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WSM - News 2010

WSM S2 WSM S2 introduction and price list . .

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Pictorial file in two parts of WSM's in action from 1962 to date . .
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News archives 2004/05/06/07/08/09 . .
Bentley to Sprite
Pictorial file on almost everything bar WSM's that DW-S drove . .

HRDC . .

December 10th - A proposed new format of grids from the organiser of the ex-Top Hat series - more at 'Race News' . .

WSM video . .

November 15th - Technology catches up with wsmcars. In-car video courtesy of cameraman Paul Webb and technical support from Mick Juchnowicz has enabled us to attach coverage via YouTube - go to 'Race News' 2010 . .

WSM 403 S2 . .

November 13th - pictures of the latest new arrival courtesy of the team in obstetrics.

Sebring History . .

November 12th - Email received from George Katz . .

'Whilst archiving a suitcase full of old slides and photos for posterity I came across some pictures of a car I used to own in the 1960's which might be of interest to you. I part exchanged my "hot" Mini for a Sprite which I bought from a mews garage in Swiss Cottage London , now long gone ( I probably saw the ad in Motorsport which I used to read at that time). The guys told me that it had been owned and raced by Douglas Wilson-Spratt and at the time the number plate was JAX 12. When I picked up the car they had changed the plate which I was annoyed about so they reduced the price of the car by about £50.00. The bonnet was fibreglass and the rear end was aluminium and it came with a detachable hardtop. I kept the car for about 7-8 years. I made the mistake of buying a new car (a TR4a) before selling the Sprite, so it languished on the drive for about a year before selling it on to a policeman. Does this car still exist ? If so perhaps you could put me in touch with present owner as I have other photos of the car, and could let them know further details. Regards '

We passed details to Healey registrar Paul Woolmer - ' I am certainly aware of your old Sprite. As you say it was originally registered JAX 12, and owned by Jack Wolchover. Mainly used as a rally car on club and occasional national events, it was modified by Peels of Kingston with a light alloy rear and doors. The work was almost certainly commissioned by John Sprinzel Ltd of Lancaster Mews. It also had the 'works' spec wire wheel and disc brake conversion. The car now lives in the USA and I will contact the owner and ask if I can pass his details to you. In the meantime, I would be grateful to receive any additional photos you may have to add to my file on this interesting Sebring Sprite.'

Pinkerton Investigates (2) . .

November 11th - Following September 6th email from Robin Pinkerton, the story comes full circle with solicitor George Plenderleath offering for sale his smart blue MGB overdrive roadster. George lived near Delta Garage in Leighton Buzzard for many years, and having owned the car since purchased from Robin at Pinetrees Motors in Edlesborough in 1972, George has driven 42,000 miles and invested in a new hood which gives improved visibility. The car was resprayed in the 1990's and the original colour was retained. For more information, please see the 'For Sale' page on this website.

WSM 403 S2 . .

November 9th - Major contractions this morning signalled the beginning of the labour process, and consultants agreed both are doing well. The latest 'GT' was fathered by Florida resident Bill Emerson who will unfortunately not be able to witness the birth, but then he's completed the most difficult bit. More news regarding a second sibling for 401 later . .

Rev Countered . .

November 8th - Great pic of MEG and a garlanded Gordon Elwell on the front cover of the Austin Healey Club monthly magazine. As third placed driver in the Fordwater Trophy at the Goodwood Revival, after stunning the faster machinery around him by leading for two laps off the grid in his Sebring Sprite, he thoroughly deserves the accolades . .

WSM S2 . .

November 5th - Contact from ex-NASA engineer and Healey historian Bill Emerson as he organises the donor car for his WSM S2 GT. The HAN8 car shortly enjoys a trip across the pond to England before stripping off and slipping into something sexier in Colmworth. The author of several 'Healey' books has long been an admirer of the WSM shape, and the interest was cemented by Bill's visit to the Isle of Man on June 3rd to interview the designer . .

Newborn 'GT' . .

October 29th - The first S2 'GT' made its entrance today - the clock on the wall indicates 9.40am when the three hour labour began and, although contractions began the previous day, a strong and healthy 30kg has reportedly 'thrilled' the new parents. WSM 402 S2 is a much anticipated sibling to 401 in Luton . .

WSM S2 . .

October 18th - Confirmation of a third order for the WSM GT S2 was received yesterday - based in the UK, the customer has sourced the donor chassis and chosen the colour. Meanwhile, the one competition 'Sprint' car being constructed is making good progress . .

Goodwood sounds . .

Hearing the 1.5 litre V16 supercharged BRM at the Revival in September reminded me of the recording made for Nick Mason's book 'See Red' at Silverstone a few years ago, audible the entire way around the circuit from the pit lane - click on

Goodwood test . . .

September 8th - A busy Revival test day with wet and dry conditions. Fordwater grid entrant Neil Hardy ran well in Bill McDonough's immaculate Speedwell Sprite, and Nick Swift in the Stefan Wray Mini Dart confirmed his potential with rapid times in the dry afternoon sessions. The Alfa Giulietta SZ of Liz Halliday made a steady Goodwood debut, while the WSM MGB was out for the first time on L section Dunlops, as now required on the Fordwater grid, and posted similar times to the wider M section performance - both cars were initially hamstrung by silencer issues.

Freddie March Trophy driver Mick Darcey brought his stunning Healey 100S, previously out in the Mille Miglia earlier this year, and multiple Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen jumped between Audi RS6, Aston Martin DBR1 and Ferrari 330LMB in preparation for his Austin A95 Westminster drive in the St Marys Trophy.

Ex-WSM 202 owner John Pearson and Equipe GTS racer Nick Crewdson called by, and Nick remembered the WSM MGB while working with Stephen Langton in Kent when the WSM was raced by daughter Amanda Langton in the 1980's.

Pictures courtesy of Paul Webb, WSM transport courtesy of fellow Equipe GTS racer Brian Arculus.

Pinkerton Investigates . .

September 6th - The Delta Garage Sales Manager in 1972 was Robin Pinkerton, with whom we keep in touch and see occasionally at race meetings in the UK. That year he sold a new MGB Roadster in blue to a regular customer, solicitor George Plenderleath - having now done 42,000 miles in the car, George feels its time to sell it . . . !

WSM3000 Memories . .

August - A thank you to racer Mike Youles, who kicked off the following with an email to -

"I had lunch today with a friend of mine's uncle, a Mr Michael Levey. In the 1960's he was a car trader in central London and we were viewing old slides of the American cars he used to deal in, together with Cooper S and Lotus Cortinas he had owned. Amongst the slides were pictures of the maroon WSM3000 which he had owned for a while during that period. As a fellow car enthusiast would it be helpful to you if I obtained some copies of the slides and a brief note of his ownership ?"

From Michael Levey
" In December 1966 I was a car salesman at Shaw and Kilburn at the St Johns Wood roundabout in London (now demolished I think). A fellow salesman Rob (not sure of his surname) said he had seen an advert for an exciting car and as he could not afford it on his own we should buy it together. He purchased the car, taxed and insured it in his name "Rob .....".

The total bill was around £1,400.00, slightly more than a new Healey 3000 MkII at that time. We decided to share it alternately for one week each and with the toss of a coin I won it for the first week. During that week I took it to our rugby club Christmas dinner dance at the Burford Bridge Hotel, Boxhill near Dorking where I live. Susan, now my wife, wore a long lemon coloured dress and on getting out of the car I blipped the throttle to show off - as the exhausts came out just behind the front wheel on her side it left exhaust marks on her dress ! She still hasn't forgiven me and still has the dress ! The rest of the evening was spent taking friends on very hairy trips up and down the Boxhill bypass... it was wet too.

In July 1967, Rob was getting married and moving to Essex so we decided to sell the WSM. I think we made a good profit of £250.00 each. The photos are taken from old colour slides I took of the car outside the showroom at Shaw and Kilburn. I know the date because it is printed on the colour slide frames. Hope this may give you a bit more of the car's history. I have fond memories of this car and have often wondered what happened to it."

We described the rest of the known history to Michael and the car's current whereabouts - ed.

WSM 402 S2 . .

August - Long time WSM admirer Lorraine Noble-Thompson confirmed an order for the road going WSM S2. An MGCC supporter, Midget owner and fun seeking petrol-head, getting 'down and dirty' on a BMW off-road course in South Wales was par for the course. The second of the Sanction 2 cars is at the chassis primer stage.

Alfaholics . .

July - Frances Lobb continues to enjoy the fruits of South African hospitality, and seemingly an inexhaustible supply of free week-ends from Lloyds Bank (left).

Manx resident and Classic regular Justin Wilson is planning an ARDS course and Alfa purchase for 2011. Past loves include Mk 1 Cortina and Renault GTA amongst others, but the feelers are out for a Giulia Sprint GTA or similar . .

Equestrian and sportscar driver Liz Halliday brings her fathers Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ Coda Tronca to the Goodwood Revival on September 16th - one of 29 made, the car was returned to the track at the 2010 Silverstone Classic to help celebrate the Alfa Romeo centenary -

"It’s a huge honour to be invited to race in the Fordwater Trophy," she said. "I really wanted to be involved this year to celebrate Alfa’s 100th anniversary and I’d like to sincerely thank the organisers for accepting my entry. It means a lot to my Dad to know I’m racing his car at such an incredible event, and I'm just sad that he's not well enough to travel." Halliday has driven the notoriously demanding Goodwood circuit before, but has never raced there and is looking forward to the challenge. "“It’s very fast with not much run-off, so I know how difficult it is," Halliday said. "The first part of the track is really quick, but although the SZ isn’t the most powerful of cars, it is fairly nippy and I hope that will help it around the latter part of the circuit. Really we’re there to showcase the car though. It’s a really beautiful little machine and will fit in perfectly in the Fordwater Trophy. A lot of my racing friends have driven at the Revival before, but I haven’t, so I’m really excited to give it a go – this one’s for you Dad !"

The Golden Bentley . .

July - Hall & Bradfield are advertising one of DW-S's old favourite's - click on for more at Chassis 703

Senior TT . .

June 11th - The section at Glen Vine is said to be taken at 160mph - you can hear them approaching down the Ballahutchin hill for the right handed kink by the traffic lights for which some don't lift - and the racing line at full beans must be a 6" margin at the very most between the pavements. Paul Dobbs died here earlier this week in the SuperSport TT race, and this rider in third place at the time Guy Martin, had broken ribs and other injuries but not life threatening. Guy did try to get on a stretcher unaided and was more concerned about his broken little finger hampering his favoured tea habit.

The first picture shows the airborne petrol tank making its escape, while the rest of the bike is about to appear over the brow on the left in the brightest of the flames. Camera man Noel O'Reilly says he involuntarily backed away into his brothers garden in which he was standing as pictures two and three unfolded. It was the third lap and not long after the refuelling stop, hence the fireball.

The race was red flagged and re-started later as a 4 lapper instead of 6, after the fire brigade doused the roadside conflagration amongst the hay bales.

Sunday - Super Sprite . .

June 5th - Swopping the tow car in the paddock on Saturday to enable a stricken Healey 3000 to be recovered meant our wheels for a while came in the shape of the prototype 'Super Sprite' -

"The car was built by the Donald Healey Motor Company during 1962 to a Les Ireland design, allegedly from earlier sketches by Gerry Coker. Built to assess the viability and performance advantages of fitting an 1100cc Coventry Climax engine, the car was also fitted with disc brakes on all four wheels. The chassis is original Sprite Mk1 and modified to accept the special aluminium outer bodywork and unique forward hinging bonnet made at the Donald Healey Motor Company by Bill Buckingham."

It was a delight to drive and little excuse was needed for wandering off to a not-too-nearby pub. The journey took me straight back to the late 1960's and early 70's when the 80 mile school run to and from Bedfordshire to Kent every term was made in Sprite's and yours truly perched (very non-pc these days) on the transmission tunnel between driver and (seated) passenger. Nippy performance, compliant suspension and manoeuvreability that stems from lightness and design was a wonderful reminder of how rewarding such cars are in these days of technological and overweight behemoths.

Saturday - Volkert Wels . .

June 4th - We met MGB restorer Volkert Wels, and he asked if his MGLive prize winning MGB GT and roadster could be photographed alongside the WSM. The cars were a credit to his craft, and it was frankly astonishing that these gleaming gems had been driven from Holland for the event. The attention to detail was flawless, and I for one never saw a showroom MGB looking quite as brand spanking . .

Friday - Griffiths Bump . .

June 4th - Its a small world. At the end of Friday's test day on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, the opportunity to cycle around the 3.19 miles in glorious evening sunshine was too good to miss. Bumping into and chatting with a family group alongside, after half the lap it transpired I was talking with Simon Griffiths, Manx Classic regular Rob Griffith's elder brother. Rob brought his mighty blue Midget to the Isle of Man on a few occasions and joined us in Glen Vine in the days of the WSM pre-event get togethers. Back in the pitlane garage are pictured Rob (left and still bottle blonde) and Simon (right), a long way off their 40 minute pitstop race at 5.18pm on Sunday in which Rob and colleague John Staines finished third overall.

Thursday - Fleeting TT visit . .

June 3rd - Author, historian and Healey officianado Bill Emerson made a brief visit to the Isle of Man, arriving at 6pm on Thursday. His main objective was to record DW-S with WSM 208, but we also watched sidecar and solo practice from the Railway Pub in Union Mills that evening, and managed a quick lap of the TT course at 5.30am on Friday morning before catching the 7am sailing back to Heysham on the way to Silverstone.

WSM 205 . .

May - Picture kindly supplied by John Adams who contacted us today, is of Mike White in WSM 205 at Goodwood in 1963. John has an interesting collection of slides and negatives, mainly from Goodwood in the 1960's. It was not until pointed towards our website by Sprite owner Jonathon Whitehouse-Bird recently that he was able to identify the car.

Mille Miglia . .

May - Thanks to Mick Darcey's gorgeous 1954 Healey 100S being included at number 311, Paul Woolmer and Paul Webb trailered the car to Italy on May 4th for the retro classic. Following in Moss and Jenk's SLR footsteps from the 1950's, as support crew they were on the go as they kept up with the event and the car they recently finished restoring. As the pictures illustrate, Mick and navigator Steve Hutchinson were in good company . . .

Fordwater WSM's . .

April - Invitations for WSM 202, WSM 207, WSM 210, the WSM MGB and Paul Woolmer's Sebring Sprite 'BXN' have been issued for the September classic. The same five were included in the 2006 event, but since then WSM 202 changed hands and Brian Arculus will hope for better luck than Paul had in 2003 (water pump failure) and Jim Lowry in 2006 ( bonnet damage). The missing WSM Sprite this time around is 301 which excelled in the hands of Ian Hulett in 2006. Deep Sanderson's, Mini Gem, Ogle, Mini Dart, Speedwell Sprite's and more rarities will make for interesting viewing and competition . .

Progress 401 S2 . .

April - pictured, the FIA spec roll cage which has been installed. It has been manufactured to meet appendix K requirements, and follows the roof line and the front screen pillars whilst not intruding into the door aperture. Next up is the secondary rear hoop and bracing . .

April Tool . .

With the Goodwood Revival test day for the Fordwater grid scheduled for this morning (April 1st) and WSM's out in strength, the last thing we wanted to hear was that an 'incident' had taken out two cars before a wheel was even turned on track. I received a call at 8.45am from the paddock to reveal that 207 and 210 had sustained damage and frantic work was under way to patch them up. The combination of a busy morning at work in the Isle of Man, and a convincing telephone delivery from a trusted source caused much gnashing of teeth and thoughts of how careless people can be.

Deep Sanderson owner Guy Loveridge is no longer on the WSM Christmas card list, and subsequently there may be reports of a DS being parked in a very uncomfortable place . .

WSM 401 S2 . .

March - progress report from Bedfordshire where the Hulett and Henderson racer is taking shape. The rear frame has been constructed, bracing will go in and the full cage installed after works supervisor Maggie has an airing somewhere hot . .

Slippery Coupe's . .

March - Entries are posted for the 1st April track day (see below) at Goodwood from Brian Arculus with WSM 202 (living around the corner helps), Clive Cocks with WSM 210, and Paul Woolmer with BXN . .

Entente Cordiale . .

March - Anglo/French relations are alive and kicking as the sale of the Arculus TR3a on our 'For Sale' page demonstrates, and the new French owners plan to continue campaigning the car in 'Equipe' GTS races. This could be good news for all of us if Marc and Veronique Lafon's champagne welcome at 'Equipe' BRDC Silverstone last year is set to become a national trait . . .

Goodwood Revival . .

March - Organisers have invited under 1500cc cars of a type that raced between 1960-66 in the Fordwater Trophy to a track day on April 1st. Limited to 35 cars and 105d, the full day is intended to display candidates for the slippery coupe grid in front of advisor Julius Thurgood.

Lie In & Study . .

February - 'Equipe' GTS race series organiser Christophe Wilmart introduced the Oxford Universities Motorsport Foundation (OUMF) team, a student initiative founded in July 2005 which provides "hands on" practical experience of motorsport to the students of Oxford and aims to bridge the increasing skills gap that is threatening all engineering and manufacturing industries in the UK. By introducing predominantly engineering students to the world of racing car preparation and component fabrication, as well as team management, OUMF aims to enhance the quality of students graduating into all manufacturing and engineering industries as well as bring new blood into the historic and contemporary racing arenas. The OUMF will run a red 1959 Elva Courier, pictured at the 2005 Revival.

WSM S2's . .

February - snow dented progress a little lately with the Bedfordshire lanes impassable, but Ian Hulett has collected the shell and provisionally married up the lightweight 'Sprint' body with the WSM 401 floorpan . Meanwhile the roadgoing GT version WSM 402 remains at Colmworth in readiness to secure the body to the chassis.

Hill Climb . .

January - Santa delivered a photographic negatives scanner to the Hill household and the ensuing search through dog-eared Kodak pouches revealed ex-WSM 205 owner Geoff Hill at Harewood hillclimb circa 1962/63 in his 1959 Austin Healey Sprite. Bought as a standard Sprite in 1961, Geoff started doing sprints and driving tests and won a few local events with the SYCEC (South Yorkshire Car Enthusiasts Club). He supercharged and modified the engine with a cam and special Healey head, fitted a close ratio Mk2 box and uprated the suspension while also fitting wires and front discs along with the Williams & Pritchard Sebring bonnet. He won a National test outright and as a result was asked to join the three car Austin Healey Club team which won the Morgan 4/4 Trophy twice - the team was overseen by BMC competitions guru Peter Browning. The car was sold when the lure of a Healey 3000 proved irrisistible, but four months later the Sprite was written off in an accident with the new owner at the wheel.

Gathercole Playtime Purchase . .

January - David and Lorraine were married on 10th July 2004 and have just invested in a 'sharing toy' as Lorraine describes it . .

Bentley Bloke . .

January - The upside to a delayed sailing from Birkenhead with WSM 208 was meeting Manx resident Bill Creasey in the quayside queue. He stepped out of a chauffer-driven Bentley on recognising the WSM from his time with the Sporting Owners Drivers Club in the 1960's and ownership of a Frogeye for competition. The ensuing chinwag revealed a self-confessed car nut and in the 1960's as finances permitted he progressed through the ranks of sports cars, including a share of pal John Hingley's Lotus Elite (stage 2 Climax & ZF box). Bill then raced a Brabam BT14, Chevron-Ford B10/17 and Brabam BT30 prior to becoming involved with hotshoe Graham McRae in an M10B McLaren, then in his GM1 F5000. Bill bought a third share in the BS Automotive F3000/F2 team founded by Bob Sparshott in 1976 and were winners of the inaugural European title - drivers included Mark Blundell, Andrew Gilbert Scott, Giovanni Amato, Dominiqe Delest, Michael Ferte, Tomas Kaiser and 1985 F3000 championship winner Christian Danner. Although many of Bill's period pix were lost in a Spanish flood some years ago, a visit to his Onchan address is forthcoming.

Great Scott . .

January - An email from Scott Yturria of San Ramon, California revealed him to be an ex-owner of WSM 210 between 1968-1972. Scott found the WSM cars website recently and tells us he purchased 210 from Dave Collier, a local Jaguar car dealer and family friend in Florida, after Scott missed out on a Fiat Abarth 750GT Zagato in 1967 and wanted something similar in body style. He drove 210 throughout his College days and admits it was usually the centre of discussion when the British sports car enthusiasts met. Scott sold the car to a college student in Florida, and replaced the WSM with a 1971 Lotus Elan SE.

Once a petrol head, always a petrol head - Lotus Europa and Esprit Turbo, Lamborghini Countach and Miura, Maserati Bora and Merak, and Ferrari 246, 308 and 512 have passed through Yturrian ownership. Scott has a small collection of F1 cars and a Group C car which he uses on the track occasionally, but he still would like to have the WSM back, so they are for sale - see the 'For Sale' page on this website . . .