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

sidebar image

Jackson & McManus cut the birthday cake

WSM 50

Saturday, 29th September, 2012

The Celebration of 50 years of WSM cars took place at Roothams Farm, Colmworth in Bedfordshire on Saturday last. On a bright sunny morning, a good crowd of WSM enthusiasts past and present gathered at Paul and Sharon Woolmer's premises to celebrate 50 years since Douglas Wilson-Spratt completed his first WSM Sprite.

The proceedings were started by Tony Wilson-Spratt welcoming those former members of the original Delta Garages of Leighton Buzzard WSM team and the throng in general who gathered around the marquee in which the 3 recently-built WSM Sanction II cars sat beneath their fitted covers. He told of his meeting back in 1995 with Paul Woolmer and of the friendship which built up between them leading to the idea, forged in 2001, of building more of Douglas's babies. It took them 7 years to get the project off the ground but finally the results are worth seeing. Tony mentioned the long search for the original cars many of which were present including the WSM 3000, with only the Jaguar Estate and the car based on the BMC 1100 not in evidence.

Tony then handed over to Paul who organised the unveiling of the 3 new cars, firstly Ian Hulett's race car which is gradually proving itself on the tracks, then Lorraine Noble-Thompson's silver grey road car just completed, and finally the burgundy example for American Bill Emerson, all of them with gleaming paintwork in the sunshine.

Next came the cutting of the birthday cake baked by Paul's wife Sharon, complete with an image of DWS 97 in Douglas's favourite Chiron blue. Former members of the original WSM crew Peter Jackson and Jim McManus (the "M" in WSM) did the honours to murmurs of 'We hope you will both be very happy!'

Finally, came a very enjoyable lunch all spread out on the dining table of the farmhouse. I wandered around the display workshops chatting to people like Gary Lazarus, Paul Webb, Jack Wheeler and David Scothorn and saw Barry Sidery-Smith and Rae Davis among many other noteables. PMO200, the Super Sprite, a recently restored pair of Swallow Dorettis, a couple of Healey 100s and David Markham's little A35 pick-up added to the display. Healey Club Competition secretary, Joe Cox had brought his Austin-Healey 4000, and Mick Darcey his other 100S.

Tony tells me there was "a dinner for 50 at The Plough in Bolnhurst that evening, where Barry 'Whizzo' Williams also joined us, and further presentations were made as thank-you mementoes to those who had brought WSMs to display. I also presented Jim with a framed picture of two shots, himself with Dad at the Rockingham re-union in 2001, and with Dad in 1963 alongside WSM201 at Swiss Cottage with Joel Nelson, which we had not seen as Joel went back to the USA after ordering WSM207". 

WSM50 - 2
The WSM line-up
WSM 3000
WSM50 -4
View from the workshop
PMO & Super Sprite
Rae Davis's WSM arrives
Jackson & Rooke with Tony
Tony in full flow!
The assembled throng
Paul's turn now
Sanction IIs on display
Lorraine's silver car
Bill Emerson's red one
Luxurious interior
Fancy plate
A rear view
Alexander GT & 7080 AC
Paul Webb & Gary Lazarus
Alexander cross-flow
Wheeler, Philips & Emerson
Paul & others
Super Sprite again
Historic cars together
More in the line
Roger Byford's replica
Paul Webb's Thin Disc
Mark Parrott & Climax Sprite
WSM 3000 awaits resto