After the ’39 – ’45 war Hersham and Walton Motors (HWM) was operate by partners George Abecassis and John Heath. For the 1948 season John, a self taught engineer, built an Alta powered Special called an HW Alta which they both raced with some success.
The following season an open wheel HW Alta was built and encouraged by it’s success they built the first four HWM cars for the 1950 season, three works cars and one for a privateer, which could run in open wheel or closed wheel form.
20 year old Stirling Moss was given his first break, beyond 500cc Formula 3, by the team and scored two third place finishes at Reims and Bari despite a lack of reliability and power from the Alta motors.
One of the original works cars retains it’s an Alta motor to this day, another became the first HWM Jaguar and the third went to Hollywood and became the Stovebolt Special.
With the profits from selling their cars at the end of 1950 the team built new open wheel Formula Two cars for the 1951 and ’52 seasons but there competitiveness dwindled against the likes of Ferrari.
In 1953 HWM built another sports car now powered by a Jaguar motor with which George won a race at Snetterton. HWM focused on building and running Jaguar powered cars until 1956 when John Heath died from injuries sustained after an accident in the rain on the Mille Miglia.
Thereafter George decided to focus on running the trading side of HWM which had become an Aston Martin dealer in 1951 and has remained so to this day to become the oldest Aston Martin dealership in the world.
The final HWM is today’s featured Jaguar powered HWM GT Coupé built, with unique bodywork the design of which is credited to Aston Martin’s Frank Feeley, as a road car which show’s how HWM might have progressed but for the unfortunate turn of events on the Mille Miglia.
Thanks for joining me on this “Unique GT Coupé” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psychoontyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Formula One BRM. Don’t forget to come back now !