JUN 04th 2015

Williams‑Renault FW13B coming to FoS. Want to buy it?

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Bonhams’ Festival of Speed sale was one of the world’s most eagerly anticipated auctions long before it famously sold the ex-Fangio Mercedes-Benz W196 for just over £19.5 million in 2013. In just over three weeks time the famous New Bond Street firm will be bringing another former Grand Prix car to FoS

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Granted, the 1990 Williams FW13B is unlikely ever to command the kind of sum paid for the W196, but it still holds a relevant place in the history of Formula One. After all, this car was a crucial precursor in the development of the FW14 and FW14B. Quite simply, if you were going Grand Prix racing in 1992 or 1993 respectively and didn’t have one of those two cars then you were unlikely to do much winning.

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The FW13B didn’t quite have the performance advantage of its successors, although it has been opined that it was a very fast and reliable car which only needed a recognised true number one driver at the controls. Some have even gone as far as to say that the FW13B might even have been the fastest car on the grid in 1990 …

Williams FW13b

This one was used in 1990 both by Thierry Boutsen and Riccardo Patrese, who each raced it twice. The best result came after Boutsen’s efforts at Phoenix, where he came home third behind Ayrton Senna and Jean Alesi. However the car so nearly scored a famous victory in Brazil where Boutsen pushed Senna’s McLaren hard for the first 30 laps before a pit incident meant a new nose cone had to be fitted. This pushed the Belgian back down the order and eventually he finished fifth in a race he could conceivably have won. The car was then used as a spare before it raced again in the hands of Patrese at Suzuka, where he bagged fourth, then Australia where the popular Italian came home in sixth.

Williams FW13b

The car is in apparently ‘excellent aesthetic condition’ having been in the hands of Williams Heritage ever since it stopped racing, and still has its Renault V10 motor fitted, however some key ignition components are missing. According to the people at Heritage F1 the missing parts could be tricky to locate and the Renault V10 would need to be stripped and inspected, at the very least. They tell us that a popular option for those who run a former Grand Prix car as a track toy (or even race them in the BOSS GP series) is to instead fit a 4.2 litre Judd V10, which would be less-stressed than a full-on F1 unit, will still give 750bhp and which would last for around 3000 kilometres between rebuilds. This we’re told could be done for something in the region of £80,000.

So, with the car estimated to go for between £90,000 – 120,000 and a fresh, usable engine conversion costing a little less than that, it’s not inconceivable that you could have this car on-track for around £200,000. Bargain! Paint the number five red and you could almost pass for Nigel Mansell in the following year …

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