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Dedicated to the memory of the late Brian Archer who fulfilled his dream to re-create John Sprinzel's Sebring Sprite Coupé

Stephen Bowen

Stephen Bowen who has owned WJB since 1966.

Former owner/driver, the late Ian Walker below:

Ian walker Obit

 

Pat Moss-Corsica
Pat Moss - Tour of Corsica
Ian Walker
Ian Walker - Crystal Palace May 1961
6 Hour Relay
Silverstone 750MC
6 Hour Relay Race
Relay

Race

Pit crew at work

Advert

Repainting
1968 repaint Day-Glow Green
Rallycross
Stephen rallycrossing
Rallycross

WJB For Sale
Briefly - he thought of selling
wjb article
From Classic & Sportscar Sept, 1990 this letter from Ian Walker about the car - kindly sent in by John Poulter.

WJB 707 ~ Ian Walker's Sebring

Campaigned very successfully by Ian Walker in the 1961 season, this car was then sold into private hands and was later bought by Stephen Bowen in 1966 and he still owns it to this day. The alloy hardtop was loaned to Brian Archer so that he and his team could take a mould for the replica top later marketed by Archers Garage, since which time WJB has been fully restored. The bodyshell was renovated by Brian Wheeler and repainted in original metallic gun-metal grey. A lightweight replacement Sebring bonnet was supplied by Archers Garage. Stephen also built a replica Sebring Coupé which he used for historic rallying (since sold).

According to a letter which Ian Walker wrote to Stephen back in 1967, (see attached PDF) the car was originally purchased from the BMC Competition Department, having been driven by Pat Moss in several continental rallies in standard Frogeye form.  Ian had the original outer body panels removed and a complete new alloy rear end and fixed hardtop made by Williams & Pritchard. The base platform was lightened and the floors replaced in aluminium. Minor modifications were made to the front and rear suspension - the car already had the Girling disc brake/wire wheel conversion. Ian had the car for just the one season, 1961, and is said to have achieved class records at all the circuits at which it appeared. In the letter Walker also claims to have won 15 races in it. The car was also one of the winning team of Sebring Sprites in the 750MC Six Hour Relay Race at Silverstone that year. [Please note that in his letter Ian Walker refers to his drive in the Nurburgring 500kms - this was not in fact in WJB but in the almost identical D20 which he shared with Paul Hawkins. It would appear that WJB had already been sold as the end of the racing season drew near.]

When Ian Walker sold the car - John Sprinzel explains: "Ian and I delivered it to the new owner​, and he crashed it badly at a Brands Hatch open day  - on the first go around Paddock I believe.  Rob Walker's garage did the rebuild".

In August 1966, a previous owner, Alastair McHardy entered WJB in two races at the last race meeting to take place at Goodwood, before it closed its doors to racing for over 30 years. It was driven in two separate races, the special GT race in which it was driven by his friend Adrian (?) and he himself drove it in the marque race later the same day.

Stephen Bowen purchased the car from Alastair McHardy in Southsea, and re-painted it in navy blue, fitting an 1100cc rally engine from his previous (wrecked) Sprite coupled to the car's close-ratio gearbox, (as WJB came with no motor in it). Stephen then worked for tuning firm Nerus and later for Weslake. He initially used it as his everyday road car but soon began entering rallies, rallycross events and sprints. In 1968 he again re-painted it, this time in Dayglow Lime Green (see right) with a pink stripe, and continued to campaign it himself until the following year when his friend Roger Bird shared the driving and the costs. At the end of 1969 Stephen took the car off the road and dismantled it with the intention of rebuilding it, but he was sent to work in Germany by Weslake so the work was shelved. Many years later, in 1987, he decided to have the car restored and left it with Brian Wheeler where it remained until 2007 when Brian began restoring the shell and repainted it in its current gun-metal grey. It then appeared at the Sprite 50th celebrations in May 2008, without engine or gearbox but by the following year it was completed and in full running order.

Race Results for 1960 and 1961

Date Event Drivers Result
Nov 1960 Tour of Corsica Pat Moss/Ann Wisdom Retired - gearbox. White, standard bodywork
25 Mar 1961 Snetterton (INT) Lombank Trophy Ian Walker  2nd in class
15 Apr 1961 Oulton Park International Ian Walker 1st in class and lap record
22 May 1961 Crystal Palace Whit Monday Ian Walker 1st in class and lap record
3 Jun 1961 BRSCC Brands Hatch Int Ian Walker 1st in class, 6th overall, and lap record
8 Jul 1961 Silverstone BRDC (INT) Brit Emp Trophy Ian Walker 1st in class (1100cc) and class lap record
15 Jul 1961 Aintree RAC (INT) Brit GP meeting Vic Preston 2nd in class
7 Aug 1961 Brands Hatch BRSCC (INT) Bank Hol Mtg Ian Walker 2nd in class
12 Aug 1961 Silverstone 750MC 6 hr Relay Race Ian Walker Team Sebring win
31 Aug 1961 Brands Hatch BRSCC Bank Hol Guards mtg Ian Walker 1st in class
Ian Walker Letter

 

The Restoration

Bare chassis

bare chassis

bare chassis
boot area
Despite lying out in the open for many years the shell was in remarkably good condition, but needed some new panels.
paint-shop
rear end
interior
door panel
The car was restored in Wheeler & Davies's workshops and re-sprayed in its original gun-metal grey.
front suspension
build-up
front end
front end
WJB side view
WJB side view
engine bay
Window
engine bay
WJB
Rossmalen Show
Antwerp Show
Above: the car is nearly ready for the road.
Rossmalen Show in Belgium
- and at the Antwerp Show
with replica F
Rears
Cockpit
engine
The restoration completed WJB shares her stable with Stephen's rally Sebring replica.

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2017

A new article about WJB 707 appears in 'Octane' magazine for August 2017 (see PDF)

This lovely little period racing car is currently (July 2017) being offered for sale by CCK Historic. To go historic racing it would need the addition of modern safety features like a roll cage, seats and belts and one would need to extract more power from the motor. An application would then need to be made for the requisite FIA HTPapers for which it should certainly be eligible.