1935 Speedway Supercars.............The History.....
Harold Kefford who is driving the car was the designer of the Supercar, the passenger is the Salesman. This photo appered on a postcard that was posted to the Fairground owners.
In 1934 a Company in Coventry called "Supercar" started producing Speedway car's for the Fairground. These little cars raced six at a time around a dirt ovel track and were powered by a 98cc two stroke Villiers engine with a top speed of 10 MPH. This ride was designed for the teenager who, for the first time would experiance their first drive behind the wheel under the safety of a race track.
The Duke and Duchess of Gloucestershire driving a Speedway Supercar at Butlin's.
During the 1930's problems were starting to set in when teenagers would be queing up to have a go at the new ride, but the tempremental Speedway Cars with their 2-Stroke engine would not restart when hot ! The Fairground people started loosing money, So a solution had to be found. The 2-Stroke engine was replaced by
a 110 volt electric motor. Getting the power to the motor was another problem. So a complete new type of track had to be built. A wooden ovel track called a "Brooklands Speedway" was designed, the power which was 110 volts came through metal strips
fixed into the floor of the Speedway, a bit like a giant Scalextric track. There would be six car's at a time running around in a clockwise direction, they could change lanes as they raced around the track picking up the power to motervate the cars forward each time the connectors on the motor (inside the car) touched the live metal strips that went around the track, One was a possitive strip and the other a Negative strip in the six lanes. Soon after this the Dodgem Car ring was designed with 110 volt powered Dodgems. Both Speedway tracks and Dodgem track's ran side by side for many years. The Dodgem track still survives today.
The Factory was formed in 1934 by Mr J Burrows which was in Station Lane, Stoney, Coventry.
During World War Two, The Supercar Factory in Covenrty was Bombed by the Luffwaffer.
Supercar then moved to a building in Gunnery Terrace,Leomington Spa. They mainly made the electric Brookland Speedway Supercar here that went on the wooden Brooklands track Sometime later they moved again to Lock Lane, Wawick, next door to the "Cape of Good Hope Pub" that is next to the Grand Union Canal. The building is still there today discised as a Builders merchants. They mainly made Supercar Dodgem Cars and the Dodgem rings as we know it today, plus other Small Fairground rides. The Company closed down in 1984.
This was a Magazine cutting I found in Custom Car back in the 1970's which explains
the progression of the cars over the years. Many places had the Brooklands Speedway tracks like Butlins, Blackpool, Kings Lynn and Margate.
This is an L.P. Record dating back to the sixty's. A Pop Group who called themselve's
"THE DODGEMS" made this record called "BABY YOU'RE SO" You can clearly see a
Supercar Speedway car on the front cover of the L.P.
This photo was taken in 1939 at King's Lynn. Notice the cars must still have their petrol engine's in the back, as there is no metal strip on the floor of the wooden track. This track was a traveling type of track they used before the electric Brooklands Speedway came about.
If you look closely at this photo above, you will see that Supercar have coverted the body of the speedway car into a dodgem car to run around a dodgem car ring.
So around the late 1930's Supercar started building Dodgem Cars Rings and the cars to go on them.
Above a 1940's steel bodied Supercar Dodgem Car
This Is a parts Manual that was for the Supercar Dodgem.........Circ 1950's
And above an example of a 1960's Fiberglass Bodied Supercar Dodgem Car.
And so to present day........This is my story on how we got two Supercars.
During the 1960's my Dad, Arthur was working for F.C. Brown of Lye at the time who bought and sold scrap. One day he had the job of taking his Guy Lorry to a house in Edbaston, Birmingham to collect some scrap. The house belonged to a Fairground operator.
I do remember going with him that day in 1962 I was only 8 years old then and a ride out in the Guy lorry was a great adventure. When we got to the row of Terraced house's, we found the address of the house, the Scrap was located down a long blue brick entry and down the long narrow back yard. I can't remember what exactly was there, but I do remember an old Aderson Air Raid Shelter curved corrigated sheets that were very heavy at the time.
Well under these sheets of steel was a little car on it's side ! I thought it was a pedal car ? As my dad turned over the car onto it's wheels, he discovered an engine in the back. The whole car was red rusty and the engine was siezed solid ! But it had to go in the scrap on the back of the lorry. I remember asking my dad if it was possible to get that little car on the back of the lorry running again ? I thought it would be great to drive it around the yard at F.C.Brown.
1966, Steve driving car with my Brother Martin and Sister Carol as passengers.
When I went back to School after the hollidays my dad started work on the little car
by freeing the engine off and eventually getting it to run. The engine was a 2-stroke Villiers working a centrifugle clutch driving one rear wheel. So after knowing the engine was running okay he proceded in cleaning all the rust off the steel body and giving it a coat of blue & white paint, then fitting all the chrome strip's plus the number 9 back on the body. I remember going down to the yard one Sunday Morning to have a driving lession, I was still only 8 years old and had NEVER driven a car in my life ! It was great thrill for me to drive this little car around in circles on the dirt yard. This I could not wait to do every Sunday.
Till one day (some years ago) a customer walked into the yard saying he knew of another little car like this one that was in Kidderminster.
It was 1966, both my dad and myself went over to find this Small Holding in Kidderminster, When we found this place, we found the little car with no body fitted ?
The car was being driven around the field as a Go-Kart ! Luckly the owner had kept the steel body in a barn and was in resonable condition. I noticed that it had a number 7 on the back. Well the car was bought for £10.
Steve standing by the 10 ton crane, Supercar and my Go-Kart. 1968
Once again the little car was taken back to the yard in Lye to be worked on. It was noticed that the engine was a different type than the one used in the other car, it was a 4-Stroke J.A.P. engine working on the same principle using a centrefugle clutch driving one rear wheel. Arthur rebuilt the number 7 car and painted it red. After a few week's went by, on one Sunday Morning we had both cars racing around the yard. The number 7 car with the 4-stroke engine fitted was clearly the faster car than the number 9 car that had the 2-stroke engine fitted, it was great fun !
Up to now we did not quite know what we had here, We had noticed the letters
S.C. stamped on the hub caps and the radiator grill but did not know what it stood for ? I think it was around 1974 when I was getting interested in Hot Rod's and Dragster's that I would buy a monthly Magazine called Custom Car. One month had a page dedicated to these little cars, that was the day I found out they were called
"SUPERCAR"....that's what the S.C. stood for. By then I was 20 and those days I was busy Stock Car Racing, so the little Supercars were put away in the back shed.
About 1974. Me driving the blue & red car and Martin (my Brother) driving the red car around the yard in Lye.
Let's jump to 2005................
In 2005 I decieded to fetch both the little Supercars out of the shed from where they had been stored for the last 31 years.
They were in a bit of a state and both were in need of a complete restoration.
So after removing the 2-stroke engine out of the number 9 car I then set about removing the body off car then gave the chassis a good de-rust and coats of Red Oxide undercoat plus a good top coat. I had to make and replace the worn King Pins, plus reline the single rear brake. I also relined the clutch. I had all 4 wheel bearing out of the hub's, cleaned them up and replaced them with new grease. The underside of the body was very rusty, so the bottom was de-rusted and painted. The car was then put back together.
The body was bolted back on with new bolts, the rest of the body was stripped of paintwork down to the bare metal, I knocked out all the dents and used fiberglass filler to smooth out the slight imperfections. I spent weeks blocking the body down until it was all level. Whilst all of this was going on and remembering that this engine had little or no power I sent the engine to a Villers expert, to have a re-bore and piston fitted and new big end brearing with a crank re-grind. I also had the clutch re-lined to stop any possible slippage. After a few months I had the engine back which was fitted back into the chassis of the Supercar.
Supercar number 9 has just received it's primer filler under coat sprayed on March 19th 2005.
The other Supercar (number 7) was done exactly the same apart from the 4-stroke engine. When I stripped the engine down to rebuilt it. It did not find anything worn out apart from one broken piston ring that I replaced. On April 15th 2005 I sprayed the top coat on both the cars, number 9 was in Red and number 7 was in Blue. So by May 2005 I had completly finished both cars. The plan was to take these two cars out to Vintage events. But I was having a problem trying to find a way of transporting them.
An Idea came into my head one day, so I set about making a Double Decker Trailer
This would also solve my storage problem as well.
So after making up the special trailer I took the Supercars to there first event at Wolverhampton's West Park Steam Rally which is always in the first weekend in June.
Here's the Morris pulling into the garage for some fuel.
A good veiw of the underside of the chassis. Note the driving wheel which also doubles up as the braking wheel.
Having the two cars at West Park Steam Rally prooved to be an intresting weekend
Because the amout of Public that came up to me asking allsorts of questions about the history of the cars. It turned out not that many people had seen them before and did not realise they were built in Coventry in 1935.
Wolverhampton's West Park Steam Rally. The two cars are based on a 1935 M.G. Roadster T.D.
In 2008 I was invited to Run the Supercars around the arena at Keith Shakespeare's
Evesham Vintage Gathering, plus it was a chance to team up with my friend Dave Hooper who also had two Supercars and who also worked for the Company Supercar
in Warwick before it closed production in the early 1960's.
Dave had kept a lot of useful history on these cars including old photos. He also had some wooden railings that used to be around the Brooklands Speedway. This made a
lovely setting for the little Speedway cars.
Steve having a drink to celibrate the winning of his first race. Evesham 2008.
Dave's two cars are based on the Brooklands Racing Cars that ran around the ovel circuit.
The Two Speedway Cars you see are owned by Dave Hooper who has his arm up in the air, ready to start a race. The blue car on your left is a Speedway Car build by Supercar. The red Speedway Car on your right is built by Langwheels. Barry Two is driving the red car and Andy Burt is driving the blue car. Both of these cars were originally made to have the 110 volt electric motor fitted, but in this application a 4-stroke petrol engine is fitted.
In 2008 We had a chance to race these cars on a Supercar Dodgem Car Ring with lot's of fun. This happend at Evesham Vintage Gathering. It was a bit on the tight side, as the ring was only 40 ft long but there was lot's of tyre squeeling going on.
In 2009 I was asked if we could make a Brooklands Speedway Track (or my version of it) and set it up at the Evesham Vintage Gathering. This we did, and it was very successful, with many races run at different times during the day, much to the public's enjoyment. In this race Dave Shortland driving my blue car with Brian Boxhall driving
Team Hoop's blue car and bringing up the rear in my red car is Graham Howland.
On the left of the photo Barry drop's the start flag with Dave Hooper standing on the right.
In 2010 I was asked by the West Park Steam Rally Organiser's if I could drive my two Speedway Supercars around the street's of Wolverhapton in the Steam and Vintage
Parade that happens on the Saturday of the event. This we did okay to start with.
Dave Shortland was driving the blue car and Steve driving the red car, the prossesion
was a very slow affair and the engine's plus the clutches were getting very hot indeed. Lucky that Graham Howland who was driving my Morris truck at the time was behind us who picked the Supercars up one at a time on a tow rope as they stopped around the course.
Graham towing us in at Wolverhampton's Steam Parade. June 2010
Dave...."Hey Mate, I'm looking for Lichfield Street" ? Bloke leaning on fence.... " I haven't got a clue mate" !
Steve, winning a race at Bidford-on-Avon Steam Rally. May 2011.
Graham Howland in Dave Hoop's Supercar on a wet day.
Our Mechanic Cedrick working in the pit's trying to fix Team Hoop's Lang wheels car !
SIX Speedway Supercars in the Pit's at Handbury Steam Rally. September 2011
The two new Speedway Supercars are owned by Barry Two. The red car on the right
is a based on a 1950's Austin Healey. The blue one on the left with the pointed back
is also a Supercar built car and is based on a 1935 M.G. Roadster T.D.
Infront of the line up is my next project.....A 1960's Whittaker Dodgem Car.