Speedwell Speed Car

1912 Speedwell 12-J 50HP Speed Car

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 15, 2014

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Dayton, Ohio’s Speedwell Motor Car Company built cars for only seven short years, but they made the most of it. As the company name may suggest, they were sporty (for the most part) but also reliable and well-built. Company premises were damaged during a flood in 1913 and they closed the following year.

The Series 12 was built in 1912 only and they were available in nine configurations, with the Model J denoted a four-passenger touring car. The 7.2-liter straight-four under the hood makes 50 horsepower. This particular example is a “Speed Car” – a racier version of their normal production car. It is the only Speedwell Speed Car in existence.

Speedwell built about 4,000 cars in their lifetime, and they are super rare today. This one has known ownership since the 1930s, including Bill Harrah, and it was restored in 1999. You can be next in line if you can write a check for between $550,000-$750,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $869,000.

Speedwell GT

1960 Austin-Healey Speedwell GT

Offered by Coys | Woodstock, Oxfordshire, U.K. | June 29, 2013

1960 Austin-Healey Speedwell GT

The Speedwell GT was a version of the Austin-Healey Sprite that was intended for racing. It was developed by Speedwell – an outside tuning company – and there were some noticeable differences between the Sprite and the GT.

First of all, the Sprites are commonly referred to as “Bugeye” (or Frogeye) Sprites because of their inset headlights that gave them a unique – if not dorky – look. This car has the lights in a more traditional place and it’s a fixed-top coupe.

Speedwell was founded by John Sprinzel, Len Adams and George Holbert in the late-1950s. The GT was designed by Frank Costin, brother of Cosworth co-founder Mike Costin. This is one of very few factory-built Speedwell GTs and it is based around a 1961 Sprite Mk I. The engine is a 948cc straight-four making 43 horsepower. Many of the new body panels were aluminium to save weight. It’s a quick car for its class.

The car was campaigned in the 1960s. It’s racing history includes:

  • 1966 500 Miles of Brands Hatch – 17th (with Keith Grant and Grahame White)
  • 1966 1000km Nürburgring – 32nd, 2nd in class (with Grant and White)
  • 1966 GP Mugello – Not Classified, 2 laps down (with Grand and White)

In the 1970s, it was raced and then parked and forgotten until it was rediscovered in the late-1980s and restored. It has appeared at the Goodwood Revival three times since and is in race-ready condition. It should sell for between $75,000-$95,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Coys’ Blenheim Palace sale.