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WSM - News 2011

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News archives 2004/05/06/07/08/09/10 . .
Bentley to Sprite Pictorial file on almost everything bar WSM's that DW-S drove . .
Douglas Wilson-Spratt In Memorium . .

25/12 Santa's Stockings . .

Several fillers from Mr Claus, including the 'Senna' DVD, and the 'Closer To The Edge' TT film - you don't have to be a petrol head to appreciate the subject matter and both are spectacular and revealing viewing . .

21/12 'Equipe' GTS . .

News from Jim Lowry and the future of the race series - click on

17/11 WSM S2's . .

Recent expansion at WSM S2 HQ has moved the Sanction 2 build process up to speed - WSM's 402 and 403 continue to progress, and the donor car for 405 awaits attention . .

16/11 Up, Up and Away . .

Engineer and racer David Gathercole who pedalled WSM 301 at the 2003 Goodwood Revival, is following in familiar footsteps as he trains for a Private Pilots Licence. Although not giving up a busy motorsport and work schedule, aviation has grabbed his attention and the Cessna 172 pictured becomes his first trusty steed . .

15/11 New Series . .

'Ecurie' GTS has emerged with the MGCC and a 'steering group' is established to represent drivers interests. MGB 50 celebrations planned for 2012 will see HRDC, MGCC and AMOC races on the calendar for FIA MGB drivers . .

10/11 Hill Revision . .

Unearthing more pictures of his time with WSM 205 in 1967 turned the clock back for WSM S2 customer, Geoff Hill. From left to right -WSM 205 at Sandtoft aerodrome in South Yorkshire, at the time a Club sprint circuit. WSM 205 beside the first Mrs Hill's Sprite. Spares and Mrs Hill in the WSM. The 250GT belonged to club member George Sinclair, who was a butcher. The Cooper Jap in Geoff's words - 'Drove the CJ a few times, bloody frightening. It ran on methanol, had no diff and there was so much vibration you could hardly see the circuit, but great !'

02/11 Series Options . .

Debate is ongoing regarding 'Equipe' GTS following co-founders Christophe Wilmart's decision to step back, and Jim Lowry's stated intention to help ensure an ongoing future. Offers from MGCC, HRDC and AMOC to administer the series are under consideration, and with MGB50 celebrations around the corner, the established and popular MGB-based events will be a feather in somones cap . .

26/10 Sanction 2 Donor . .

WSM 405 S2 is underway following purchase of a suitable chassis. Delivery to the S2 workshops is scheduled this week, and specification for the fast road GT is being mulled over in the West Riding of Yorkshire by owner Geoff Hill . .

22/10 Wheel of Fortune . .

Lorraine Gathercole pulled a stroke on husband David in organising a surprise 50th - singer Leenie Jane serenaded the birthday boy, and fireworks and a hog roast at the Whittlesey mansion went down a treat. Gifts included a steering wheel, electric guitar and hair brush, and as Biggles is training to achieve his Private Pilots Licence, a 'Churchillian' aviation theme was uppermost . . .

14/10 MGB50 . .

Following the HRDC announcement from Julius Thurgood and a series of races for FIA MGB's in 2012, the MG Car Club have advertised similar plans. Ron Gammons said he was surprised at the HRDC press release, but the MGCC had made known its intentions much earlier in the year, with the MGLive event being the centre piece to at least four races during the course of the season. The WSM MGB may be busy next summer . .

13/10 Just 25 Twice . .

Pictured at Goodwood in 2003, engineer, racer and ex-WSM pilot David Gathercole chalks up the 50th milestone on Saturday, and wife Lorraine has arranged for a suitable collection of n'er do wells, vagrants and hangers-on to attend. I'm unavailable, as is Mr Hancock, but the Cambridgeshire couple are guaranteed to wend an entertaining path through the day - it will simply be a question of whose steering wheel David might use . .

12/10 MGB50 . .

The Historic Racing Drivers Club plan a series of races beginning April 9th 2012 at Castle Combe to celebrate 50 years of competition for the MGB. HRDC founder Julius Thurgood explains the origins of the planned events here

02/10 Sanction 2 Debut . .

WSM 401 S2 turned a wheel in anger for the very first time at Snetterton October 2nd - go to 'Race News' for details

29/09 Delta Memories . .

Called in to Eaton Socon to see Owen Gough, a fit septuagenarian who spent some formative years at Delta Garage in the early 1960's (pictured 2nd from left with the Delta team). He recalled vividly the time spent working on number 258, Dad's Monte Carlo Sebring Sprite, and razzing through France in the support car with Mum.

In league with partner Lynne, a fitness instructor, they now travel extensively in Britain, and have a list of cruise ship destinations they've enjoyed as long as your arm. Infectiously enthusiastic on so many subjects, they were keen to catch up on the Sanction 2 story. We wined and dined in the continental sunshine and I was given a fast demonstration on the A428 of the Smart Passion car which Lynne pedals. As Arnie said in the film Terminator " I'll be back . . "

25/09 Karma In Yorkshire . .

WSM made an impression on a young Geoff Hill in 1966 - ownership of the lightweight fibreglass WSM 205 (left) set the seal on a love affair with sports cars. Since then a multitude of four wheeled brands have come and gone, but today the cycle is complete as WSM 405 S2 is officially designated to Mr G Hill in South Yorkshire. Pictured at Croft on September 24th alongside WSM 208, Geoff's long term association with WSM culminates with Sanction 2 build number five, and as he says . . "I have to keep calm and patient now . ."

22/09 'Austin-Healey The Bulldog Breed' . .

Just picked up Jon Pressnell's most recent publication via Haynes Classic Makes Series. Amongst the assembled stars are the WSM 3000 and WSM Sprite's, accompanied by a mildly tuned version of the 1996 Classic & Sportscar article re WSM. With the inevitable updates to such a depth of subject, trying to squeeze into160 pages what Bill Emerson did in 2002 with his Healey tome was a hard act to follow. However, JP's angle does work and includes interesting 'third party' comment, and pix hitherto unseen by yours truly.

21/09 The Revival . .

WSM connections had a mixed bag of results at Goodwood - Rae Davis shared his Renault 8 Gordini in the St Mary's Trophy with Nicolas Minassian to 14th overall (and bagged 'Best Presented Team' award for the Gallic flavour) - Tony Bianchi qualified his Brabham-Ford BT5 in 19th and finished 16th in the Madgwick Cup - David Coplowe took his Lotus-Climax 24 to 10th in the Glover Trophy from 19th - Barry 'Whizzo' Williams put the monster Ford Galaxie 500 on pole for the St Mary's Trophy but after leading and setting fastest lap was out by the fifth. Better luck in the RAC TT saw a 13th place in the gorgeous Ferrari 250GT SWB/C - Ollie Bryant's 4th placed AC Cobra in TT qualifying was to no avail as co-driver ex-F1 Gerhard Berger crashed heavily at the end of Lavant straight in second practice . .

20/09 State Visit . .

Having enjoyed all the Goodwood Revival has to offer, Florida resident Bill Emerson took time off to see his WSM 'GT' in the flesh for the first time. Pictured (right) with Paul Webb and Wes Attew, Bill has some requirements peculiar to WSM 403 - air conditioning to cope with the high temperatures, different spec seats to make comfortable long distance touring, and an ultra-high gearbox ratio for the USA superhighways that now have limits of 80mph . .

17/09 WSM 403 S2 . .

The third S2 under construction takes shape with the 'GT' body sitting pretty on the recently completed chassis.

15/09 Goodwood . .

First picture from this years Goodwood Revival courtesy of WSM S2 owner Lorraine Noble-Thompson. Accompanying partner Doug Samuels with the BMC transporter loaded with a Maserati 250F Tecmec, Lorraine piloted the Skoda tender car and vouched for sunny weather . .

08/09 - 410 EAO . .

The ex-Andrew Hedges Sebring Sprite lovingly restored by Jonathon Whitehouse-Bird over an 18 year period has found a new home. The last time we were talking with 'Equipe' GTS founder Jim Lowry, he was definitely thinning down the collection - the lure of this meticulous rebuild must have been too much . .?

05/09 - Sanction 2 . .

Rear firewall work completed on 402, and 403 chassis work commences at Colmworth. Surgery on a ruptured appendix in Spring 2011 does'nt hold 403 owner Bill Emerson back for long, and he crosses the pond to attend the Goodwood Revival next week . .

02/09 - Classic & Sports Car . .

Francophile, Midget fan and automotive scribe Jon Pressnell was on the case at Burghley in June, and his four page summary of Midget50 in October's edition of C & SC is typically informative. WSM features there, and in his Austin-Healey book recently published with Haynes that achieves Book of the Month status.

27/08 - Boost to Sanction 2 . .

Good news for WSM Sanction 2 customers - the build team is joined by Murray Henderson, who contributed time and expertise to the WSM 401 S2 project and supported WSM's on their travels in previous years. Murray continues with a successful career behind the spray gun, and has a colourful Sprite racing history at the wheel. He recently achieved proud Grandfather status . .

23/08 - WSM 402 S2 . .

The latest 'GT', or road-going version of the Sanction 2 production run is looking sleek in the silver finish as designated by owner Lorraine Noble-Thompson.

25/07 - Deep to Ogle . .

Guy Loveridge's Deep Sanderson sold at the recent Silverstone auction, and has been replaced in the Yorkshire-based stable with another A-series oddity, a 1962 Ogle. Previous competition history includes Sebring in period . .

22/07 Delta Re-Visited . .

Having worked at Delta Garage in 1960/61, ex-SODC member Owen Gough paid a visit yesterday to the premises where Sanction 2 WSM's are under construction. Pictured beside WSM 402 S2, Owen was involved in preparing the Sebring Sprite that DW-S took on the 1961 Monte Carlo, and accompanied the car as mechanic for the event.

Cholmondeley Pageant of Power - report at 'Race News'

19/07 - Barry Pinkerton . .

Condolences to the Pinkerton family after we heard from Robin Pinkerton that younger brother Barry (second from right) recently died at his California home. Barry was a WSM admirer, and a successful auto-tester in Sprite's in the early 1960's besides owning an eclectic range of cars over the years in the UK. A Californian resident for over 30 years, he inherited a passion for all things wheeled from father 'Doc' Pinkerton and was an S.O.D.C member. Only last month Barry helped us with information on an A35 pick-up he used to run . .

17/07 - WSM at Blenheim . .

No cigar for WSM 401 S2 at the Coys concours, but the car drew much attention - pictures courtesy of Murray Henderson

WSM at Blenheim Concours . .

Coys of London have invited WSM cars to display at Blenheim Palace on July 16th - at stake the Kensington Trophy for most elegant design, and the Churchill Trophy for best car of the day - WSM 401 S2 takes up the challenge in the hands of Ian and Maggie Hulett . .

WSM at Pageant of Power . .

The Marquess of Cholmondeley hosts the fourth event on July 15th/16th/17th - similar in intention and style to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the 'Festival of the North' features WSM 208 amongst the exotica, and we get to play on the sprint course - more at 'Race News' . .

WSM at MG50 Sunday 12th June . .

Despite miserable weather from 10am onwards, the magnificent Burghley setting and the organisational prowess of the MGOC, MASC, MGCC and AHC clubs enticed 700+ cars for display. The crowds may not have lingered long into the day, but they were treated to a fitting celebration of the Midget phenomenon. Stars of the WSM stand were the Sanction 2 display, where 401 and 402 had tongues wagging and camera's clicking . . A big, fat 'thank you' to Flybe and their staff at Ronaldsway - we all knock airlines for delays and cancellations due to weather and technical issues, but its great when customer service just shines through. I was terribly late for a 1.35pm Luton flight on Saturday (transposed 13.35pm for a 3pm departure) and arrived at the check-in at 1.20pm thinking my fate was sealed. It was'nt, thanks to two calls and presence of mind, the quick thinking ground staff got me on. That consideration has me booking their flights at every opportunity rather than the HardProp alternative . .

10/06 Silverstone Tribute . .

The HRDC series plan a tribute to DW-S at MGLive on 26th June. Series organiser Julius Thurgood has circa 54 cars assembled from the 'Touring Car Greats' and 'Grand Touring Car Greats' grids, and in response we hope to field at least four WSM's. It is 10 years since the Rockingham Re-Union brought so many of you together as a surprise for Dads 80th birthday, so we hope this is a timely opportunity to meet up again . . see 'Race News' for more details . .

04/06 - Crossed wires . .

We kept everyone in the loop regarding the Mallory race on Monday 30th May, but apologies to those who were asked to contribute by a third party and thought it was WSM Cars on the scrounge to get an entry funded. WSM 207 did fulfill the entry at Mallory, but in the hands of William Lynch - more at 'Race News' shortly. However, it was touching that the confusion also revealed a generosity amongst you petrol heads and WSM connections in that many did in fact contribute. We understand all proceeds were subsequently returned.

TV Debut . .

WSM's on Monday Bank Holiday - Motors TV on Sky. See 'Race News' for more details . .

Douglas Wilson-Spratt RIP April 12th

09/04 - A Wuzzum Fest Hatches at Brands . .

As the English winter dissolved seemingly at the flick of a switch and gave way to summer, so the Wuzzum hibernation ended with a flourish at the Kent circuit - full report at 'Race News' . .

08/04 - WSM 401 S2 . .

Ian Hulett's lightweight S2 is really taking shape and further progress made as mechanicals are fitted to the spaceframe design.

07/04 - Get Well Soon . .

'Inflamation of the vermiform appendix . . ' or a ruptured appendix has taken WSM 403 S2 owner Bill Emerson out of action for a while. Hospitalised on Saturday, he's sure to be up and Healeying again sooner rather than later . .

WSM 402 S2 . .

Prior to a brief sojourn with Yvette to France, the Colmworth team showed off their work on Lorraine's 'GT' . .

Midget50 . .

WSM Cars will be at Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire on June 12th with several examples of the Sanction 2 builds to help celebrate the International Midget 50th. The one day event has been arranged to celebrate the Golden Anniversary, and the organising MGOC, MASC, AHC and MGCC clubs have received a huge amount of interest. Click on the Midget50 logo for further details . .

Classic Cars . .

Meeting Rob Scorah at the Goodwood Revival in 2010 lead to some fab pix by the Classic Car magazine journalist and photographer. Without stealing too much thunder ahead of a proposed article, a focused Brian Arculus on the Fordwater grid and the gaffer himself, courtesy of Rob . .

WSM 403 S2 . .

Dockside on UK arrival March 25th, the donor car for Bill Emerson's 'GT' trailered for the trip to Bedfordshire - pictured alongside 402 S2 back at Colmworth, the car also got the seal of approval from the road test team . .

WSM 3000 . .

Following the sale of the WSM 3000 earlier this month, it was interesting to talk with Nina Beard, the ex-wife of Peter Welsh who owned the WSM from 1967 until his death in May 2010. The car was certainly Peter's pride and joy, and although Nina was only persuaded on a few occasions to travel in the raucus rally-prepared 3000, she recalls just how much attention the car attracted. A British Airways long haul stewardess at the time, Nina moved to the North of England in the 1980's and had no more contact with Peter or the car until 2009 . .

25/03 - WSM 205 . .

Ex-WSM owner Geoff Hill met an old friend in London recently who happened to find a picture of the fibreglass lightweight WSM. Originally blue and built and registered MW 3 for racer Mike White in 1963, Geoff owned 205 in 1967 and competed in hill climbs and sprints with the car then registered VLY 540 and coloured red . .

DW-S 90th . .

The 'M' in WSM, Jim McManus commented yesterday that it seems the blink of an eye since we were filming at Rockingham in 2001 and celebrating an 80th with a gathering of cars and people. Since then a lot has transpired in the world of WSM, including repatriation of two cars, several changes of ownership, restorations, AH 50th, Goodwood Revival's, photoshoots, magazine articles and production of Sanction 2 WSM Sprite's. Pictured in 1929 with a model aeroplane about to make its maiden flight, DW-S is making plans for two soiree's on 25th and 26th June in his new Isle of Man address and cordially invites WSM contacts to drop in given the chance.

A wedding invitation gives him an excuse to take the Smart car to France during March, and if all goes to plan, the Jodel Mascaret at Ronaldsway achieves restoration completion this summer and air-testing will be under way . .

WSM 3000 . .

Pictured left, one of the most recently discovered pictures of the ultimate WSM - while leafing through an accompanying magazine at the auction house last Saturday, some negatives literally fell out. The car went under the hammer on March 2nd in Herefordshire for £45k - more detail regarding the circumstances at 'The History Part Two' on this website - and the new owner is based in the UK and intends restoring the car to its road going glory . .

Race Retro 26th February . .

A couple of years since my last visit to the Warwickshire venue, and the new season is nearly with us when the annual historic show arrives at Stoneleigh. WSM 202 looked resplendant on the CSCC stand, while journalist Marcus Pie at the HGPA display was boning up for his weekly Autosport contribution. BWRDC member Lorraine is pictured on the David Gathercole Race Preparation stand with their Lola 290 (which has an itinerary for 2011 that sounds like a holiday brochure of venues), and Lorraine will be campaigning the Lotus Elan again. Ted Walker at Ferret Fotographics came up trumps with rare pix, and gracious acceptance of my cash dilemma and 'cheque in the post' payment routine . .

18/03 Spritely Donor . . .

Pictured en route to Miami dockside, a temporary life on the ocean wave for Bill Emerson's HAN 8 chassis beckons . .

15/03 Targa Florio . . .

If the clock could ever be turned back, then plonk me as an eight year old in Sicily in 1966 in the middle of the greatest road race. While drooling over Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ2's, Porsche 906, Ferrari 250GTO and 250LM, I'd be rooting for Jack Wheeler in his Sebring Sprite. Pictured in the latest Classic & Sportscar is 7080 AC about to set off into the Sicilian dust, prior to chronic bump-steer contributing to a roll in practice . .

10/03 Spridgeteers Kits . . .

Classic & Sportscar's March edition features fastback kits from Ashley and Lenham. Darryl Davis (brother of WSM owner Rae) revived the Ashley business, while Shaun Rainford took on the Lenham brand from ex-Spridget racer David Coplowe.

08/03 WSM 401 S2 . . .

As the racing seasons beckons, so the Hulett lightweight Sanction 2 continues to take shape. Colmworth Classic Cars proprietor Paul Webb commented that the colouring . . "makes the car look long and low".

WSM 403 S2 . .

Never one to let the Florida grass grow under his feet, ex-NASA engineer Bill Emerson has organised the licence plate for his forthcoming S2. The donor car is purchased, colour chosen and shipment being arranged . .

Manx Visitor . . .

Progress with one of our potential guests for the Manx Classic in April - pictured is the Alexander Sprite of 'Equipe' racer Paul Freeman

WSM 401 S2 . .

The first S2 lightweight Sprint WSM is progressing well and the bodyshell is in primer and close to receiving the painting TLC that Murray Henderson has administered to WSM's previously. Meanwhile Ian Hulett has built a new 1400cc engine and sorted out a kit of bits for another, and MED are in charge of machining some 1144cc engine parts. The rear suspension received attention and Ian has re-conditioned a set of adjustable lever arm shockers.