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Granville Bros Z Super Sportster

The Granville brothers first Gee Bee Sportster were fairly orthodox: but in 1931 they produced the Super Sportster Model Z which was pure racer, with a huge radial engine in a barrel-like fuselage, stubby braced wings and enormous wheel-spats.

With an engine borrowed from Pratt & Whitney and propeller borrowed from Curtiss, the Gee Bee Model Z Sportser entered competition. In one race, the Gee Bee averaged 267.342 miles per hour, the fastest speed ever recorded for a land plane. Later in the year with a upgraded 800-hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340, the model Z was clock in at 281.75 mph.

In December 1931, while trying to set a new air speed record, Lowell Bayles had crashed in the Gee Bee and died. Movie footage and analysis of the wreckage revealed that a loose fuel cap had come off and smashed the Model Z’s canopy, causing Bayles to lose control.

Engine 535-hp, supercharged Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Jr.
Span 25 ft
Length 17 ft. 9 in
Height 8 ft. 2 in
Wing area 75 sq. ft
Gross wt. 2,280 lb
Empty wt. 1,400 lb
Fuel capacity 103 USG
Top speed 270 mph.
Cruise speed 230 mph.
Seats 1


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