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Thread: Ralph Watson Exhibit at Wanaka

  1. #1

    Ralph Watson Exhibit at Wanaka

    A replica of the late Ralph Watson’s workshop, together with his absolutely self deigned rotary aero engine, which was completely built from raw materials, has been very well displayed at warbirds and Wheels Museum in Wanaka for the past five years. Unfortunately ownership, of these artefacts was divided, as is detailed in the book “Ralph Watson Special Engineer Supplementary Edition. The rotary engine, lathe and all items displayed, have now been logically gifted absolutely to Ralph Smith, who lives not far away from Wanaka in Cromwell.

    As is well known and appreciated, Ralph Smith restored and has owned the Lycoming Special for many years and has taken it worldwide in order to compete in classic events. When it is not being driven at suitable events, Ralph often displays the Lycoming at at Warbirds and Wheels alongside the Watson exhibits, thus presenting a very complete picture as is illustrated here. Thankfully the aero engine and exhibits could not be in better hands.

    Ralph Smith lives in not far from Wanaka and will be able to keep a personal eye on the exhibits. He hopes to demonstrate the rotary engine when suitable opportunities arise, e.g. at the regular Wanaka aeronautical displays. His son is also an active avid enthusiast, so that ongoing preservation of the artefacts in the long term can be foreseen.
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  2. #2
    Brilliant news, proper recognition at last.
    Well done to all involved, Trevor, Ralph, Alan Woolf and many others.

  3. #3
    Semi-Pro Racer Spgeti's Avatar
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    Fantastic news and well done to those involved.

  4. #4
    World Champion Roger Dowding's Avatar
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    Excellent News Indeed, Trevor and as mentioned thanks to you, Ralph Smith and my Old neighbour Allan Woolf.

    Now we await progress -with some other of Ralph's [ the late Ralph Watson ] collection and memorabilia.

  5. #5
    Good to see this will be seen by the public for a long while yet. so much of NZs early racing history has been lost or misplaced over the years.I am proud to have the original 'Boot' panel from the Lycoming displayed on the wall in my dining room in Waimate since I acquired it from Ralph Smiths son Sam a few years ago as it makes a perfect addition to my extensive early motor racing book collection. I made a display board to mount it to and it certainly makes a cool talking point.Name:  IMG_20190917_180758.jpg
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod1 View Post
    Good to see this will be seen by the public for a long while yet. so much of NZs early racing history has been lost or misplaced over the years.I am proud to have the original 'Boot' panel from the Lycoming displayed on the wall in my dining room in Waimate since I acquired it from Ralph Smiths son Sam a few years ago as it makes a perfect addition to my extensive early motor racing book collection. I made a display board to mount it to and it certainly makes a cool talking point.Name:  IMG_20190917_180758.jpg
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    Wow, that is neat! What a beautiful piece. Thanks for sharing.

  7. #7
    Some will be aware that the owner of the museum and cafe complex, sadly passed away not long ago. Therefore it is well to again point out that the security of the Watson artefacts is in no doubt.

    The formation of a trust was considered, but such an arrangement often leads to conflicting ideas among trustees and very bad management. Therefore I decided to grant legal title to the memorabilia, including the Rotary aero engine, to Ralph Smith, owner of the Lycoming Special. His son Sam has like interests, so that all is in good faithful hands with their future assured.

    Ralph Smith often leaves the Lycoming at the museum as part of the display and is well placed to keep an eye on things. He is also well qualified to deal the commercial aspects involved.
    Last edited by Trevor Sheffield; 08-19-2021 at 01:59 PM. Reason: Addition

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