header image
Parts
Homepage. This page: Suspension parts to improve the handling of the Austin A35, A40, A90, A105, Mini, Sprite, MGA, Minor, Riley 1.5 etc.

Speedwell anti-roll bars and other handling goodies

Bolt-on parts for Austins, Rileys, Morrises etc

Speedwell-tuned Riley 1.5
[Back to car tuning conversions main page]

Here's another period tuning leaflet issued by Speedwell Performance Conversions Limited, of Finchley Road, London. I have three versions of the leaflet, the one shown to the right with a Riley on the cover, and another, shown further down, with a racing A35, and a third with just photos of components on the cover. This publication focuses on making British cars of the 1950s and 1960s handle properly, although the Mini was doing ok in this department even in standard form! The leaflets go in to detail about the benefits that working on the car's suspension can bring to roadholding, whether for the road or in competition.

What improvements can be expected?
"Immediate advantage is the reduction in body roll and increased riding comfort; passengers no longer need to brace themselves for every corner. Faster yet safer average speeds can be maintained with less effort. In addition, steering 'feel' becomes more responsive as any correction on the wheel is immediately effective without the usual lost motion due to initial body roll; especially beneficial with vehicles tending to oversteer. The special rear telescopic shock absorbers eliminate axle tramp and 'float' at high speeds."

What does a Speedwell Conversion consist of?
"The front unit invariably includes a high grade spring steel bar, finished in aluminium resin, suitably shaped to fit each vehicle without affecting ground clearance. This is supplied with knuckle joints, brackets, rubber bushes, nuts and bolts and strengthening boxes where required. Rear units include telescopic shock absorbers, manufactured by a leading British company, to Speedwell's own design and specifications, mounting plates and pins, rubber bushes, nuts and bolts. All metal parts are protected against corrosion and full fitting instructions are supplied with each kit. Speedwell suspensions are manufactured to a very high standard and guaranteed for twelve months, against faulty material and workmanship."

Plenty of cars were catered for too, here is the list as specified by Speedwell in this particular catalogue: Austin A35, A40 Farina, A95, A105 Westminster, Riley 4/68, Wolseley 15/60, A55 Mk2, MG Magnette Mk3, Morris Oxford MkV, BMC Mini 850, Austin-Healey Sprite, MGA, Morris Minor 1000, Nash Metropolitan, Riley 1.5 and Wolseley 1500.

Various kits were available, many including components such as front & rear anti-roll bars (with mounting brackets and bushes) and telescopic dampers, depending on your particular car, and, to an extent, the depth of your pockets. However kits such as the front anti-roll bar for the A35, cost all of 7, plus 2 for fitting if required. Most expensive were the Gran Turismo kits for big Farinas (kit BMC.GT for 18.10.0), Riley 1.5 (N.1 also for 18.10.0), and the same upgrade to suit the Morris Minor (kit M.GT which cost 16). For anyone who preferred tighter shock absorbers, special valves could be purchased for front and rear lever-arm Armstrong units.

On the back page are some of the press comments relating to Speedwell and their suspension tweaks, comments such as "The fitting of the Speedwell Suspension turned the Minor into a car that can be really DRIVEN round corners, without a trace of temperament" (Motor Racing, September 1958) and "The car can be hurled into roundabouts and corners with something approaching gay abandon" (Sports Car Illustrated, July 1958). With endorsments like this, Speedwell must have sold a good number of kits during the sixties.

Does anyone know the history of the Riley One-Point-Five shown on the cover of this leaflet, registration UXD 266 ?

Riley 1.5 cornering at speed!
Riley 1.5 racing
Anti-roll bar fitted to an A35
A35 anti rollbar


The other two versions of the leaflet are shown below:

An A35 leads a Riley Pathfinder through the curves!
Austin A35 racing
Speedwell shock absorbers & anti-rollbars
Suspension components


(PS This page is just one of hundreds of pages on www.oldclassicccar.co.uk, stuffed full with articles, photographs (including a free image archive!), visitors stories, memorabilia, postcards, advice and more, all dedicated to classic cars and their enthusiastic owners everywhere!!)


Custom Search
www.oldclassiccar.co.uk (C) R. Jones. Content not to be reproduced elsewhere.
Website by ableweb.
Privacy Policy, Cookies & Disclaimers