Secret Willment single-seater

| 13 Jul 2010

In 1974, the National Motor Museum staged a special exhibition, 'From Bristol to Brands Hatch', as a tribute to the F3 500cc movement, and gathered as many pioneering cars as it could.Louis Giron, then chief engineer at the museum, persuaded his friend John Willment to loan his experimental 500, which was never completed.Designed in 1954 by Hewland and Wadsworth, it had a tubular spaceframe with wishbone front suspension and de Dion rear. Giron designed the one-off, all-alloy, twin-cam 'four' with roller-bearing crank and four Dell'Orto carbs. It had been known to rev to 12,000rpm.There was a five-speed gearbox integral with the differential, plus inboard disc brakes and a full-width body with a shark-like nose, made by Charles Robinson.After the exhibition the 500 returned to Willment and was sold to a collector in the Midlands many years later. Giron's son recently heard of the car's whereabouts and managed to buy it. Its condition is little altered since 1974: the chassis, body, engine and 'box are separate, plus a number of pieces are missing.Giron plans to restore the Willment and has been aided in his research by Roger Bowman, who was an apprentice on the project, and the 500 Owners' Association. He would love to know more: e-mail