George Abecassis

21/3/1913 - 18/12/1991

Record updated 21-Mar-23

Abecassis began racing in 1935 and enjoyed some success before WWII driving an Alta. After the war he joined up with John Heath at Hersham and Walton Motors in Surrey. He raced one of their HMW cars in the Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten in 1951 and 1952. He won his class at Le Mans with Lance Macklin in 1950.

George Abecassis
Born in Chertsey, Surrey, Abecassis began racing in 1935 in a modified Austin Seven but really made a name for himself when he switched to driving one of Geoffrey Taylor's improved voiturette Altas. It was a genuine single-seater with all-independent suspension and in club racing during 1938 and 1939, Abecassis enjoyed considerable success including winning the 1939 Imperial Trophy Formula Libre race.

WWII brought a temporary end to racing and Abecassis joined the Royal Air Force. He became a member of the elite Moon Squadrons, flying Lysanders he ferried secret agents in and out of Occupied France.

After the war, when racing resumed, he earned the destinction of being the man who won the last race held in England before the war and the first to be held immediately after it.

Having raced an Alta before the war, he took delivery of the first Alta Grand Prix car in 1948, debuting it in the British Empire Trophy. The car was quick but unreliable and retired two laps in with a broken gearbox. He crashed at Bremgarten and failed to finish in either of its other two races that year. He only raced three times in 1949, finishing just once.

George was running a small engineering company at the time working on performance cars and, with the Alta proving less than successful, George went into partnership with John Heath at Hersham and Walton Motors in Surrey. HW Motors intitially built an Alta engined sports car and then a dual purpose machine that could be raced in both open wheel and sports car competitions called an HWM.

Expanding into Formula 2 in 1950 HMW gave a young Stirling Moss his first outings in Grand Prix. Abecassis drove an HMW in two Grands Prix, both in Switzerland in 1951 and 1952, but the team relied more on Moss and Lance Macklin.

Abecassis also raced sports cars for Aston Martin with some success, winning his class with Macklin at Le Mans in 1950.

He also finished second in Sebring 12 Hours in 1953, partnered by Reg Parnell.

Unfortunately Heath was killed during the Mille Miglia in 1956 and Abecassis quit racing to concentrate on running HWM. He also became the Facel Vega agant for the UK, aided in part by the fact that he was married to the daughter of the chairman of Aston Martin, Sir David Brown.