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Sutcliffe Boats

Fig. 6.1 - 12" Speedboat, circa 1930.  This is the rarest variant of the 12" Speedboat

12" Speedboat - 'MINX'

The first 12" speedboat had a simple fold down windscreen and a single large vent on the foredeck. The wire-framed windscreen was a new fabricated part and featured a slot into which a windscreen could be slid.  The whole screen could fold flat for packing and transit. The large vent used was the same as the large vent on the foredeck of the 'hot air' Cabin Cruiser, except that was soldered on, not bolted on.  An example of the first 12" Speedboat is shown in Fig. 6.1

Fig 6.3.  12" Clockwork Speedboat 'MINX', circa 1932

.Fig 5.3 9" RACER 1, circa 1932

The first version of the new MINX came in green and had the same black-on-gold decal style if the brand new RACER 1 (right). Note also the shared windscreen and new rudder design.

Towards the mid 30's Sutcliffe changed the name decal design and simplified it to red lettering on on a clear background. MINX got this new decal and remained in its green colour scheme (see fig 6.4). Notice also that a hole has appeared in the rudder. Whilst it is true to say that the 12" speedboat started production with a single deck vent and ended with a double vent, the transition between a single vent and double vents doesn't seem to be clear cut; for a period in the mid 30's it appears to have been produced in both single and double vent format.

Fig 6.5 - 12" Speedboat 'MINX' - circa 1935. Single deck vent.


Fig 6.6 - 12" Speedboat 'MINX'  - circa 1935. Twin deck vents and red lettered decal style. (Vectis Auctions)

Towards the end of the 30's, Sutcliffe changed the decal style again; this time it adopted a gold italic style with a black border. MINX got this new decal until the end of production in 1939.

Fig 6.8. - 12" Speedboat 'MINX' - circa 1938. This is the final version made prior to the war.

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In 1932, the 12" Speedboat got a bit of a facelift. In that year Sutcliffe introduced thier first innovative 9" hull boat called RACER 1 and at the same time the 12" Speedboat got its simple windscreen, and a name! "MINX"

Fig 6.4. Twin vent MINX circa 1932/33 (Photo - ebay)

In the late 1930's Sutcliffe dropped the oval Sutcliffe logo that was embossed into the foredeck and replaced it with the words 'MADE IN ENGLAND'. Was this a show of patriotism in the lead up to the 2nd World War?


MINX would not re-appear after the war, the 9" boats leading the way from the 50's right through to the 1980's. It would not be until 1980 that the MINX got a final swansong...

Fig 6.7. MINX circa 1937. Note late 30's Italic style decal. This examaple is virtially mint and has a much lighter wooden hatch than most other examples seen.

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Fig 6.9. MINX - circa 1980.

The final MINX (fig. 6.9) used the same hull pressing as the pre-war boats, but the rear well was fabricated, rather than the single 'washing up bowl' pressing of the original boats - was this because the pressing had been lost or damaged? The boat also adopted a very early of vent on the firedeck as well as a very early style of rudder which is a surprise as it was presumably phased out early in the boat's life because it was not particularly effective! It was particularly nice to see the oval SUTTCLIFFE logo on the fordeck; this had not been seen for some 50 years!

'NEW' RACER 1 - circa 1932

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In 1931/32, the design of the rudder was changed; the original thin rectangular design is rather ineffective so the adoption of the 'new' curver rudder destined for the 9" hulls would have improved the ability to control the boat!

Fig. 6.2. 12" Speedboat - circa 1931/32. Note the fold down screen of the earlier boats and the curved rudder (without hole) of the later boats.