The Wilks Special
The letter and photograph from your correspondent, Malcolm Hearne, interests me greatly, and also reminds me that during one of my visits to my old friend, the late Olaf Poppe, (youngest son of old Peter August) to his house in Kenilworth I was shown what could have been the embryo of Mr. Hearne’s mystery car, then under construction. I also knew Peter Wilks and Spencer King and it occurs to me that this could have been a co-operative effort.
The visit I recall was in May 1949. P. W. and S. K. worked very closely together on the turbine car, and Olaf was Rover’s Chief Planning Engineer. He re-occupied his Kenilworth home on his return from Barnoldswick, where he was Works Manager of the Rover-Whittle Gas Turbine Aero Engine Factory, up to the period’ when Rolls-Royce took over from Rover in exchange for the “Meteor” tank engine.
I do not know what finally happened to Poppe’s car, but it was certainly of the sports racing type.
Incidentally the late Bob Spikins also displayed to me his “Chromard Racer” at Laystall’s shortly before his sad death while on a test run in Belgium.
Someone from Rover will no doubt supply the answer in respect of Peter Wilks “one-off.”
Shepperton V. N. L. BUTLER
B.Eng., A.R.Ae.S., T.Eng.(C.F.I.) (Retired)