Ex- Joel E Finn, Tom Lester
1911 Speedwell 50hp Toy Tonneau
At the turn of the 19th century Dayton Ohio held more patents per capita then any other place in the US. The twentieth century would see Dayton contribute to several fields, from cash registers to automobile self starters. Few would dispute Dayton's biggest contribution to mankind was a pair of quiet brothers named Wright and their mastery of controlled powered flight. A town that produced so many great things should no doubt have produced great automobile. It did: the Speedwell.
The Speedwell was an appropriately named machine. The designers set out to produce a sporting, powerful machineand they succeeded. Like the Wright Flyer the Speed-well was elegantly engineered for its intended purpose. During 1910 Speedwell cars and Wright aircraft were produced in the same factory building. The heart of the ma-chine was a finely designed Speedwell four-cylinder motor. The big four produced 50hp and easily propelled the car to thrilling speeds. The transmission was a smooth and precise three-speed unit with no "stump puller" gearsthese cars are long legged.
Speedwell borrowed their handsome looks from the best of the industry. The Mercedes type radiator was similar to that used by Simplex and other fine manufacturers. Speed-well had a particular knack for body work and the roadster and the toy tonneau are their standout designs. Always the most desired sporting coachwork on a brass car, the small toy tonneau tourer is handsome, practical, and sporty. The lines and door shape of the Speedwells are some of the nicest of the era.
This fine example has had several noted owners and has been a well known car in the hobby for years having been owned by noted historian and collector Joel E Finn and later Tom Lester. Lester had the Speedwell thoroughly restored to perform to its full po-tential. Lester had some subtle changes made to further enhance the Speedwells al-ready impressive performance. A Zenith carburetor was fitted, a modern high tension ignition, a self starter, full electric lighting and hydraulic rear brakes were among the im-provements done to the car. All these modifications were done with great care and dis-cretion and are not obviously apparent, but they make the car a joy to use! It starts as easily as a modern car and has great power and, thanks to juice brakes, stops very well.
The car was beautifully restored in dark blue and black, the button tufted upholstery is firm and authentic, and it is finished off with a nice array of brass lamps and accesso-ries. A good combination clock and speedometer keep the driver aware of the perform-ance of the machine.
This is as easy to use as any antique car. Jump in, hit the starter and off you go. Once moving, anyone will find the performance thrilling, it will just barrel down an open road. For anyone looking for a prestigious, ready to use, brass car, this is a great opportunity.