The Ex-works, Lance Macklin, Tony Gaze,1952-53 HWM Formula 2-Based Supercharged ‘Tasman’ Racing Single-Seater  Chassis no. 52/107 Engine no. GP3
Lot 328
The Ex-works, Lance Macklin, Tony Gaze, 1952-53 HWM Formula 2-Based Supercharged ‘Tasman’ Racing Single-Seater
Chassis no. 52/107 Engine no. GP3
Sold for £158,300 (US$ 262,499) inc. premium
Lot Details
The Ex-works, Lance Macklin, Tony Gaze
1952-53 HWM Formula 2-Based Supercharged ‘Tasman’ Racing Single-Seater
Chassis no. 52/107
Engine no. GP3


  • Here we are delighted to be able to offer this supercharged Alta-engined HWM single-seater as an iconic survivor from this charismatic specialist British manufacturer. Hersham& Walton Motors (HWM) came to prominence immediately postwar. Based in New Zealand Avenue, Walton, where the business still thrives today – not least as a leading Aston Martin dealership – the company was a partnership between two great motor racing enthusiasts – driver George Abecassis and engineer John Heath. The former had made his name with a single-seat Alta pre-war, and when motor racing resumed after 1945 both Abecassis and Heath campaigned a variety of Alta single-seat and sports-racing cars. John Heath developed Alta-based sports-prototype cars in 1948-49 and since George Abecassis had been campaigning his postwar GP Alta internationally – with some success – the pair laid plans to build a team of dual-purpose Formula 2/sports-racing cars to campaign both at home and abroad in 1950.

    The duo were quick to spot the emerging talents of young racing drivers, including Stirling Moss, Lance Macklin and later Peter Collins. In 1950 the new HWM works team of three, sometimes four, HWM-Alta 'F2' cars – with their distinctive offset-seat configuration – were entered in a hectic programme of motor racing throughout Europe, in the UK and in Eire. The team was well organised, and its cars competitive with all but the best Continental factory machines. HWM's mechanics, including such now prominent names as Alf Francis and Rex Woodgate, were incredibly capable, committed and entirely dedicated to putting their team cars on the starting grids with the best possible chance of success. Working horrendous hours, transporting their cars from race to race in epic journeys overcoming all odds, these unsung heroes helped the likes of Moss and Macklin to build their burgeoning racing careers.

    That most critical of motor racing experts, Denis Jenkinson of 'Motor Sport' magazine, would later declare that " an era when the initials BRM – despite all its big industry funding – became a laughing stock, those of HWM became a hallowed name". HWM always fulfilled its entries, always placed its cars on the starting grids, and nearly always produced a decent result. Start, prize and trade-bonus money (for worthwhile results) from one weekend's racing would finance the next. The team lived hand-to-mouth, and under John Heath's common-sense and pragmatic technical direction HWM built a fleet of true Formula 2 single-seater team cars for 1951, followed by developed variants into 1952-53. In face of Ferrari and Maserati opposition, plus that from the better-funded British Connaught syndicate and the lighter, simpler Cooper-Bristols, HWM results deteriorated as time passed. But in 1952 Lance Macklin and Tony Rolt drove their HWMs home first and second in the important BRDC International Trophy race at Silverstone.

    Lance Macklin, media-mentioned as the 'playboy' son of Sir Noel Macklin of pre-war Invicta sports cars and wartime Fairmile MTB/MGB programme fame, was the most stylish and glamorous British racing driver of that period, and team-mate Stirling Moss credits him with having taught the new boy "an enormous amount, not just about racing, but also about how to enjoy life in general...".

    This well-presented late-series HWM, built originally in 1952 with unsupercharged 2-litre 4-cylinder Alta engine for Formula 2 racing, was later re-equipped with its present supercharged GP Alta power unit specifically for what would become known as free-Formula 'Tasman' racing in New Zealand, 1954. Contemporary team driver Tony Gaze – the wealthy Australian ex-RAF fighter pilot who had previously prompted creation of the Goodwood Motor Circuit – took the car 'down under' both to race it in the New Zealand Grand Prix, and to find a buyer upon HW Motors' behalf. He recalls the car as having been Macklin's 1952-53 mount and, indeed, the photographic record – since no HWM team records were either kept or survive – supports this proposition.

    Amongst the extensive documentation offered with this car today are most illuminating hand-written letters from a former owner. In part they read:

    "HWM had to be wellorganised to contest so many events across Europe - Lance Macklin was relaxed about which car he drove – too relaxed according to George Abecassis. Each of the drivers had specific and often very different requirements; tyre pressures, final-drive ratios, seat position (these were bolted-down – not adjustable), even steering wheels, etc. Macklin retained the pre-selector gearbox for the early part of '53 as opposed to the 'C' Type Moss box adopted on the other cars. There is evidence of this on chassis '52/107' not seen on '52/112' the sister car. Macklin also had his logo 'LM'..." – the letters superimposed – "...painted on the side of his car at some time in 1953. Finally the mechanics recorded plug types, pressures and gearing race by race for future use... Heath and Abecassis only appeared briefly for practice/racing and returned to the UK without corporate records. Our car is lucky to have the mechanics' notes, scribbled in hand in a school note book.Finally, the car is recorded as Macklin's car in several books and this was confirmed to me personally by Tony Gaze during his stay with us in 1998.

    "Why did George send the Macklin car with Gaze to New Zealand – simple expediency. He had..."(Alta) "...'GP3' in the workshop. The engine was a potential winner with Gaze in an F2 chassis. The 'GP3' chassis with a Jaguar engine was also saleable. Enough money to pay for 2 uprated F1 engines. Macklin was moving to sports cars and George was frustrated with him – time to move on!

    "There are distinct and major differences between the postwar Alta GPengine and the Formula II engine.

    "The GP engine is dry-sump with the crankcase going right down to the bottom of the engine with virtually a flat plate bolted to the base.

    "The Formula II engine is wet sump with the crankcase split in half along the centerline of the main bearings. There is a deep pan beneath the engine.

    "The GP engine has a different crankshaft, extended at the front to drive the blowers. The ancillary drives for magneto(s) and oil pump(s) are completely different.

    "The engine in the HWM is clearly a GP dry-sump engine. The crankcase is marked 'GP3' in two places which is compatible with Joe Kelly's 'GP3' as are the two blowers which were unique to 'GP3'. We are confident that the whole unit came from 'GP3'. This is very much in line with HWM policy in 1953. The writing was on the wall for the single-seaters. The 2½ (litre) Climax (V8) engine was not forthcoming and Geoffrey Taylor (of Alta) had contracted exclusively with Connaught for his 2½-litre. The name of the game was sports cars and HWM were making money out of converting both HWM and Alta single-seaters into sports cars powered by Jaguar engines, with whom (sic) they had a special relationship.

    "Accordingly, a Jaguar engine was fitted to 'GP3' and a sports body built which made the GP engine spare on the workshop floor! HWM never let anything go to waste. As a 'blown' engine it was ideal for the Tasman series fitted into the modern HWM chassis. It was a potential winner and as such saleable. When George writes about 'the two-stage supercharger unit' I am confident he is referring to the whole unit as being the combined blowers, engine & accessories. The engine was upgraded by Taylor to 2-litres of the same bore & stroke as the FII units to improve reliability and power at the same time maximizing commonality of parts i.e. bearings, pistons etc. A new crankshaft was required and ordered from Laystall. Tony Gaze did a good job with the car and sold it on behalf of HWM to Sybil Lupp for John Horton to drive."

    In New Zealand in January/February 1954, Tony Gaze drove this car to finish third in the New Zealand Grand Prix at Ardmore aerodrome outside Auckland, North Island, before trailing the car to Christchurch, South Island, for the Lady Wigram Trophy event –in which he finished second.

    In John Horton's hands the car then took two second places – setting fastest lap both times –at Mairehau and then the NZ Championship Road Race at Dunedin. In the 1955 NZ GP back at Ardmore, Horton struck trouble and was classified only 15th.

    It seems that the HWM did not reappear in New Zealand racing until 1956, when Horton placed tenth at Dunedin, second again at Mairehau and Ryall Bush. The car then passed to Tom Clark who began his career with the car by setting FTD in a hill-climb at Whangarei before – that October – notching a good second place at Levin. He then shipped the car to Australia for the Australian GP in Albert Park, Melbourne – finishing 11th following various delays, having run strongly early on in a world class field. Ninth place followed in the 1957 NZ GP.

    In the later years of its active New Zealand life, it was driven by both Jim Boyd and Tom Clark before in 1958 being campaigned by Johnny Buza at Dunedin and Teretonga. Jim Boyd – more famous for his Lycoming Special – campaigned the HWM in 1960-61, and in 1962 it was driven by Lindsay Gough to win a beach race at New Brighton... J.G. Alexander also appeared in the car while Lindsay Gough raced it into 1963. By 1980 the car had been acquired by Russell Duell in New Zealand and we understand that it passed to Colin Giltrap in 1989. The car has been in its current British ownership since 1997.

    Also included within the documentation file accompanying '52/107' hereis a letter on HW Motors-headed paper from George Abecassis, reading in part: "I have often wondered what happened to the supercharged HWM which we sent to New Zealand, because it was undoubtedly the most exciting and fastest HWM that we ever made."

    He continued: "It was one of the 1952 two-litre team cars and we fitted it with a two-stage supercharger unit especially for the Tasman series of races, and we lent it to Tony Gaze on the condition that he sold it for us in New Zealand, which he succeeded in doing". He concluded: "If ever you should get tired of the car, I would always be pleased to buy it back from you! I think it was the best car we ever made...".

    Numerous paid invoices are on file for some £100,000 invested in the car's mechanical preparation and restoration within its present ownership, including a full engine rebuild by LMB, since when it has been run in only a couple of events. This is a most noble and supremely evocative old warrior; a very-British racing car from an honoured and pioneering marque – since HWM was the first great postwar predecessor of modern Formula 1's specialist independent racing teams.

Saleroom notices

  • Since publication of the catalogue we have been contacted by this cars original driver, World War Two fighter pilot and one of the inspirations for the Goodwood Motor Circuit Tony Gaze. Now 93 years old he remembers the car with great fondness and is still adamant that he would have won the 1954 New Zealand Grand Prix with it, if it had not been for problems obtaining the correct fuel for the car.
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