WSM - The History Part 2

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Click on menu below - Contents -
The History - Part One The story from conception of WSM in 1961 . .
Cars, motorhomes, wheels, windscreens and more . .
Home Page Website front page . .
Updates on WSM's in competition in the current year plus archives . .
WSM S2 introduction and price list . .
Pictorial file in three parts of WSM's in action from 1962 to date . .

News

New contacts, forthcoming events plus archives . .
Pictorial file on almost everything bar WSM's that DW-S drove . .
 

A Survivor . .

The WSM MG1100 was intended to equip four adults with 30mpg economy and 100mph performance. Retaining the MG interior and completed in 1965 by Peel Coachworks, the advent of the 70mph speed limit discouraged Douglas from making further examples. The car proved a capable family runabout and tow car for other WSM's, and even competed at Silverstone and Woburn in Mike Lewis's hands in 1966. It was not a favourite with all the family however, as the hydrolastic suspension turned some back seat passengers green. Pictured left with Alec and Fred at Peel Coachworks in 1965 with WSM 301 on the trailer, nothing further was heard of the car.

A Recovery . .

When the WSM MGB returned to the UK in 1996, Anthony went to the South of England to see the WSM "just for old times sake . ." and came away with his second WSM. The subsequent strip down and restoration took away forty plus pounds of filler, and the decision was taken to retain the colour as the car had been red for almost 20 years, although this time in the darker 'Tartan' shade as on 202. The car has since appeared at WSM gatherings at Rockingham and Wyboston, and raced with the 'Equipe' GTS series at Snetterton, Montlhery, Silverstone, Oulton Park, Donington, Dijon and Brands Hatch. Road registered, it is occasionally driven to and from events as in the 1960's, and featured at the Goodwood Revival in 2003 when invited with four WSM's to race in the Fordwater Trophy race. At Mallory on October 2nd 2005, the WSM MGB was alongside the MGB of Tony and Pia Bianchi in the Top Hat series season finale, and in 2006 a second Revival entry saw the car with five other WSM's on the grid in a fitting tribute to the spectating designer. The car made a second appearance at the MGCC Silverstone meeting in June 2007 in company with WSM 301, and was at the Silverstone MGLive event in June 2010 alongside WSM's 202 and 210. The annual BDC meeting at Silverstone in July 2010 was used as a practice run for a third Goodwood Revival appearance in September 2010, and a test day at Goodwood a week before the Revival revealed the change to Dunlop 'L' section tyres suited the car's performance. Minor mechanical failure on the outlap prior to the Fordwater Trophy race marred the week-end, but the car remains in family ownership.

The HRDC 'MGB50' series in 2012 presented opportunities to compete with similarly powered FIA MGB's, and MGLive at Silverstone saw the WSM amongst a stellar 58 car grid for the MGB50 Celebration race with 'Ecurie' GTS. Via Barry Sidery-Smith and Jonathan Kimber, the MG Owners Club displayed the car at the NEC Classic Car Show on November 16th-18th amidst glamorous company, and highlighted the recent colour alteration incorporating the 'Chiron' blue favoured by DW-S. Approaching 50 years in competition, the car continues to be campaigned.

A 2003 Revival . .

In 2003, four WSM's and BXN were invited to the Goodwood Revival meeting where WSM's 202, 207, 301 and the WSM MGB were entered in the Fordwater Trophy race alongside some truly exotic cars in front of 90,000 spectators. Acquainting themselves with the Goodwood layout in Friday's free practice, Paul Woolmer drove his immaculate 202, the Rae Davis 207 was driven by Ian Guest, stepping up from E -Types for his first WSM drive while Rae drove his very quick Mini Marcos, and Anthony pedalled the WSM MGB to enable David Gathercole his first WSM drive in 301. David fitted his own engine after 301 had been delivered to Whittlesey in August 2003, and the Saturday morning timed practice revealed David to be a real contender at the business end of the grid, while Ian, Paul and Anthony were comfortably midfield in amongst an eclectic mix of machinery, including Ron Gammons in BXN for owner Mick Darcey. The fabulous Goodwood Ball on Saturday night set remarkably high standards in terms of presentation and spectacle, and it was with mixed feelings that Sunday arrived as the day of the race but the end of the dinner occasion.

Willie Green and Irvine Laidlaw set the pace in Alfa TZ and Porsche, but WSM interest centred on a remarkable drive by David Gathercole as the unfortunate Paul Woolmer fell by the wayside in 202 with water pump gasket failure. David had much experience in FISC events, a Sprite based series centred in Holland and run by the effervescent Pieter Bakker, so was not unused to his surroundings. A blistering start put him up to fourth place after a battle with old adversary Rae Davis in the Mini Marcos. Gathercole's WSM had a gap to make up on third but the issue never arose as the WSM arrived in the pits with a misfire, quickly diagnosed as a disconnected plug lead. Although back out again, David's only consolation was to record fourth fastest lap of the race. Meanwhile Ian Guest headed the WSM contingent home in 207 after a race long dice with James Willis's Jacobs Midget. In his capacity as Team Manager for the week-end, Douglas was impressed with the WSM drivers, especially David Gathercole, and Lord March referred to the WSM's in his closing address with a tribute to their appearance in numbers . . .

click here for Goodwood report

A Photoshoot . .

In March 2004, quality monthly Octane magazine prompted a get-together of WSM's and personnel at the Wing, Bedfordshire address that was the conceptual birthplace of the car design. Four cars and members of the original Delta Garage team re-produced the 1963 scene of four WSM's for the October edition article - see 'Sixties Survivors' by Andrew Roberts at 'WSM In Print' below.

Goodwood Revival 2006 - 'Sensational' Fordwater Trophy . .

News in May 2006 that the WSM MGB, WSM 207 and Sebring BXN were on the Fordwater grid for the second time in the September classic - and in July came further invitations for 202, 210 and 301 -

Sell Out Week-End Audience of 110,000

click here for John Sprinzel interview by Neville Haye

click here for YouTube film

click here for a two-page Rev Counter 'Spritely Revival' report from Mike Wylie

For those petrol heads whose passion is lured by slippery bodied coupes from the 1960's, there was only one place to be on Friday 1st September as practice got underway at 10.15am for the third grid on the card of the stunning West Sussex event. John Sprinzel and wife Caryl made the trip from Hawaii, and were thrilled to watch a grid full of Sebrings, SLR's (Sprinzel-Lawrence Racing), Ashley, Lenham and WSM cars, and with former racing buddies Jack Wheeler, Peter Jackson, Cyril Simpson and Douglas Wilson-Spratt present. Stirling Moss was driving PMO 200 again, a car that both Sprinzel and Moss had raced in period and which had been restored from basket-case condition by Paul Woolmer.

Practice - The SLR Morgan Plus 4's of Keith Ahlers and Adrian Van Der Kroft predictably set the pace in dry conditions at the head of a 30 car grid, but Tommasi, Burnett and Hulett were in the hunt, and more so should a forecast wet track materialise on race day. Jim Lowry had a brush with the barriers but with 'Spadge' Hopkins and Rob Cull's help, 202 was ready for the race - go to 'Race News 2006' for a full event report.

WSM Sanction 2 . .

Following completion of WSM 208 in 2009, thoughts turned to production of 'second generation' WSM Sprite's. Such interest was apparent from visitors to the Colmworth Classic Cars stand at the Race Retro show at Stoneleigh in March 2009, that a limited production run of the fibreglass bodies was planned. Select 'WSM S2' from the menu near the top of this page to access further information . .

As an 89 year old great-grandfather, Douglas had yet more developments to add to an already interesting career with wheels and wings, and signing off his designs 47 years after the first example was a testament to the appeal of his work.

WSM Gatherings and Displays . .

The Healey 50th celebrations in 2002 at Thruxton saw WSM's 202 and 301 displayed in the marquee for special cars, and both contested the Healey 50th celebration race. As at Rockingham the year before, Douglas had the opportunity to meet friends and colleagues from yesteryear, and Healey exponents Paddy Hopkirk, Peter Riley, Clive Baker, Willie Cave, Jim McManus and Marcus Chambers were invited guests. The publication of Bill Emerson's fabulous and comprehensive 'Healey' book was well received and featured several pages on WSM's. Alongside cars brought from all over the world for the event, Anthony and Paul Woolmer raced 301 and 202, and shared 301 in the last race of the day, a two-driver enduro flagged away in a torrential downpour. The 2004 Healey International at Wyboston saw four WSM's and BXN in the Historic Cars feature, and Douglas met up with Clive Baker, Colin Stokes, Jim McManus, Peter Jackson, Ray Halsall, Robin Pinkerton and Brian Archer amongst others -

Spritely 50 - a magnificent gathering of cars and people at the Goodwood circuit on May 17th 2008 was superbly organised by the Austin Healey Club. The little Sprite's landmark year was celebrated in quite stunning fashion, and brought together many of the people that designed, built, owned, raced and enjoyed the talented Healey. Of the many variations on the successful theme, WSM were well represented with four cars . .

In 1996, the Healey International week-end featured a display at the Cirencester venue that included BXN and WSM 301
DWS 80 - June 2001. A surprise birthday event at Rockingham, Northants with 50 guests
MG50 - WSM Cars displayed Sanction 2 builds at the June 12th 2011 Burghley event, while WSM 210 was on show with the Historic cars
MGLive at Silverstone - June 24th-26th 2011 included a tribute to DW-S with WSM's 202, 208, 210, 401 and 'BXN'
HRDC Donington Historic Raceday - July 28th 2012 WSM's 202, 207, 208, 210 and 401 on the Grand Touring Greats grid
MGB50 at Blenheim - September 22nd 2012 WSM MGB with competition car display
WSM 50 - September 29th 2012 Colmworth, Bedfordshire, England. The most WSM's ever assembled
Footman James Classic Car Show - WSM MGB November 16th-18th 2012 NEC Birmingham
MGSpares Show - WSM 402 S2 Sunday 17th February 2013, Warwickshire
Race Retro - WSM MGB and WSM 402 February 22nd-24th 2013, Stoneleigh
Classic Motor Show- WSM 402 at NEC Birmingham November 2014

 

WSM in print . . click on underlined
Austin-Healey USA - Jeff Eakin/Martin Ingall October 2015
Mascot magazine - September 2015 Martin Ingall
Second Time Around - MGEnthusiast December 2014
Flight Time - Inflight Flybe magazine December 2014 Tim Heap
New WSM GT - MGEnthusiast January 2014 Simon Goldsworthy
WSM Returns - MGEnthusiast December 2013 Simon Goldsworthy
Frogeye Sprite - The Complete Story by John Baggott October 2013
Iconic Cars, Iconic People - Gallery magazine August 2013 by Steve Redford
Shooting Brakes Top Ten - Classic & Sports Car September 2013 by Alastair Clements
'Three Cheers . .' - Classic Cars magazine May 2012 by Martin Gurdon
Motoring Classics - British Motor Heritage
'Missing Monikers' by Gordon Bruce Spring 2012
Rev Counter- MG Enthusiast-Motorsport-Autosport-C&S-Mascot-Safety Fast June 2011
Sprite At Le Mans - Rev Counter January 2010
Historic Racing News - Motorsport August 2009
'Sprite 50th' - MG Enthusiasts magazine Summer 2008 article by Steve Havelock
WSM's 2006 MG Revival - Safety Fast February 2007
Rev Counter - June 2006 Austin Healey Club monthly - Clive Cocks at Manx Classic
'Big Healeys In Competition' - John Baggott 2006
'Unique WSM Uncovered' - Michael Ware Classic & Sportscar June 2006
'The WSM Story' - Healey Marque magazine June 2004 USA edition
'Back In The Fold' - MG Enthusiasts magazine October 2004 - John Baggott on WSM MG B
'Sixties Survivors' by Andrew Roberts - Octane magazine October 2004 edition
Forty Years On . . March 30th 2004 Leighton Buzzard Observer
Jaguar Heritage - 2004 magazine
'MGB The Racing Story' - book by John Baggott 2002
The Healey Book - Bill Emerson 2002, a complete history of the Healey marque
Specialist Sports Cars - book by Richard Heseltine Haynes 2001
Austin Healey - USA monthly magazine, John Sprinzel contributor 2001
'High Speed . .' - Manx Life magazine 2001 Rockingham Re-Union
'Life In The Fast Lane' - Manx Tails magazine 2001 Rockingham Re-Union
The Complete Encyclopedia of Sports Cars - book by Rob de la Rive Box 2001
'Mighty Midgets & Special Sprites' book by John Baggott 1998
'Wuzzum Wizard' by Jon Pressnell - Classic & Sportscar magazine February 1997
'Spritely Years' - book by Tom Coulthard & John Sprinzel 1994
British Specialist Cars - book by Chris Rees 1993
'The Art of Abingdon' - book by John McLellan 1982
'WSM' - article by F Wilson McComb in Collectors Car October 1980 edition
Specialist Sports Cars - book by Peter J Filby 1974
'Putting On The Style' - Safety Fast article January 1965
AutoNews - Northampton Independant November 1962
Douglas Wilson-Spratt In Memorium