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British Industrial History

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GWK

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December 1912.
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November 1919. Specifications.
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October 1923. Models, prices and specifications.
March 1924
Reg No: HO 7192.
Reg No: HO 7192.
Reg No: HO 7192.
Reg No: HO 7192.
Reg No: HO 7192.

The G.W.K. was a British car made in Home Works, Datchet between 1911 and 1931.

It got its name from its founders, Arthur Grice, J. Talfourd Wood and C. M. Keiller. J. Talfourd Wood and C. M. Keiller had worked together at the Great Western Railway. The cars were unusual in using a friction drive system.

The prototype was made in a stable in Beckenham, Kent, and used a Coventry-Simplex engine, rear mounted. The drive system involved the engine, which was mounted across the chassis, turning a disc on which a wheel could be moved from the periphery to the centre. Top speed was with the driven wheel furthest from the centre and reverse was obtained by moving it past the centre.

1911 The first car was a two-cylinder 8hp friction-driven light car

1912 G.W.K. cars were advertised by distributors Cyril Patterson, Wilberforce and Co of Caterham.

1912 A few examples were sold before the company moved to Datchet, Buckinghamshire

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices see the 1917 Red Book

Proper production now started still using a water cooled, Coventry-Simplex twin cylinder engine of 1,045 cc and 1,069 two seat cars were made before the outbreak of World War 1 and a move to war work.

1914 Moved to the larger Cordwalles Works in Maidenhead

WWI During the war the company was run by Grice as his partners were in the army.

GWK's greatest days were before World War 1 and after 1918 financial success eluded them.

1919 G.W.K. (1919) Ltd. was incorporated - motor car manufacturers, of Cordwalles Works, Maidenhead.

1919 Share prospectus for £300,000. Directors are Henry Newton Knights, Horace Ambrose Francis, George Edward Read Adair, Arthur George Grice, John Talfourd Wood and Clifton Macnee Keiller. Orders on hand for more then 5,000 cars. [1]

Grice left the company in 1920 to start the unsuccessful Unit Car Co leaving Wood and Keiller in charge.

They re-introduced the pre-war model, now called the Type E, and a further 82 were made largely from left over parts. A new model, the Type F was introduced in 1919 and was front engined with a 1,368 cc four cylinder engine, still by Coventry-Simplex, with shaft drive to the friction disc at the rear. It was not a good seller partly because of the noise from the transmission. The Type H overcame most of the drive line problems but suffered from the reputation of its predecessor. About 1,700 of the Types F and H were made between 1919 and 1926.

1922 Employees: 300-350. Directors: Tom Norton, H. Newton Knights, M.P., G. E. R. Adair, J. T. Wood, C. M. Keiller, J. G. Raphael. Products: G.W.K. 2 and 4-seater 4-cylinder light car, G.W.K. light commercial van.

The company had not given up on the rear-engined idea and a new car, the Type J, appeared in 1922 but only a few were sold. It had a bonnet and radiator very similar to the front engined cars.

They went into temporary liquidation in 1922 and Wood and Keiller left but Grice returned in 1923.

1923 Concessionaires were W. G. Nicholl and Co

GWK also sold an imported Belgian Imperia car between 1924 and 1928 as the British Imperia. There were plans to build the Imperia at Maidenhead but these came to nothing.

No cars seem to have been made between 1926 and 1930.

From 1927 Streamline Cars used the Maidenhead factory

The final car, the type G of 1930 was also rear engined, with the engine behind the rear axle, only a few were made.

1931 The company finally closed with the Cordwallis factory being used by Streamline Cars and later Marendaz Special Cars.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Dundee Courier - Monday 10 November 1919