Update: 8th February 2015

Thanks to Robert P., a visitor of this website, I’ve been informed of the existence of the Curley Trike. This car is a copy of the Greenwood Special built a few years later (1968). The car has changed hands a few times and is now on the point to be restored!

Thanks to Mini World for the pictures. www.miniworld.co.uk


The origin: Owen Greenwood

Owen Greenwood is a motorcycle rider who was born around 1925. He started his career in racing motorcycles after World War II, circa 1945/1946. He will then race sidecars and by 1963/4, he will start to build his own «sidecar», if you can call it so ...

Indeed, his machine will be very controversial in the discipline since it will be very different from those of other competitors. Firstly, the machine is not powered by a motorcycle engine but with a 4 cylinder 1071 cc Austin Mini Cooper S engine, installed on an original Mini subframe, and bolted to a tubular frame. It seems that the gearbox was an Italian manufactured 5 speed gearbox. Another important element: his sidecar hasn’t got 3 wheels but 4! Finally, the pilot isn’t sat on a saddle, holding handlebars with his hands but sat on a seat with a steering wheel!

In short, at first glance, the Greenwood Special is closer to a car than a sidecar.

Owen Greenwood, and especially his machine, will be very contested by other competitors, and for the simple reason that he won all the races! Some will even question the usefulness of the passenger as the Special Greenwood was very stable.

Moreover, his opponents will soon show their displeasure by asking purely and simply the banishment from British circuits of the Greenwood Special!

However, Owen Greenwood did not build his machine without thinking in depth and had examined in detail the racing rules. It also stated, among other things, that if two rear wheels were spaced less than 8cm, they were regarded only as a single wheel. You can imagine that the two rear wheels of the Greenwood Special were spaced less than 8 cm ...

The story around this machine is still quite unclear, but it seems that after having won quite a lot of races, the Greenwood Special was finally banished from the circuits anyway...

Still, banned or not, it’s the Greenwood Special which inspired Robert Moss for the Mosquito. The first three wheeler produced by Moss will emerge a few years later, in 1971. One may note a certain resemblance between the prototype Mosquito and the Greenwood Special.

Update: July 2013

I recently got in touch with Edward C. His dad was the designer and builder of the Greenwood Special. Edward has sent me some period pictures of the car. Those pictures can be seen in the gallery below.

Of course, if you have information to share with me about Owen Greenwood and his «Greenwood Special», please feel free to send me an email.

Edward C. picture. This picture is very impressive as it shows the trophies won in only one season (1966)! All the results are on the board and they’re quite impressive! In 37 races, the car finished once 3rd, seven times 2nd and twenty nine times 1st!!!

Here are 2 pictures showing the Greenwood Special and the Curley Trike. These were taken at the Gurston Down speed hillclimb in the early 80’s. According to the photographer, «This event was a very bad day for both the Greenwood and Curley three wheelers, strangely both cars had accidents on the Ashes corner or just after and both pillions lost or damaged their ears. The event was held up whilst the car were recovered and the pillions were rushed to hospital, at least one with his ear in a sandwich box...»