60's Tuning Equipment

A fairly random collection of original tuning equipment from the 1960's.

Speedwell Cast Alloy Manifold For 40, 45 & 48 DCOE.

Once again this manifold was not specifically designed for use on a Mini but with the usual bulkhead modifications it was another cracker! As with the vast majority of Speedwell items it wears its branding proud and clear.

View 1, View 2.

Speedwell Ram Pipes.

Now this is a rare beast! Who would have thought it possible to find a new IN BAG set of Speedwell Ram pipes? Well Johan Svenningsen in Copenhagen managed to do just that and he was also kind enough to send me a couple of pictures as well. I think that the Speedwell ram pipes were by far the most attractive ever produced and they flow extremely well too. These cast metal ones are the ones to have rather than the later spin alloy efforts of later days. Originally available in either 1 1/4, 1 1/2 & 1 3/4"


Speedwell SU Manifold (type 1)

These small single manifolds are cast in aluminium alloy and were sold in pairs for use with type HS2 SU Carbs, on non transverse A series engines. The opening at the face (head end) is 1 1/8" and a recess for a locating ring is usually (but not always) present, I have also seen examples both with and without the locating holes on 2" centres either side of the locating recess. Of course it is not uncommon to find these manifolds have been modified for use with larger (usually 1 1/2") SU Carbs. (Part No: CA 41, Price £2, 5 shillings ea.)


Speedwell SU Manifold (type 2)

These slightly larger single manifolds are cast in aluminium alloy and were sold in pairs for use with type H2 & HS2 SU Carbs, the opening at the face (head end) is usually 1 1/4" and a recess for a locating ring is rarely present, I have also seen examples both with and without the locating holes on 2" centres on the face. Of course it is not uncommon to find these manifolds have been modified for use with larger (usually 1 1/2") SU Carbs. This is in actual fact not a very good idea, the small nature of the balance pipe hole (chimney) makes it very difficult to balance 1 1/2"'s on the vehicle. (Part No: CA 42, Price £2, 5 shillings)

NEW! Speedwell Alloy Cylinder Heads NEW!

There is probably more bull talked about these cylinder heads than any other item manufactured by Speedwell, click HERE for more info.

To see a head that has been restored to as new condition follow the links below.


Speedwell 1.5 : 1 High Lift Rockers

Everyone is using 1.5 : 1 offset rockers nowadays, but in the 60's Speedwell couldn't shift them, oh how fashions change! Click HERE for the full story. (Part No: VA 100, Price £13, 10 shillings)

Speedwell Cadmium Plated Rocker Cover

Contrary to what the wide boys will tell you (and try and sell you) Speedwell NEVER manufactured or sold an alloy rocker cover. They did however do one plated in Cadmium! These were std BMC covers that had been gently blasted and plated with a light matt grey metal. This gave these covers a similar appearance to the alloy heads. (Part No: VA 160, Price £2, 12, 6)

Speedwell Chromium Plated Rocker Cover

This one wasn't an Alloy one either! This was the standard BMC Van den Plas / MG style chrome plated rocker cover with a Speedwell badge fitted. (Part No: VA 155, Price £3, 15 shillings)

Speedwell Special Overbored Blocks & Pistons.

Speedwell based many of their most famous engine conversions around the massive over boring of standard A series blocks. It true to say that this is probably the most reliable way of increasing an engines power, as my wife says, there is no substitute for size!

While there are to my knowledge one or two of these engines still in existence, if you are thinking about "recreating" one there are a few factors that need to be given serious consideration. Some of these issues are discussed in more depth HERE.


Speedwell Valve Guides.

Over the years Speedwell made some excellent products, some average products and some downright bad products, have a look at the very worst! HERE

Speedwell / BRM Magnesium "Racing" Wheels.

These Magnesium alloy wheels were supplied to Speedwell by the Racing Car manafacturer BRM in the mid to late 60's. Presumably this was something to do with the fact that Graham Hill was a long time member of the BRM F1 team among others. Reputed to be amongst the strongest and lightest wheels ever made for a Mini they disolved very quickly in the wonderfull British weather and are practically impossible to find today in any condition. Click on image for better pictures.

Landar Alloy Rockercover.

This alloy rockercover was produced specifically for use on a "Landar" kit car. This rear engined Mini derived racing car was produced in small numbers towards the end of the 1960's. There are a few surviving examples but there are a few more of the rockercovers now. Click on image opposite for better view.

Speedwell Rockercover Finisher.

This is not another Speedwell chrome rockercover! This is an item manufactured by Speedwell towards the late 60's or early 70's. It is a shiny plastic cover that fits OVER a standard tin rockercover. Click on the image opposite for more detail.

Speedwell Shock Absorbers.

How long have I been looking for these?

Opposite you can see a genuine set of Speedwell Performance shock absorbers for the Mini. These were the later TSR A1 type that were sold from about 1964. They are not adjustable, but are suitable for either lowered or standard height minis. If you follow the link below you will see a larger pictures of them and an insert showing that they are stamped with the correct Speedwell Part number.


The Reece Fish Carb.

Made famous by Clive Trickey through his column in CCC, this was a "Must Have" tuning component of any Mini Se7en racer from the mid 60's. Follow the link below for a good overview.


The Allen / Pinion 8 Port Head.

The pinion 8 port head. This head has a very interesting history as well as a fantastic claim to fame, follow the link below for the full story, or click on the image opposite for more pictures.


Speedwell SU Sprint Kit.

The Speedwell Sprint Kit came in 3 seperate types. These kits were similar apart from the Carbs supplied with the kit. The most popular was the SU Sprint Kit like the one pictured opposite. This was effectivley the basic tuning kit supplied by Speedwell that could be added to by increments to increase power progressivly or as your budget would allow. This complete kit was found only recently and is predominantly still bagged.

Speedwell Amal Manifolds.

Among the most sought after of all early tuning parts are the now legendary Speedwell Amal conversions. This was a conversion that fitted the famous Amal Motorcycle carb to a manifold suitable for a A series engine. Although the performance of this particular conversion was superb, being better than both the SU and Weber conversion, it did have its problems. The main ones being poor cold starting and an uneven tckover. Thanks to Kiyoshi Ise for the acompanying pictures. If you have any info on this particular kit, I would be very glad to hear from you.

View 1, View 2.


The Ultimate A Series Configuration.

The picture opposite was submitted recently. It is of a Works spec Weslake 8 port / Injection set up as used on a lot of the Works and Works supported Racers towards the late 60's. This one is completely finished and will be out and about again before too long.

There were 4 versions of this Weslake head, these changes broke down as follows,

MK1 - As it came, ported etc

MK2 - As MK1, but with dry deck water outlet. Link pipe from block to head.

MK3 - As MK2, but with dry deck water outlet utilising Auxiliary radiator on OS inner wing.

MK4 - As MK3, but with extra piping to the head. Special tubing used, tapping in 3 places. (as per OBL 45F - Tour de France). - Over-heating problems finally sorted.

"Spin On" Minilite Wheels.

Another fantastic idea I hear you say!

Well not exactly, These "Spin On" Minilites were developed sometime in 1966 or 67. They were only ever used by the Works Minis on a few occasions (usually racing) and soon fell out of favour. The reason for this was that they FELL OFF regularly. A Mini inovation that was never as good as it could be! A few "Ex Works" type cars use these wheels more for show than anything else, you have a look and I bet they are bolted on too.