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Lot 172: Speedwell GT-585MY


John Sprinzel, Len Adams and George Holbert established Speedwell Tuning Conversions in the late 1950's. Later John Sprinzel sold his shares in the company to F1 ace Graham Hill and then left to join the Donald Healey Motor Company to set up a special tuning division. After Graham Hill's involvement a certain Mike Costin (of Lotus & Costin fame) used to frequent the business in North West London. At this time Mike's half brother, Frank, an aero-dynamicist designer of many race car shapes for Lotus, Vanwell and others, was given the task of creating a fixed head coupe and the Speedwell GT was born. The 585 MY is one of the few factory built cars which was supplied built. We understand that the instructions came from Keith Grant in 1961 based on a 1961 UK supplied Mk I Sprite. The 585 MY is therefore a works car and probably, has one of the most impressive period and comtemporary racing histories of any Speedwell model not to mention other works Sprites! Graham White together with a friend, Graeme El Bianco White (now Executive Director of the HSCC) raced the car extensively throughout Europe during the early 1960's. The car has an extensive photographic history file in its early years including its presence at top UK circuits such as Brands Hatch and Silverstone. By 1965, 585 MY was racing in the Guards 1000 Mile at Brands Hatch and later than year in the Ilford 500 at the same circuit. Come 1966 Grant and White had set their sights on higher profile World Championship racing alongside the works racing teams of Ferrari, Maserati and Abarth. In the 1966 ADAC 1000Km at Nurburgring and later that year at the GP Mugello. Perhaps their greatest success was in the 66 Nurburgring race where they came 2nd in class! With this the car allegedly 'reached 140 mph on the infamous switchback straight' (C&SC 2012). By this time Grant appears to have experimented with some aero-dynamic aids to the car giving it a kamn tail and some blistered bodywork. The car continued in this guise when sold later to Tim Baker whom in the late 60's and 70's raced the car to a win in the BTRDA Autocross. The car was put in a garage and forgotten about. Later in the 1980's the car was found as the proverbial barn find by Hardy Engineering and subsequently Rae Davies of RDR, the Goodwood Revival guru and verteran of anything A Series was commisioned to restor the car to its 1962 specification for racer Antonio Bertini. Bertini once again took up the mantel of extensively racing the car in the UK and throughout Europe, including Monza, Spa and Vernasca Silver Flag Hill Climb. More locally the car has been invited to the exclusive Goodwood Revival to date a total of 3 times, taking part in the Fordwater Trophy.

Lot Details
Coys, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1PX
Lot Number172
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating
Registration number585 MY
Chassis number
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors