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1954 HWM Jaguar VPA 8

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

MBL have recently completed a reline of a set of brake shoes for a 1954 HWM Jaguar, VPA 8. The shoes were relined in a Mintex competition material ready for the next event.

Here is brief history of the car;

In 1952, Tony Gaze, the highly decorated Australian Second World War fighter pilot, used an HWM single- seater to become the first Australian to compete in the Formula 1 World Championship. Impressed then by the Jaguar-powered sports racing car that had been built for HWM (Hersham and Walton Motors) partner George Abecassis, he ordered one for himself. This second HWM-Jaguar, in common with the Abecassis prototype, harnessed a C-type 3442cc Jaguar engine and gearbox to a strong twin-tube frame and was clothed in a simple aluminium shell. The suspension used wishbones and coils at the front, and torsion bars and De Dion tube at the rear.

Gaze’s first race with his new acquisition was at the 1954 Reims Twelve Hours; he and his co-driver, Graham Whitehead, finished a fine seventh behind the works’ Jaguars and Cunninghams. He then raced it until the end of the 1955 season after which time he took it “Down-Under”, scoring wins in New Zealand and Australia. Subsequently he sold it to fellow countryman Lex Davidson. Unfortunately, during the following year, it was badly crashed on the road by Davidson’s mechanic. And for almost 40 years, the wreck languished- as successive owners tried and failed to rebuild it.

Finally, Julian Phillips of Perth instigated a magnificent rebuild which took six years and was completed in 1996. And twenty years ago, it returned to the United Kingdom, the country of its birth, and started a new life as a highly competitive car in historic racing.

After, it had won a lot of races and had put on a great show in the hands of successive owners: Julian Bronson, Mac Hulbert, Michael Steele and Roger Buxton, the car was brought for a seven-figure sum by Sussex racer and collector Martin Hunt in 2016. Prepared by Blakeney Motorsport Ltd, it is now as fast as at anytime in its 65-years life (so far) and its successes have included the winning of the Freddie March Trophy at the 2018 Goodwood Revival meeting.

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