprite S2 . .

Limited production of the Sanction 2 WSM Sprite is set to begin in August 2009, and customers can bring their own prepared-for-build chassis, or the entire production can be specified. Our first order stemmed from WSM's being seen in action at UK circuits in the 1960's, and since then Berkhamsted boy Paul Hull has owned a Lotus Elan, Lotus Elite and Lotus Seven amongst others. A visit to the Colmworth Classic Car stand at the Stoneleigh 'Race Retro' show in March 2009 triggered happy memories, and work is now underway to provide some more . .

Birthday Boy . .

It might sound impressive on an England cricket scoreboard (if only our batsmen were as stubborn), but 88 not out is the mark achieved by the WSM designer and creator Douglas Wilson-Spratt on June 16th. A comparison with two fat ladies failed to amuse, but over dinner in the new Courthouse restaurant and bar in the Isle of Man, conversation turned to the WSM Sanction 2 plans. It transpires that Sanction 3 models are already in the pipeline after he's got the Jodel Mascaret airworthy . . .

Karts At Kimbolton . .

An invite to the Hunts Kart Racing Club revealed a truly vibrant scene as literally hundreds of budding Buttons took to the track. A week-end of qualifying, heats and finals certainly sorted the boys from the boys, and it was educational to see just how much tinkering with set-up was available with what I assumed were fairly simple pieces of kit. The facilities were impressive, as was the organisation, given that the mainstay of grass roots motorsport remains family and friends.

Tete a Tete a Tete . .

Three WSM's (202, 210 and 208) do battle for Class 2 honours in the MGCC Brands Hatch double-header with 'Equipe' GTS on 30th/31st May. Not since the Goodwood Revival in 2006 have more than two WSM cars been racing together, and it is only the fourth such occasion since the conception of the cars in 1962.

WSM 208 . .

The 'Chiron' blue Sprite hit the road on Saturday 16th May at the Croft circuit. With the engine installed on Friday evening and some minor fettling prior to scrutineering, the week-end evolved into a protracted test session - see 'Race News' for details. Douglas Wilson-Spratt was present to sign off the last assembled of his designs, and looks forward to the first of the Sanction 2 WSM Sprite's which are planned for 2010 - the first (WSM 401 S) is scheduled for racer Ian Hulett as a 'Sprint', with 402 S a 'GT' for Paul Hull.

Race Retro & WSM . .

The Stoneleigh show was an unqualified success for Colmworth Classic Cars, and they received much interest in the forthcomimg WSM Sprite S2 (Sanction 2) production. Just as the original WSM Sprite created such interest at a Silverstone track day in October 1962 (pictured), so the Race Retro stand prompted serious enquiries concerning availability of the fibreglass cars.

A limited run of six is planned, with clients having the option of a road going 'GT' or race spec 'Sprint', and WSM designer Douglas Wilson-Spratt signing off completed cars with original WSM chassis plates to denote the S2 origins.

The first car (WSM 401 S2) will be a 'Sprint' , while the second (WSM 402 S2) and third (WSM 403 S2) will be road going 'GT' spec. For further details call 01624 690023 or 07780 954290.

Easter Action . .

Trouble at Donington last Saturday for WSM 202 centred on a blown head gasket. Progress with handling issues is encouraging though, as Brian is aiming to beat his Lotus Elite times and managed a fastest race lap 2/10ths better. Another upside for the WSM is that Brian's Marcos broke a camshaft on Sunday, so WSM 202 will be in action on Easter Monday at the GRRC Sprint at Goodwood.  Success is unlikely however as the class encompasses pre-1980 up to 2 litres . .

Ex-Pat . .

Lloyds Bank suit Francis Lobb, who took a posting to South Africa last year from the Isle of Man, resumed his affair with Alfa Romeo. Pictured at the Zwartkops double-header in March, a successful debut in the handicap-based events has fuelled impatience for the next races at Midvaal . . . .

Mike Hawthorn Remembered . . .

Marking 50 years since the sad demise of Britain's first motor racing World Champion, a 70-strong cavalcade of cars representing the Farnham Flyer's career was driven through the Surrey town. Pictured is a suitably attired Guy Loveridge driving the Ferrari Dino 246 replica, and thousands turned out to watch an estimated £40 million worth of machinery steered by Sir Stirling Moss, Tony Brooks and Damon Hill amongst others . .

Generation Game . .

During a whistlestop tour of Europe in January, great-grandson to DW-S Mike Lewis and girlfriend Tegan Podmore spent a week in the Isle of Man after a couple of days in Paris. Pictured beside the WSM MGB which his great-grandfather designed and built, and which his grandfather Michael raced successfully in 1967, Mike intends to start four - wheeled motorsport sooner rather than later. A move to Perth, Australia in March 2009 may facilitate that wish and see him follow in his father Simon's competition footsteps.

'Equipe' GTS celebrated another successful season at the annual dinner - pix courtesy of Paul Woolmer

WSM 208 . .

Cambridgeshire - based Fabricage have produced an excellent roll cage for the latest WSM Sprite - working off the pattern of WSM's 202 and 301, the recent fitting is of the highest quality - ring Pete or Steve on 01223 870563 or email fabricage@btconnect.com

Deep Sanderson . . .

The attractive alloy-bodied DS 301 that raced at Le Mans in 1963/64. Owned by Guy Loveridge, click on the thumbnail for more details of the Mini-powered special at the Williams & Pritchard website . . .

1965 SODC Awards . .

Email received from Pat Walton (Bland) after viewing a picture on wsmcars.com -

'Now that I'm in my seventies, I sometimes become nostalgic and go over things I did when young and carefree ! Yesterday I was looking up some rallying information on the internet, and was flabbergasted to see myself on your website. I am the girl in the picture showing SODC (Sporting Owners Drivers Club) award winners, with close friend Barry Pinkerton also pictured. In the sixties I ate, drank and slept rallying, and dedicated 3 years to a one hundred per cent effort to become professional. At that time I was the only female member of the SODC in my own right - not a member by way of being a girlfriend or wife or anything other than my obsession for the sport. The lads always used to say I was "just one of the boys" and treated me accordingly - no special concessions, which was exactly as I needed it to be. 'Doc' Pinkerton, Barry's father, was instrumental in getting me involved in rallying and with the SODC, and as a total rookie I won my first event, the September rally, in my driving school car complete with dual controls ! It was to be the only outright win of my 'career' . I competed in the 1965 Tulip Rally, my first international, and was given some indication that matters might go further professionally, depending on the outcome. However, the event was a great shock to me - not on the driving front but on account of some of the 'politics and manipulations' that I observed and that I'd never experienced at Club or National level. I decided that I did'nt want to compete in such a scenario and such was the disappointment after such intense involvement, and for the sake of my own peace of mind, I severed connections with the world of rallying. I often regretted not sticking it out but its difficult to go back after such disillusionment, and there are even greater difficulties for the amateur and privately funded individuals nowadays. Looking back, I loved every minute of the time with the SODC and with motorsport generally, and I'm still an avid F1 fan.

As to the picture, I'd never seen it before and was'nt aware of its existence. It was a lovely surprise that brought back some fabulous memories of cars, rallies and parties etc, and love to any of my former rallying 'mates' who might read this.'

Manx Classic . . .

4th February 2009 - Statement from the Hilary Moore, membership secretary for the Manx Motor Racing Club -

' It is with regret that I advise you all that the directors have taken the decision to cancel this years event. This is due to extra requirements from the authorities to obtain a road closing order for the Governors Sprint involving consultation with residents. Given the time frame available we are not able to complete this process for this year and the decision of cancellation has therefore been taken.

We are now commencing arrangements for the same event to take place in 2010 and will be in touch with you again later this year with full details. If you have already processed your entry then any monies paid will be refunded shortly.

We thank you all for your support over the last 3 years and hope that we can welcome you again in 2010.'

WSM 208 . .

Plans have changed for the last built Sprite. The demise of the intended Healey museum in Virginia, USA has lead to the car remaining in family hands. Colmworth Classic Cars of Bedfordshire are tasked with final preparation ahead of a full racing season, and DW-S is keen to see the Chiron blue car in action alongside the three red WSM Spridgets currently based in the UK.