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The most common of the pre-war speedboats - but still rare; there are numerous versions of this boat. A separate page has been dedicated to this little boat and can be found by following the link below.


Sutcliffe Boats

Clockwork Speedboats - 1930 to 1939

By the end of the 30's, Sutcliffe had just about phased out the hot air boats. The 12" and 16" battleships 'lived on' with clockwork power, but Sutcliffe needed more boats in the range as the battleships were still quite expensive.  Sutcliffe remedied this by introducing 3 new speedboats using completely new pressings for each one; this must have represented quite an investment for Sutcliffe and it would pay off, as these boats were produced for over 10 years, the smallest one 'Minx' becoming one of the most popular. All boats shared a similar design, featuring a simple windscreen to protect the driver and a rectangular wooden hatch to protect the motor. The hatch is secured using 4 x 1/8 Whitworth brass bolts and the winding hole plugged with a crown topped cork bung.  The rudder's tiller now acts on a notched rail so the course could be accurately 'set'; this was a new design as all previous designs just relied on friction to set the rudder.


Initially none of these boats got names, but by 1932/33 the 12" boat was christened 'MINX' and the 16" boat 'METEOR'. For some reason the 20" model never got a name; the story going that no-one could agree on a name so it didnt get one. Good job it wasn't one of Sutcliffes children!

The 20" Speedboat was the 'top of the range' speedboat and is the rarest of them all by far!

12" Speedboat  - MINX

20" Speedboat

16" Speedboat - METEOR

IMG_0981 Image 1

The METEOR was the 'middle sister' of the three; its a rare boat, more so than the MINX. Again, there were numerous versions over the years...


The advert above appeared in the Christmas Edition of the 1931 Meccano Magazine.  The image is a rather amusing 'artist's impression' of one of the Speedboats, possibly the 20" model as it is shown with a seat in the cockpit.  The boat can be seen speeding at sea,  seagulls in the background (or an angry cloud?).... driverless!  The 6'6 price probably relates to the 12" version. Note the price of the 24" electric boat!  The boat shown has a fold down screen, but this feature had probably been phased out by the time the add was run. There are numerous examples of old artwork being used; Sutcliffe was a small company so the cost of updating artwork would probably have been seen as a 'luxury'!

20" Speedboat IMG_1197