Classic Driver Dealer: R.S. Williams Ltd
With an apprenticeship at Newport Pagnell, a spell organising Peter Sellers’ extensive collection of cars and, since 1968, running his own eponymous company, Richard Stewart Williams is one of the world’s foremost experts on classic and racing cars.
The Aston Martin marque is his speciality, and for many ‘in the know’ the acronym ‘RSW’ is a byword for quality, no-expense-spared preparation.
The family-run business (joined by co-director, Workshop Manager Neil Thompson) is based in Cobham, Surrey, a shortish drive from Greater London, Heathrow and Gatwick. As an Aston Martin Heritage Dealer, R.S. Williams Ltd stocks an extensive range of genuine Aston Martin parts as well as carrying out servicing work to the high standards expected of the marque.
Well-known for its big-capacity conversions on V8s (up to 7.0 litre) and David Brown straight-sixes (4.2 or 4.7-litre), RSW has the on-site equipment for machining, milling and dyno-testing. A full range of services ranging from annual maintenance to total, bare-metal restoration is carried out in the spotless 25,000 square feet workshops set in private 1.5 acre grounds.
Racing has been in Williams’ blood since the early days of running not only cars for the eccentric Sellers, but Lord Downe’s Astons (Project 212 and a DBR1) in historic racing and his Nimrod at the modern Le Mans. From there onwards, further modern racing projects (Ecurie Ecosse in C2) mixed with the production of the famous ‘Lightweight DB4s’, and Sanction II and Sanction III DB4GT Zagatos until he was chosen to run the Aston Martin factory Group C programme in 1988.
On that programme’s disbandment, the old ‘R.S. Williams Ltd’ team was re-formed, relocating from the Brixton arches to Cobham and going from strength to strength ever since.
Car sales have been an important part of the business since the early days and Williams has personally traded many ‘gold chip’ Astons over the years: DB4 GT Zagatos, ex-factory racing DB3s, DBR1s and DB3Ss and the most perfectly prepared DB4/5/6s and V8s.
You can see R.S. Williams Ltd’s current stock in the Classic Driver car marketplace.
Text: Classic Driver
Photos: RS Williams Ltd.