Undoubtely, Willy is one of the most charismatic drivers, one featuring the longest and most famous career. Seducer who enjoys life, this living legend invited me to meet him in a London night club.
58035 Wild Willy Willys M38 (1982)
Note from the author: when I showed at "The Pink Pussy" club, two Vega Monsters halted me and questionned me. I just replied that I came to play Tennis, but despite practicing martial arts, I soon realized that I'd better be serious for my own safety. So I replied about my appointment with Mr Willy. The two Schwarzys look at each other, one reads his notes and goes pale: he stammers a few sorries and leads me down the pretty dirty stairs. When he draws back the heavy velvet curtain, I see an Austin Power's style shagadelic sixites clubbing atmosphere. In a private lounge I see Willy, tanned look and shaved head. Dressed with baggy trousers and a 500$ shirt, he wear a golden Jeep logo around his neck and an old-style watch paved with diamonds. He seems to be waiting for me, slumped in a silver leatherette® sofa, sipping expensive champagne, and surrounded by three babes exposing their huge... personality.
Nice to meet you Mr Willy, I'm coming for...
Willy: Heyyy !!!! BaraToZ, have a seat and a glass! Forget about "Mister": just call me Willy!
Ok Willy, I'm here to interview you for Black Hole Sun website readers.
Willy: Whot ? What's that Black Hole Sun thing, a new porn magazine? Never heard of it!
Author: disappointment shows...
Ahhhh... c'mon dude, I'm joking... ok... let's go for it (Author: to my regrets, the babes and their personalities leave)
So, what do you wanna know dude?
I'd like you talk a little bit about yourself, where your background, how you came into professional driving.
Willy: Ok dude! My mother is Chinese and my father is from Jamaica. They now live in Peru where I visit them each year after the race season is over. So I was raised in Jamaica 'til I was 22year. I kind of skipped school most of the time but I learnt how to drive and to repair any vehicle, whatever its condition.
What a destiny! From this to one of Tamiya's star. You certainly struggled to get there...
Willy: Listen dude, I'll be honest: it didn't exactly happen this way actually.
Here's the story: by the end of the 70's, a team from Tamiya came to Jamaica. Thanks to a friend of mine, I was hired as an assistant. They had rent Jeeps to carry their stuff and tow the prototypes they were testing on the beach.
The fellows were nice people, thus quite uptight, so I decided to introduce them to the real country... With the guys, we took a Jeep to get to the famous "Baobab Disco 2000". Once there, we soon met babes from Sweden who were on holidays. The night was hot so we drank and had fun. We couldn't really understand each others with words but words are not required in these moments. About five in the morning, we drove the girls back to the camp to show them the prototypes.
Everything would have been sweet without their boyfriends from the Swede National Hockey team. One of them was driving a big Lamborghini Cheetah and was looking pretty upset.
Willy: So the best we had to do was to move fast! We got the Jeep and tried to lose them. They chased us all night in town, by the country side and the shore. I had to drive over sidewalks, cut through fields, jump bumps: a real stunt at full speed. At about sunrise, the guys got lost and we all were relieved. But the guys in my car were hilarious while chanting "Willy you're so wild, Willy you're so wild"!
This is how the Tamiya team called me "Wild" Willy and offered me to use my talents to drive for them.
What a story! What happened next when you got at Tamiya's HQ?
Willy: As that story gave me a little bit of fame, they offered a lifetime exclusive driver contract right away, with vehicles called after my name, media campains and an interesting financial bonus. This is how I joined thousands of official shows over the planet: on lawns, car-parks, beaches, everywhere!
Willy's legend was born!
Can you tell us more about your vehicle technical specs?
Willy: Oh man, I think technical aspects are just boring! What counts is the fun to drive. When I see today's teenagers wandering about their LiPo stuff and top speed limits... I say it's nothing about speed, it's all about skills!
What da ya think girls? (he winks at the babes who agree and chuckle).
Let me ask you something more personal: today at about 50, you never got married?
Willy: Hmm... you know, when you live like a star, that quite difficult to establish. At a time I met a great girl. You certainly know her, her name is Vanessa. I've been her instructor for three months in Japan for Monster Truck driving. She was skilled, had extremly long legs and above all, she knew how to drive. She was really talented to make it nose up. I'm talking about the car of course! I still have regrets for not keeping in touch.
Willy: She was in love with another driver. A serious guy, quite involved but not very fun who was waiting for her in US I think. You know, it probably went better this way... I've heard she's still in the business with her yellow Monster Truck, but on the other side, I have never heard of her boyfriend anymore.
Never had regrets not being a true driver like Paranoid Perry, Fabulous Frey, Levy Lancaster...
Willy: You know man, the point is to have fun. Otherwise you run after titles and you end up neurotic like mad Paranoid Perry...
In addition, very few drivers lasted in the business like I do... who remember Bullit Benny and Arnold Applewhite!
Your best race memories?
Willy: Tons! Every run is a new fantastic experience. With me, every lawn corner, every patch of land turns into an international race track! You know, there's a kid smile (or adult) after every battery pack and that's the important matter.
This is why Willy will ever be Willy and I already have a seat at the legendary drivers' heaven.
Thanks a lot Willy. You whole life is a cool story. I now have to go since I plan to empty a few battery packs tomorrow.
In the end, Willy wanted me to stay. Because I'm civilized, I stayed a few more hours at the club in order to keep Willy's friends company and to workout better French-English relations.