Lewis Reed Photo: 1911 Speedwell Touring
One of the things I enjoy doing is looking through all of the old photographs in my grandfather’s albums and trying to figure out who and what they are. Unfortunately, the majority of the photos are more than 100 years old and do not come neatly labeled on the back with names, dates, people or places. Anyway, I came across this cool looking car and thought it would be fun to try and identify it, so I went on a quest. The only real clue I had to go on was the “S” on the front of the car.
After some digging, my research has identified the car as a circa 1910 or 1911 Speedwell Touring car — pictured just below is a fully restored 1911 Speedwell Series 11 50HP. Looks the same to me. What do you think?
The Speedwell Motor Car Company was an early United States automobile manufacturing company that produced cars from 1907 to 1914. In 1910, the Speedwell cars and the Wright aircraft were produced in the same factory building. Powering the cars was a Speedwell four-cylinder motor that offered 50 horsepower, making it more than capable of sustaining high speeds. The exterior designs of the Speedwell automobiles were inspired from multiple parts of the automotive industry. Speedwell declared bankruptcy in 1915.
Source: Wikipedia – Speedwell Motor Car Company
While I agree that it is a Speedwell, it is more than likely a 1912 Speedwell Duckboat. This was a body designed for the Auto Show in 1912 and was very limited in production. The car had some great features like moving the gear change lever to the center of the car, where it had previously been on the outside to the drivers right. The single rear seat was now enclosed with a single door on the left side of the car that allowed access to all three seats. The front fenders were now skirted with a lower radiator splash pan that kept the mud and debris out of the radiator. I only know this because I have the pleasure of taking care of a 1912 Speedwell Duckboat for its owner. If you would contact me I could send you a picture. The original picture you have is great and I would like to get a higher resolution copy for our records if possible.
Hello Charlie, Thanks for the correction regarding the 1912 Speedwell Duckboat … I always appreciate hearing from people who know more about this than I do. That’s quite an interesting name. How did they come up with the name Duckboat?
Unfortunately, I do not have a high resolution of this photo, but you are more than welcome to use the one on the blog. Thanks for visiting and taking the time to share your knowledge.