CONSTRUCTORS: HWM (HERSHAM AND WALTON MOTORS)
Name: HWM (Hersham and Walton Motors)
Founded by racers George Abecassis and John Heath after the war Hersham and Walton Motors was Britain's top racing team in the early 1950s although most of the racing was done abroad.
The company first made its mark with an Alta-engined sportscar in 1948. This was known as the HW-Alta and was followed by a second car which could be raced either as a sportscar or a single-seater. This was driven to victory by Heath in the Manx Cup in 1949 and to second place at the GP de l'ACF at Comminges the same year.
For 1950 Heath and his chief mechanic Alf Francis built Formula 2 cars and Abecassis and Heath raced them for the first time in the Lavant Cup at Goodwood on Easter Monday. Both retired. Three weeks later Abecassis was joined by a young Stirling Moss - picked by the team after some strong showings in F3 races the previous year - in a French national F1 event at Montlhery. For the whole of the Spring the team went from European race to European race running various drivers in races at Roubaix, Mons and Aix-les-Bains. The first victory went to Johnny Claes at Chimay at the end of May. In Rome a few weeks later Moss made a big impression fighting for third place in the F1 race at Caracalla until a wheel fell off and in July he finished third in an F2 race at Reims and again in a non-championship F1 race at Bari. As the season progressed the team used Moss and Lance Macklin more and more while also running motorcycle racer Fergus Anderson. Moss and Macklin finished second and third at Mettet and Moss was third at Perigueux.
Heath and Francis built new cars for the 1951 season. These were smaller and lighter and more competitive. The old cars were sold to privateers and Moss and Macklin stayed on being joined by drivers of the caliber of Prince Bira and Louis Chiron. The competition was tough but Moss was second at Aix-les-Bains and third in the non-championship F1 race at Zandvoort. Macklin was second at Angouleme and third at Modena, while Harry Schell finished second at Posilippo. As the summer drew on the team was joined by Frenchman Yves Giraud-Cabantous. At the end of the season the team raced at Winfield against local opposition and finished 1-2-3 with Moss leading home Abecassis and Duncan Hamilton.
For the 1952 season Formula 2 became the World Championship and HWM had new cars again but Moss moved on and HWM took on another newcomer called Peter Collins to race alongside Macklin and Giraud-Cabantous. Abecassis and Heath drove on occasion and Hamilton, Tony Rolt and others appeared for the works team in the course of the busy season. At the International Trophy Macklin won from Rolt; at the Nurburgring Moss was second in a rare appearance for the team and at Chimay Paul Frere won the Grand Prix des Frontieres. Collins and Macklin both scored placings in minor races but it was a disappointing season and with no budget for new cars in 1953 results were not much better, despite the best efforts of Macklin, Collins, Jack Fairman, Hamilton, Frere and Giraud-Cabantous.
For 1954 there were new F1 regulations and F2 as it had been ceased to exist. HWM tried a 2.5-liter version of the Alta engine but it was not a success and left without a single-seater category in which to run HWM turned to sportscar racing. There were only minor successes in the years that followed and in 1956 Heath was killed in an accident on the Mille Miglia. Abecassis gave up racing to concentrate on running the business but by the end of the 1950s HWM had faded from the racing scene.