The HWM racing cars were built by Hersham and Walton Motors Ltd, a business founded in 1945 by two irrepressible motoring enthusiasts, George Abecassis and John Heath. Before the War they had been running separate businesses selling and servicing motorcars. During the War they both spent time as flying officers but as soon as they were demobbed pooled their resources and bought a redundant building from Vickers-Armstrong in New Zealand Avenue, Walton on Thames.
The business proved to be successful and the two partners were able to involve themselves in single seater racing which they did until 1951 when they decided to concentrate on sports car racing. With engines supplied by Jaguar a small number of cars were produced and developed.
On the race track the privateer garagistes and their customers were mixing it with the Works teams from Jaguar, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Maserati and not without success ‘boxing above their weight’ to many victories and podiums.
XPA 748 was the second sports car built and it was completed in 1953. The car utilised a parallel twin tube chassis with coil spring and wishbones to the front and leaf springs and live axle to the rear. It was fitted with a 3.4 litre Jaguar motor on Webber Carburettors and a four speed Moss gearbox.
XPA was retained by HWM until it was sold to Geoff Mansell of Birmingham in 1954 who used the car for competition notably captured by photographers at Prescott and Shelsley in 1954 and 1955. There is a wonderful period picture of the car in the Orchard Paddock at Prescott with Peter Collins and Phil Scragg using it as a makeshift bench whilst passing the time of day.
By 1956 the car has been sold to Bob Bodle. Other owners include Lord Lifford and Sir Jeremy Boles. By 1966 the car has been acquired by Tony Statham who campaigned the car vigorously until 1970 when it was bought by Paul Craigan. In 1979 it was sold to prominent French collector Philippe Renauld who held it until 1988. In 1991 the car re-appears in the UK in the hands of the well-known enthusiast, Mike Lester. He was an active racer and campaigned the car at many international meetings including the Grand Prix De L’Age D’’Or at Montlhery and appearances at the Historic Monaco Grand Prix. In 1998 the XPA appeared in a Coys advert described thus: “During the last two years the car has been subject to a meticulous and exacting restoration and has been tuned and developed using the most up-to-date techniques and equipment available and is, most likely, one of the best prepared 1950s sports racing cars in the world today”.
Richard Wills bought XPA then sold a half share to his friend, Dr. Michael (Spike) Milligan. Competition appearances followed almost immediately with a 7th position in the 1999 Freddie March Memorial Trophy at the Goodwood Revival followed by winning the Gentleman Drivers Trophy in 2000 and a Class Win in the Trofeo Baleares Classico in 2001.
A wealth of competition ensued but in more recent history at the 2015 Goodwood Revival XPA was qualified on the front row of the grid in the Freddie March Memorial Trophy with a lap time of 1.33.22 ahead of numerous C Types, DB3S Aston Martins, Maseratis and Frazer Nashes.
XPA 748 is a rare and highly eligible Fifties Sports Racer that has been race prepared by Brazell Engineering and accordingly is in exceptional condition and with formidable performance. It is eligible for the most prestigious competitive events including the Mille Miglia, Monaco and Goodwood. In addition the car is road registered and eminently usable for endurance events and will prove irresistible for an early morning blast on a summer’s day.