Tom Wheatcroft

Fredrick Bernard 'Tom' Wheatcroft was the second 'larger than life' character to own Gollywog and it wasn't the only interest he had in common with Jumbo( John) Goddard

From a young age-15 to be precise- Tom used to cycle from Leicester to Donnington to watch pre- war motor racing. He was totally enthralled by the noise, smell & speed of racing.Tom held on to these memories whilest rapidly building a very successful construction business.

Having made his fortune, and having started to build his car collection, Wheatcroft further indulged his racing passion by running his own racing car team. In 1970 he purchased an ex-works Brabham BT26 and entered Derek Bell for the Tasman Series' 1970 New Zealand Grand Prix. Bell finished second. Following that initial success, later that year he invested in a new a Brabham BT30 to run for Bell in the European Formula Two Championship. Bell again finished second. 

Tom supported many successful drivers  and then  in 1972 decided to rebuild the Donnington Park circuit which had fallen into disrepair since being used as a supply depot in World War 2. At his own cost he rebuilt the circuit over the following 6 years. One of his first moves was to move his car collection to the estate, the largest collection of motor racing cars in the world, now known as The Donnington Grand Prix Exhibition. Racing finally returned to Donnington circuit in 1977.

Toms son, Kevin, followed in his fathers footsteps with his love of vehicles by amassing a vast collection of military vehicles and opened The Wheatcroft collection in Leicester.

 

Rumour is that Tom acquired the boat as payment of a debt accrued by Goddard for looking after his cars. It was shipped over from Sydney in a crate on the deck of a ship.

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© Elliott Hopkins