For the 1967 Targa Florio race, (on the 14th May), the Healey works built and prepared a variation of their proven wind-tunnel alloy-bodied Sebring/Le Mans car with a slightly different front-end body design which had single headlamps, rather than double, and a wide, fixed radiator air intake instead of the adjustable flap fitted to the other race cars. Registered in the UK with the Warwick plate LWD 959E it was also given the chassis number TFR 5. Entered as No.172 for Clive Baker and Rauno Aaltonen to drive, it was fitted with 4 wheel disc brakes and alloy calipers. As Geoff Healey states in 'More Healeys': "Clive was again to suffer misfortune. Approaching a bend, he braked hard just as a local decided to run across the road. The man ended up across the windscreen and Clive hit the guard-rails, knocking the front end askew. The local police locked Clive up, mainly in case any of the locals sought revenge and later delivered him by helicopter to the pits".
In November 1967, Clive Baker took the car on a road rally, the Tour de Corsica with top navigator Mike Wood. As John Baggott says in his book "Mighty Midgets and Special Sprites" it was basically an out-and-out road race around the island. The pair were running 6th overall, when an electrical fault caused trhem to retire.
The following year, 1968 (23rd March), the now fuel-injected car was entered in the Sebring 12 Hours (No.73) for Clive Baker and Mike Garton (alongside the standard-bodied Sprite, LNX 629E). In the race they lost two hours when water was found to have got into the petrol, necessitating draining the fuel tank. Baker and Garton brought the car home in 35th place overall, but were not classified as official finishers. [A photo by George Boron on the Racing Sportscars website suggests the car was now painted a darker, presumably BRG, green].
On 19th May, 1968, in the Nurburgring 1000kms, as #44, Clive Baker and John Handley came 30th overall, and 1st in Class P1.6.
DHMC then sold the car to Jim Baker Racing who entered it for the:
Watkins Glen 6 Hours (14th July, 1968): #73 as at Sebring - its drivers were Clive Baker, Paul Richards and Jim Baker - they came 13th overall, and 2nd in class behind a Ferrari Dino.
On 2nd February, 1969 LWD took part in the Daytona 24 Hour race, #83, once again in the hands of Jim Baker, Clive Baker and Paul Richards under the team title: MacMillan Ring Free. After qualifying 63rd with no time given, they finished a remarkable 17th overall out of 29 finishers, and 2nd in class (to the Lancia Fulvia Zagoto of Maglioli and Pinto).
For Sebring on 22nd March, (1969) Jim Baker entered two of the Sprite prototypes, LWD and HAN9-R-238 which he had bought from the 'works', un-raced after the BMC link-up was broken. LWD was now repainted in orange, see photo right, #72, and was driven under the Ring Free Oils banner, by a ladies' team consisting of Janet Guthrie, Donna Mae Mims and Liane Engemann. They finished 23rd having completed 182 laps, 2 laps behind the sister car. They were joined in that race by a 3rd of the Healey prototypes, the normally aspirated DAC 952C, entered by Arthur Tuckermann for Gregg Cameron and Ralph Kemmerer (see Gregg's story in The Third Prototype).
In July that same year (1969), Jim Baker & Paul Richards drove what we believe to be this car in the Watkins Glen 6 Hours, again as #73, but it only lasted 5 laps.
As you will see in Englishman David Pratley's 1984 article TFR 5 (left), over the next ten years the car found its way to Massachusetts and was used in a number of long distance SCCA events. David bought the car in 1979 and took it home to the UK. By then in the American racing colours of white with blue stripes it was in need of complete restoration. Ready in time for the 1981 season David raced it in a number of UK events. The car was put on display in the Midland Motor Museum from 1982 on but was subsequently sold to Tazunu Kaneko of Japan. The car returned to the UK on a visit back in 2005 (?) where it was displayed among other historic racing Sprites at the Thruxton circuit.
Thruxton (?) 2005
a more recent photo
[courtesy of Joe armour]
With Clive and Rachel Baker in Japan in 2008.
See the car on YouTube: Le Mans Classic of Japan 2007:
Latest News (October 2013) from Hiroshi Takemori:
"LWD 959E - TFR5 is now owned by Shigeru Tanaka (Tokyo). In 2008, Shigeru invited Clive & Rachel Baker for a historic race event, and Clive drove the car on Motegi Raceway. This was when we held our Sprite 50th Anniversary event."
Before the start (Targa '67)
[photo: Karsten Stelk]
[photo: Karsten Stelk]>
Startline, Sebring, 1968
(Photo: Geoff Healey)
Draining water from the tank [photo: "More Healeys"]
Passing the pits - 1000kms [Photo: John Phillips]
Watkins Glen. Now with recesses for spotlamps.
[photo: Gerald Melton]
The 4th place Porsche of Frank & Trieschmann passes by. The MGB later retired. Note LWD's dented nose. [photo Gerald Melton]
Nurburgring 1000 kms
[photo: Klaus Tweddell]
Daytona: being gobbled up by the James Garner-owned Lola T70 [Photo:Louis Galanos]
Jim Baker, Clive Baker and Paul Richards
At Sebring in 1969. N.B. extra lamps on top of wings, and added side vents.
[photo: Greg Cameron]
L to R: Jane Guthrie, Donna Mae Mims & Liane Engeman (Netherlands) - Sebring '69
[photo: Karsten Stelk]
with the team's Chevron
(?) Daytona '69