Gee Bee "Junior Sportster" Model-X

  • The Gee Bee model-X was designed in 1930 to race in the Cirrus Engine Company sponsored "All American Flying Derby"(Detroit to Los Angeles and return).An interesting note is that the Model X was originally named the "Dragonfly" as seen on a few rare pictures just after being painted. Just before the All American Air Derby in 1930, the name was changed to Sportster, and repainted on the vertical fin. The Granvilles referred to the single seat Sportsters as "Junior Sportsters", and the models Ys as "Senior Sportsters".

    The model-X had an inverted supercharged 110hp Cirrus engine, and in 1930 it was uncommon to have a supercharger installed on such a small engine.

    Lowell R. Bayles was to fly the new Gee Bee in the Cirrus Derby.

    Lowell Bayles flew a great race but could not beat Lee Gehlbach and his Little Rocket, and took second place with an average speed of 116.40 mph and shared the second prize money of $7,000 with Zantford Granville. Bayles returned to Springfield, Mass in the successful Sportster to a hero's welcome.

    With his share of the prize money, he bought the Model X Sporster which he really enjoyed flying. It was an excellent aerobatic ship and Bayles had given spectators at each of the airfields that he visited during the Derby an airshow performance with the Model X upon his arrival.

    The success of the Model X in the Cirrus Derby demonstrated the durability and reliability of the new Gee Bee design.

    The only aircraft to out perform the Gee Bee was a special built racing plane. The Gee Bee Model X was the top finisher of all the stock production models.

    The Sporty Model had a wingspan of 25 feet with an area of 95 square feet.

    Its length was 17 feet, 3 inches and had a height of 6 feet.

    Fuel capacity 40 gallons, and 3 gallons of oil were provided.

    With the Cirrus Hi Drive engine, the weight was around 900 pounds and the model X boasted a top speed of 140 mph. Cruise speed 120 mph, and a landing speed of 50 mph.

    Lowell Bayles refuels the Gee Bee Model "X" (click picture for a larger view).

    Gee Bee Model "X" (click picture for a larger view).


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