HWM was a famous racing name in the fifties; a British privateer operation, headed up by George Abecassis and John Heath. Following success in single seater formulas, HWM became the first proper marque to create a Jaguar-engined sports racing car. From 1953 to 1957, the team was involved in sports car racing both in Britain and on the continent, sometimes beating their Jaguar and Aston Martin Works competitors.
Paul Skilleter mentions XPA 748 in his book, Jaguar Sports Cars as being one of just three that were built in the early summer of 1953. The other cars in this small family were HWM1, and VPA9. Robert Edwards, the well known Jaguar author, comments on this first group of HMW sports cars, ‘It was the first of a trickle of cars which came out of the Walton works over the next few years and they were extraordinarily successful…but then that is the nature of the improvised British special’. Of this batch of three, VPA9 won at Crystal Palace in August 1953, in the very capable hands of Tony Gaze and also competed in the Tourist Trophy. Peter Collins also used one of these three cars at the Aintree Gold Cup, where he took the lap record.
XPA 748 was originally sold to a Mr. Geoff Mansell of Birmingham but was quickly repatriated by the HWM factory so that it could form part of the works team in 1953. In 1954, it reappeared back in the hands of Geoff Mansell who competed with it at the Prescott Hill Climb. There is a wonderful period photograph of Phil Scragg and Peter Collins leaning on the HWM in the Orchard at Prescott in the accompanying history file. In 1956, ownership transferred to a Mr. Bob Bodle.
With a beautifully complete set of owners including Lord Lifford and Sir Jeremy Boles, XPA 748 moved to a French collection in 1971, returning to the UK in the late eighties. The current owners purchased the HWM in 1998 and have extensively raced it in the premier historic racing scene since. XPA 748 has previously won the Gentleman Drivers’ Trophy run by Historic Motor Racing News, has raced in the BRDC’s 1950s Sports Car Series, at Phoenix Park in Ireland and, in 2001, was first in class at the Trofeo Baleares Classico.
Mechanically restored and overhauled in 2007, XPA 748 is a regular front-running car at the Goodwood Revival, achieving a podium in this year’s Freddie March Trophy race. This Mille Miglia eligible sports racing car is offered complete with HTP papers and provides a front-running entry at all of the prestigious historic motoring events.