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  Speedwell 1300 GT


By 1965 Speedwell had decided that the standard 1100 wasn't really aimed at the "boy racer" market, and therefore spanners were put into use once again, and the midnight oil was burned. BMC had produced an ADO16 with a 1275cc Cooper S engine fitted, but Speedwell felt this combination could be further improved and give a spacious, fast family car. So they about creating their masterpiece the Speedwell 1300 GT. One does wonder if this is where BMC got the idea for the 1300 GT?

Based around the standard Austin 1100.. say is that a black vinyl roof I see up there? The headrests as fitted to the front seats can be seen through the windscreen (the one on the passenger side at least).

Speedwell were modifying most of the new BMC range in a bid to them more desirable to the younger driver. But as with previous conversions it would be more than the standard "bolt on" parts that many other companies provided. Instead, Speedwell took the standard 1275cc Cooper S engine, and largely modified it. To get 1300cc the engine was bored out by 0.68mm, and the stroke was left unaltered, this gives a capacity of 1,292cc. The cylinder head is exchanged for an aluminium one, a special crankshaft and piston assembly are fitted. The valves, springs and rockers are changed and a Speedwell camshaft is installed.

Under the bonnet of the Speedwell Austin 1300GT. Looking very similar to the standard Austin 1300GT, minus the air filter.

The flywheel was lightened and special inlet and exhaust manifolds were fitted. The result of all the modifications produces a 90 b.h.p at 6,500 r.p.m, but this is no all-at-the-top racing engine, at over 87 b.h.p, is produced all the way from 5,500 to 7,000 r.p.m. Although 7,500 r.p.m can be used for gear changing, Speedwell say that 7,000 r.p.m should be regarded as the everyday top gear limit, unless you are prepared to pay for the consequences.

Besides modifications to the engine Speedwell also turned its attentions to the interior fitting larger seats, complete with headrests. A three spoke light alloy steering wheel was fitted (similar to the ones as fitted to 1300 MGs' and the proper BMC 1300GT) More instruments were fitted to the dashboard, and a small "pod" was fitted to where the radio speaker is usually fitted. Speedwell also modified perhaps the biggest, and best selling point of the car, the Hydrolastic suspension. Its not quite clear what they modified here, presumably it was top secret? But it was suitable for 100+ m.p.h motoring.

Larger seats trimmed in black, thus adding to GT feel. One would have thought they'd have given the dash a black crackle finish?


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