It is above all a human adventure that was launched in 2019 by former members of the WM and WR stables (Welter Meunier then Welter Racing). By creating the WMH (Welter Meunier Historique) association, this group of fifteen volunteers has embarked on a rather crazy programme: the identical reconstruction of a vanished berlinetta: the WM P70, the first prototype built from scratch (chassis and bodywork) by Gérard Welter Welter and Michel Meunier in 1970.
Just over four years after its birth, the association has almost come to the end of a year in which financial, health – with the Covid crisis – and sometimes technical aspects have marred the rebirth of this sports coupé. But nothing could make this team give up! As solid as they are competent!
The rebuilt WM P70 is (almost) complete and will be on show for the first time on the UTAC stand (Hall 3 – Stand C022) at the Rétromobile show https://www.retromobile.com/, which opens its doors this Wednesday 31 January and runs until Sunday 4 February.
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to discover it in a phase where its height of just 86 cm (!!) will surprise you: no higher than the Bertone Zero concept car (below) born the same year! It is above all its avant-garde design that will surprise you, with its square-tube frame integrated into a self-supporting monocoque made of epoxy fibreglass and structural boxes.
Everything has been reproduced with great respect for the original car. The members of WMH reverse engineered the prototype using period documents, and then began building it with the help of partners. You’ll be able to see for yourself at the Rétromobile show just how exemplary the work has been.
“In order to be able to present you with the car on the road for the centenary of the Montlhéry circuit (where the WMP70 will be one of the guests on 12 and 13 October), additional help will be needed, in particular to pay for the finishing touches to the rims, the purchase of tyres, the wiring harness, the steering rack and the exhaust system,” explains Pierre Rémond, chairman of the WMH association.
All you have to do is scan the QR code on the stand (and below in this post) or go directly to the campaign link: https://www.helloasso.com/associations/wm-historique/collectes/finalisation-de-la-reconstruction-de-la-p70
Between now and October, the WM P70 still has to be fitted with suspension, wheels and an exhaust system, and the powertrain has to be finalised. The engine has been rebuilt from three recovered 304 S blocks, with the addition of many new parts. The gearbox will initially be a four-speed, but everything is programmed so that it adopts the fifth gear that was on the original car. With 1288 cm3, power came to 120 bhp DIN at 7,300 rpm.
Last weekend (27-28 January), a large part of the team got together to finish assembling the car that will be on show at Rétromobile. While the aim of this adventure is to rebuild the WM P70, for the whole team of volunteers who followed WM (and then WR), particularly during the Le Mans 24 Hours, it is also a chance to pay a heartfelt tribute to Michel Meunier and Gérard Welter (below, back at the Gué lycée in Tresmes where he studied to be a staffer: https://legueatresmes.fr/). Even when he was ill, Gérard Welter was already talking about this project. The WM P70 will therefore be present at Rétromobile six years to the day after its disappearance…
GIFT: Treat yourself to a 1/24 WM P70
A ‘speedform’ model of the WM P70 will be available to order on the UTAC stand, where the 1/1-scale car is on display. Available in 1:24 scale, this model is based on the digital definition produced for the 1:1 project. It is a limited edition of 100 copies, sold for €70 each. The final model will have a black base with a limited edition plaque showing the print run number, and will of course have a transparent protective cover.
BONUS: what project was Gérard Welter working on at Peugeot when he was building his WM P70?
Gérard Welter worked for Peugeot styling for 47 years. While weekends were devoted to building the WM P70, which was presented in 1970, during the week Gérard worked with the head of Peugeot styling (Paul Bouvot) on a gigantic programme called ‘J’, designed to replace both the 404 and the brand new 304. In short, a sprawling programme that ultimately came to nothing. However, on the basis of the 304, Welter and his team proposed 3 coupés, one of which reached the prototype stage with a finished interior. And a style that would not go unchallenged in the 1970s, led by the Peugeot 305!
THE PARTNERS OF WELTER MEUNIER HISTORIQUE
TO HELP REBUILD WM P70
Thank you to the WMH team for their availability during this busy period.