Gavin McGuire, Tandridge, Surrey, UK, Tel: 01892 770310, 07770 316482, E-mail:

GWK 8hp

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Year 1914

You can be forgiven for not being aware of G.W.K. motor cars but they are nonetheless both charming and interesting and I will introduce them by quoting directly from Georgano’s Complete Encyclopedia of Motorcars which opens its description by saying “The G.W.K. was notable in that it was a successful instance of the application of friction drive. At first weight was low and the vertical twin-cylinder side-valve Coventry-Simplex engine, which lived at the rear, could push it along at about 35mph!”.

The company was started in 1911 with its name coming from its founders Messrs. Grice, Wood and Keiller who set up business in Beckenham, Kent then moved to Datchet in Buckhamshire in 1912 followed by another move to Maidenhead in 1914. In the 1913 ACU six day trial a GWK was one if three cars to finish out of the twelve that started and it won the Gold Medal in the four wheel class.  

 Apart from being nicely made and pretty to look at are easy to drive as you don’t have to double declutch to engage gears because as there aren’t any. As you can see in the video the engine powers a rotating disc from which drive is taken by a wheel mounted at 90 degees to it. When the drive wheel is moved outwards across the disc the car will go faster and when it moves inwards to the centre of the disc the car will go slower so you have a totally variable gearing system. To avoid the wheel scrubbing as it moves across the disc it is moved away from the disc during the move and released back to it when drive is taken up again.

The Coventry Simplex 8 hp 1069cc twin cylinder side-valve engine sounds very good and by foresight on (I imagine!) the owner’s part the car comes with a spare engine and variable transmission which you can see at the end of the video!

The file will please those of you who like a car with history as it contains a collection of old letters about the car and a selection of black and white photographs of it with various people who appear to be its early owners and or friends judging by their contemporary attire!  

It comes with a Veteran Car Club dating certificate which notes that it has a replacement body though you wouldn’t pick this up by looking at the car as it is clearly a coachbuilt replica of the original.

This is a quite fascinating machine which apart from giving you a lot of entertaining motoring will certainly attract a lot of attention wherever you go.