WSM - News 2014


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Douglas Wilson-Spratt In Memorium . .


73rd Goodwood Members Meeting 21st-22nd March 2015 . .

Graham Robson and WSM 202 have received an invite from Goodwood to compete in the Les Leston Trophy for British sports production cars 1960 - 1966.

Blast From The Past . .

Contact from Mark Cole -

'When I started racing in 1968, my 850cc Riley Elf (Mini) was sponsored by Delta Garages of Leighton Buzzard, which had been founded by Douglas Wilson-Spratt in 1954. I lived in Leighton Buzzard, but by then he had sold the business to Ken Scrivener, who was a friend of my father, and let me use the workshop facility at weekends to prepare the car. I was a member of the Dunstable-based Sporting Owners Drivers Club (the SODs) and  knew Douglas and his son Tony through that, particularly through Woburn Abbey hillclimbs (at which I competed in the Elf) and through their Austin Healey rallying.

There was still much evidence of the business's WSM history at Delta when I was there: a WSM Sprite body out the back with lots of fibreglass bits, which was probably the one which became the 10th to be built in 2009, two years before Douglas died.

I found this photograph of my Riley Elf racing at Crystal Palace in 1968, sponsored by WSM's former Delta Garages of Leighton Buzzard, which I mentioned in my previous mail. The car was same colour as the border, which like the Elf (there were only two racing at that time) I chose to make it stand out from the rest of hordes of Minis. The engine was by now a 1000 S BL Special Tuning screamer (all of 125bhp) which revved to 10,000rpm when regular Minis redlined at 8000rpm. '

NEC Classic Motor Show 14th November . .

Year on year this event seems to be swallowing up more of the NEC site, so no surprise the show is getting ever busier. Two manufacturers showcased for the first time – Jaguar and Porsche – with the local boy comprehensively winning the title of the show’s most impressive stand. Jaguar Heritage’s recent expansion – including its run of ‘missing’ Lightweight E-types – meant the presentation was peppered with first class examples from the great firm’s past.

WSM 402 vied for top dog on the MGOC stand, while the Healey display was impressive with three original 'big Healey' rally cars and many of the mechanics and drivers from period in attendance. We also met up with Healey co-ordinator Joe Cox (right), Martin Ingall of Sebring website fame, Barrie 'Whizzo' Williams (left) who blew the doors off WSM 301 at Silverstone, WSM 405 owner Geoff Hill, big Healey-hunting Ian Grainger, Toyota-powered MGC owner Doug Samuels, and Paul and Yvette Webb with the Swallow Doretti's.

Classic Motor Show 14th-16th November . .

The UK's largest indoor show is growing with each event, and last year's 65,000 visitors over 3 days may well be exceeded. The MG Owners Club stand features Lorraine Noble-Thompson's WSM 402 amongst another mouth-watering array of classics at the NEC near Birmingham.

Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance . .

Quite something if the Motoring Event of the Year, as voted in 2013 at the International Historic Motoring Awards, invites your car to compete in 2015. WSM 403 has achieved just that, and owner Bill Emerson is justifiably pleased. The event celebrates its 20th year and is honouring Sir Stirling Moss in a reprisal of his role in the first edition in 1996. To mark the occasion, Mercedes-Benz have committed the Mille Miglia-winning Mercedes 300SLR and the W196 racer that took Stirling Moss to his first Formula One victory. I suspect Bill might be available March 13th-15th . . .

27th-28th September Pistons and Props - The Sywell Classic . .

Over 13,000 visitors took in the second running of the motorsport and aviation festival which included live action motorsport on the ‘Racing Runway’. The Martini-liveried Lancia LC2 reached top speeds of 192mph, only to be beaten by the KTM racing bike which tipped 195mph. Classic motorbikes had a much bigger presence in 2014 with around 250 examples on display and racing up the runway, including a trio of Ducati superbikes lined up against the limited edition Hesketh 24 motorcycle.

They were eclipsed by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Lancaster bomber, accompanied by a Hurricane and Spitfire to create a display that stirred the soul. Event director Tom Siddall said “The feedback has been overwhelming and it’s brilliant how all the people involved have really taken this event to their hearts. All of them comment on the atmosphere and it was great to see more and more people arriving in vintage dress and getting into the spirit of the festival."

WSM were represented by Ian Hulett with WSM 401, and Geoff Hill in WSM 405, and both ran strongly on the runway sprint - thanks to Maggie Hulett for keeping the team and visitors refreshed.

The Historic Rally Car Register’s 30th anniversary celebrations finished with a final test at the show, and Charles Graves and Ron Palmer in their Triumph TR4 won from Duncan Wild and Steve Skepper (Austin Cooper).

UK Street Machines lead 36 dragsters and hot rods on the ‘Sprint Strip’ for its shoot-out competition, where Phil Middleton and his ten-litre V8-powered Fordson Van that produces just under 1,000 hp claimed top spot.

The Blades and the Yakovlevs aerobatic display teams were entertaining with their show stopping routines, while WW1 was represented by the fantastic eight plane line-up of Great War Display Team featuring Iron Maiden star Bruce Dickinson. Those who enjoyed the vintage lifestyle appreciated the new Vintage Fair in Hangar One, the 100 strong Classic Trader Village, and headed to the Pilot’s Mess where the lovely Elle & the Pocket Belles performed alongside rockabilly band The Houndogs.

Sywell Classic 2015 on 26th-27th September

26/08/2014 At Arms Length . .

Courtesy of Geoff Hill forwarding, click on below to view this Maxda MX5 Cup race for its entire one minute 11 seconds at Silverstone for a sensational move by number 4 on Hanger Straight . .

Mazda Hoot

12/08/2014 WSM Sold . .

The oldest known surviving WSM Spridget 793 XPP has changed ownership. Pictured at a wet MGCC Silverstone in 1963, and best (9th) of the WSM's in the 2010 Goodwood Revival Fordwater Trophy grid with Brian Arculus at the helm, the car remains in the UK and will continue to be raced. Graham Robson, an experienced pedaller, said . . " I'm delighted to become the custodian of such a beautiful car  with such a wonderful history. I can't wait to get her out on track, and plan to race XPP in the HRDC All Stars at Snetterton 27th Sept."

11/08/2014 Caged Craft . .

Fabricage continue their association with WSM and are fitting a roll cage to the WSM3000 at their Cambridgeshire premises - WSM's 208, 301 and MGB have all benefitted from the Harston crew's expertise . .

28/07/2014 Denis Welch . .

The renowned Healey exponent and experienced racer died after the Lotus 18 he was driving rolled in the second Jack Brabham Memorial race for pre-66 Grand Prix cars at the Silverstone Classic. Our thoughts are with his family.

26/07/2014 Silverstone Classic . .

The burgeoning fixture on the historic calendar at HQ is in full swing and the attending WSM contingent includes WSM 402 owner Lorraine Noble-Thompson (not satisfied with a Le Mans Classic visit earlier this month, a trip to Belgium is also planned for the Spa 6 Hour event in September), and Geoff Hill with WSM 405.

Thanks to Peter Hesz for sending a picture yesterday of 405 parked beside the Woolmer Classic Engineering encampment in the Silverstone paddock.

Ex-WSM owner Tony Bianci has a Farrallac Allard in the Stirling Moss Trophy Pre-61 Sports Cars, and ex-Sprite racer David Coplowe a Lotus 24 on the Jack Brabham Trophy HGPCA Pre-66 Grand Prix car grid. Lorraine Gathercole pilots a Lotus 18 in the Historic Formula Junior Peter Arundell Trophy and husband David a Lola T212 in the FIA Masters Historic Sports Cars, while the Clegg family field two Sebring Sprite's in the TT race for Historic pre-63 GT cars.

Its not all work and no pay for Paul Woolmer, who shares Mick Darcey's Austin-Healey 100S in the RAC Woodcote Trophy for Pre-56 Sportscars.

08/07/2014 Wedding Belles . .

Matthew Hill made a good impression with his new bride Suzanne in having the ultimate chariot available after the service. Courtesy of father Geoff, the latest of the Sanction 2 WSM's hit the spot with wedding guests in sunny Derbyshire - obviously the premier event in the North of England that week-end after our man Cavendish bit the dust . .

07/07/2014 Connecticut Connections . .

Walter Donaghy (left) and Kent Bain caught up at a Vintage Racer Group event on a hot day at the newly re-opened Thompson Motorsports Park in Thompson, Connecticut a week ago.  Walter bought WSM 207 in 1966, and in 1987 Kent and Vintage Racing Services restored the car for Walter to race. Kent was at Thompson with a group of clients cars and racing a Porsche 914-6, while Walter was with his newest acquisition, a Ginetta G-4.  

Kent forwarded an evocative set of pictures featuring WSM 207 in action at various venues -

04/07/2014 WSM 3000 . .

If ever a reminder is needed of the craftsmanship invested in aluminium bodywork, then take a peek at the thumbnails. Pictured left in 1965 at the Delta Garages premises, two weeks after the car was collected from Peels Coachworks of Kingston for owner Malcolm Bridgland - then pictured right 49 years later as the fastideous restoration continues. When DW-S was re-united with the car in 2003, one of the most satisfying discoveries was the integrity of the panel fit throughout. He opened and closed the doors and bonnet, and with a quiet smile stood back to view the perfect shut lines. Given that the car had been previously rallied, then laid up and partly exposed to the elements for circa 30 years, it was a powerful testament to design and build quality. Alec and Fred at Peels were true artisans, and they would be pleased at the care todays restorers are taking.

25/06/2014 Stateside Silverware . .

WSM403 S2 scooped the prestigious Best Of Show accolade at The Homestead Austin Healey Conclave of 2014 in Virginia, USA. The entry of 240 Healeys was headed by the second Sanction 2 road car build, and a delighted Bill Emerson is pictured with the award.

16/06/2014 Birthday Memento's . .

Marking the 50th anniversary of WSM in 2012, two special edition items have been produced by Geoff Hill alongside the Sanction 2 builds. The chunky glass fronted coasters with rubber base picture DW-S at the Goodwood Revival in 2003 with WSM's 202 and 301 - the key fob with chrome surround incorporates the blue WSM and S2 insignia on a white background with blue leather strap.

14/06/2014 MGLive . .

The 'Ecurie' GTS grid of 43 entries at MG90 on June 21st/22nd includes a rare gathering of WSM's with 401 (Ian Hulett), 210 (Clive Cocks) and the MGB alongside prototype 'BXN' (Richard Woolmer). The 30 minute Grand Prix circuit races on Saturday and Sunday bring out the largest grid of the season, and Tom Smith's MGB , the Elva Courier of Scott Quattlebaum, TVR Grantura of Robi Bernberg and Turner Mk2 of Mark Halstead are likely to be near the head of the mix.

Also on display will be the road-going Sanction 2 WSM's of Lorraine Noble-Thompson WSM 402, and weather and logistics permitting, WSM 405 of Geoff Hill. The Woolmer Classic Engineering encampment will be easy to spot, administering to Healey 100/4 and more . .

10/06/2014 Sad News . .

Former Speedwell owner Antonio Bertini was killed in an accident in Italy on Saturday. He was competing in an FIA spec Marcos Volvo, sharing with co-driver Adam Cunnington on the event, and it seems that Adam was unhurt.


09/06/2014 Hotshoes . .

Pictured at a gathering in tribute to 'Big' John at Celtic Manor - Mike Wilds, John Surtees and 'Gentleman' Jack Sears - this 250 GTO must have been quaking on its boots given any one of them would drive the wheels off the car given opportunity . .

08/06/2014 Sanction 2 Modelling . .

Collaboration between 402 and 405 Sanction 2 owners - Geoff organised the prints and Lorraine models the Sanction 2 motif . .

05/06/2014 TT Tails . .

The busiest TT period since the Centenary, aptly sponsored by the Monster Energy drinks company. Unhelpful weather has'nt dampened ever-enthusiastic bikers from all points of the globe, but gives the organisers headaches in completing the race programme. 37,000 bikers shipped in, wins by Michael Dunlop, 132mph lap record from Bruce Anstey, and a 117mph lap on a plug-in Mugen Shinden by John McGuinness in the TT Zero race are highlights to date. Todays second sidecar TT is already delayed, and the foul weather forecast is the sword of Damocles over Friday's Senior TT. Pictured getting advice on paddock access . . .

29/04/2014 Appreciating Ramsey . .

Indicitive of the kindness and understanding of Ramsey residents while Manx Classic competitors filled the neighbourhood with cars and trailers, this sign and the water buckets were placed at the entrance to a property by the owners . .

28/04/2014 Late Night Shopping . .

Enamoured DW-S granddaughters have more items on their shopping list now - the blue Sanction 2 WSM ticked all the boxes . .

27/04/2014 New Arrivals . .

The Manx Classic enticed many shapes and forms from the adjacent island, and also marked the first time a Sanction 2 WSM set tyre on Isle of Man soil. First impressions of the 186bhp 'K' series performance in WSM 405 were astounding, and heading West to wind up the rev counter to anywhere near the 7500rpm red line produced simply epic acceleration. Pictured in Peel with Geoff Hill outside W-S residences echoed 1980's pictures of WSM 301, and the scripted speedometer in 405 a subtle reminder of the car's origins . .

27/04/2014 Hot Scots . .

Husband and wife team Liam and Eileen Wood made their second Classic visit, and although Eileen's intended steed failed shortly before crossing, the C-class Mercedes diesel estate tow car was liveried up and pressed into service alongside Liam's Escort . .

27/04/2014 Fill Yer Boots . .

The Brabham Sprite of Paul Webb sported an excess baggage area to accomodate shoes and handbags, allegedly wife Yvette's. Theories on poor fuel economy centred on webber carbs, but its evident that weight and airflow penalties are to blame . .

18/04/2014 Autodrome Shakedown . .

Bedfordshire Autodrome, home of PalmerSport, saw WSM 405 S2 in the hands of owner Geoff Hill put through its paces yesterday. Comment on the 'K' series engine performance and S2 handling to date is all positive, and the car makes its competition debut on Saturday 26th April in Ramsey, IoM. The Manx Classic has an oversubscribed entry this year, and WSM 210 is in Class 2A for pre-1968 Classic Cars up to 1500cc, with 405 in Class 3B for pre-1981 Classic cars 1500cc to 2000cc.

09/04/2014 Nearly Three Legs . .

A flurry of activity as the Manx Classic approaches - WSM 401 owner Ian Hulett has nearly finished an engine for his hill climb special, Paul Webb admits there's a bit to do with his Brabham Sprite, Paul Freeman's Alexander unfortunately expired at the Goodwood Members meeting, and Clive Cocks with WSM 210 is keeping a low profile . .

08/04/2014 Small USA . .

Bill Emerson was awarded Best Austin-Healey at a show in St Petersburg, Florida, and bumped into Hayes Harris who used to have custody of WSM 203, one of four exports in the 1960's to the USA. As Bill (right) commented . . 'Two firsts in one day !'

03/03/2014 MG&Triumph Spares Show . .

Stoneleigh Park hosted the annual MG and Triumph bash on Sunday 2nd March, and Sanction 2 WSM's 402 and 405 were on display with the Midget Register and MGOC stands . .

08/02/2014 Fanfair Awaits . .

Things are going to get interesting before much longer in Bedfordshire once this little orchestra, pictured left, fills its lungs. The first 'K' series WSM, as planned by DW-S while he enjoyed his 'Pocket Rocket' Gti Metro in the 1980's, is soon to be fired up for the first time . .

06/02/2014 Fast Moustache . .

Click on thumbnail for an unearthed video from Donington in 2005. The WSM MGB was on the 'Equipe' GTS grid and racing with David (The Fast Moustache) Beresford in his white MGB roadster - if he was'nt visible, he was on our case close behind. Only a tussle for 7th but the fun factor was evident . .

27/01/2014 Gold Standard . .

The follow up to the December MG Enthusiasts magazine article on WSM by editor Simon Goldsworthy features Lorraine Noble-Thompson's Sanction 2 GT - the January edition has a five page spread sprinkled with excellent photographs . .

07/01/2014 Rod Revisited . .

Good to hear from Rod Brisby, who nearly 22 years ago contacted us from Scotland regarding his ownership of WSM 202. A flight over with DW-S to Scotland led to Rod sending his WSM bonnet over to the Isle of Man on a fishing boat for a mould to be taken for WSM 301. The subsequent sale and restoration of 202 in time for the WSM Re-Union in 2001 was a key element in the ongoing search for surviving cars -

'Was checking through some old information and updating things and I remembered that I hadn't heard from you for a while. I never did get that run in the car when finished ! Pleased to see the resurgence of the marque. I was sorry to hear of your fathers passing and please accept my sincere condolences. He was a true gentleman and it was a pleasure to be able to say I knew him.
I enclose a couple pictures of my DIY restoration of my 1959 TR3a. Took me about a year and a half to complete but I am quite pleased with the result. My 1954 TR2 is well on the way to completion and that only leaves the TR3 to do. I hope you had a good New Year celebration

05/01/2014 Showtime . .

WSM S2's are listed for display at the MG & Triumph Spares show at Stoneleigh Park on Sunday March 2nd - the 402 GT of Lorraine Noble-Thompson and the 'K' series-powered 405 GT of Geoff Hill.