Ride along with Steve Walker in the Willis Wonder!
You may remember Steve Walker’s Willis Wonder BMW racer, based on a pre-war Frazer-Nash BMW and raced mostly in British events after the war. The car, and Walker’s acquisition of it, was our cover story in August 2013—just in time for Legends Of The Autobahn, our German-marque concours in Monterey.
The Willis Wonder was a big hit at that concours, and this year it may be joined by more of Walker’s racing stable. But no race car is built for sitting around on the lawn; Walker’s primary purpose was running the car the way its creator intended, racing it in events up and down the West Coast. His most recent outing was this race at Sears Point, or whatever they’re calling the Sonoma track these days.
Maybe it’s just me, but I had more fun watching this video than any other since a Hans Stuck qualifying lap at the Nürburgring. And it reminds me why, when you’re racing, the duel is between you and whoever’s close to you; if a race were only about the overall winners, why would more than two or three drivers show up?
The Willis Wonder takes us back to the days when, as they say, the tires were skinny and the drivers were fat. And Steve Walker takes us there for a terrific ride-along. I’m grateful—and I promise I’ll get back to work here in a minute, boss.—Satch Carlson