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Raceabout with a difference

Raceabout with a difference: Speedwell Speed Car

When you fall for the brawn of an American short chassis racer from the brass age, the Mercer Raceabout or Stutz Bearcat are the ones to go for, right? Not necessarily. There was the Speedwell Speed Car, too. Trouble is, only one of them is known to survive but it is offered in Bonhams’ Quail Lodge sale tomorrow.

Speedwell has of course nothing to do with these chaps here. The Speedwell Motor Company of Dayton, Ohio, built their own cars from 1907 to 1914 and their 1912 Speed Car was undoubtly the top-of-the-range model. It’s unsure how many they built and this example seems the only one with known history going back to the late 1930s. As a matter of fact it was considered as a collector’s car back at the time when acquired by opera singer and car aficionado James Melton who set up his own motor museum back in 1941. The Speed Car became one of its attractions. After Melton sold the car in the late 1950s it staid in the hands of a string of automobile collectors, including William Harrah. It was completely restored in 1999 and still looks ever so good. Tempting isn’t it? Remember you won’t find another…

(picture courtesy Bonhams Auctions)


#1 2014-08-14 03:35
There are three 1912 Speedwell cars in existence all with different body types. This car had the $125.00 extra 5 electric lamp equipment but has been down graded to flame lighting because it looks older, hope the original lights are included. They are great cars to drive with a 6 1/2 liter 4 under the hood.

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