Silver plated, one handled trophy cup, 'Wilber Watson Record Holder' 1959-1960, won by 'Wilbur' Watson in his EAW Special racing car
This trophy was won by Ernest (Wilbur) Arthur Watson in 1959 in his racing car. Watson's vehicle is a light, compact, one-off, handbuilt, Australian racing car with a motorcycle engine. It is known as an EAW Special and was designed and built by Ernest Arthur Watson. Its name is derived from Watson's initials. Construction was undertaken in small, rented garages in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney between 1949 and 1957. He was determined to build his own 500cc racing car but had little money to spend on it so sourced the pieces from wreckers' yards and war surplus suppliers. The racing car was constructed from a variety of adapted components from an assortment of vehicles including automobiles, motorcycles, aircraft, bicycles and even a soup tin. In 1958 the motoring journalist Pedr Davis referred to Wilbur's EAW Special as "one of the most attractively built and ingeniously thought out vehicles competing in Australia". Despite its eclectic construction the EAW Special went on to win numerous trophies for hill climbs at Silverdale, NSW, and other sprint events throughout the late 1950s and early 60s which were presented to the Museum by Wilbur Watson with the car in 1983.
The trophy relates to the EAW Special and is an excellent addition to the history and use of the racing car. It typifies the immediate post-War racing cars designed and made in Australia at a time when almost anyone mechanically minded with an ordinary set of tools could produce and race a home-made racing car. In the 1950s, when new cars were too expensive and used cars too slow and unreliable, building homemade road and racing cars was a popular pastime in Australia. The availability of fibreglass bodies made these cars look professional. Motor racing circuits opened at Warwick Farm racecourse in Sydney in 1960 and at Sandown Park racecourse near Melbourne in 1962 providing road racing type facilities where spectators could see the whole circuit and public roads did not need to be closed.
Davis, Pedr, 'Wilbur's Wonder Wagon' in "Sports Car World", January 1958, pp. 12-15, 61
Davis, Pedr, 'They Build 'Em at Home Â?' in "Man", June, 1958.
Simpson, Margaret, "On the Move; a history of transport in Australia", Powerhouse Publishing, Sydney, 2005.
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