1938 Wills Speed Set and Checklist

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Wills Speed
Year 1938
Size 1 3/8″ x 2 5/8″
Images Color
Type Tobacco
Number in Set

1938 Wills Speed Set Overview

This international tobacco card set was issued by Wills Tobacco for their cigarettes. Wills issued a variety of tobacco card sets in the 1930s, including other sports releases. This particular series, like many, includes a total of 50 cards.

Eight years prior to this set, Wills created another set, also titled Speed. That set was very similar to this, only with many different subjects

The set is simply titled, Speed. The set includes automobiles, airplanes, ships/boats, motorcycles, and trains. It does not merely picture vehicles. Rather, the backs reference specific operators of those crafts. Additionally, several of the auto racing cards, in particular, mention specific races in which the cars appeared. Famous race car driver, Captain George E.T. Eyston, is included, for example, as is auto racer and Sir Malcolm Campbell, who set several land and water speed records and appears with his Bluebird motor boat.

A total of 22 cards feature airplanes and flying craft, eight picture trains, 11 feature automobiles/motorcycles, and nine feature ships/boats. The boating subset include a range of types, including large ships and smaller motor boats.

Fronts of the cards include color pictures and the title of the craft pictured. The back has a brief description of the craft, as well as a card number, the title of the set, and indicates they were issued by the Imperial Tobacco Company of Great Britain & Ireland, Ltd. with Wills Cigarettes.

Backs also included a separate mention that collector albums for the cards could be purchased from tobacconists for one penny. These albums, true to the price, were inexpensively made with paper covers and interior pages.

The cards are a bit rarer than many other Wills sets of the later 1930s.

1938 Wills Speed Set Checklist

  1. De Havilland “Albatross” Transport
  2. Armstrong Whitworth “Ensign” Transport
  3. Short “Empire” Flying-Boat Transport
  4. Lockheed 14 “Super Electra” Transport
  5. De Havilland “Comet” Racer
  6. Percival Mew “Gull” III Racer
  7. Macchi Castoldi 72 Racer
  8. Hawker “Hurricane” Fighter
  9. Supermarine “Spitfire” Fighter
  10. D.F.W. Messerschmitt Fighter
  11. Bristol “Glenheim” Bomber
  12. Boeing B-17 Bomber
  13. Heinkel Bomber
  14. Savoia-Marchetti Bomber
  15. “Thunderbolt”
  16. “Flying Spray”
  17. “Speed of the Wind”
  18. “Mormon Meteor”
  19. Napier Railton
  20. M.G. Magnete
  21. E.R.A.
  22. Mercedes-Benz
  23. Auto Union
  24. German High-Speed Motor Coach
  25. Norton
  26. B.M.W.
  27. Velocette
  28. D.K.W.
  29. “Bristolian” Express
  30. “Coronation Scot” Express
  31. “Princess Elizabeth”
  32. “Coronation Express”
  33. Santa Fe “Super Chie” Diesel Flyer
  34. “Denver Zephyr” Diesel Flyer
  35. German Diesel Flyers
  36. Streamlined Propeller Railcar
  37. The “Queen Mary”
  38. The “Normandie”
  39. The “Empress of Japan”
  40. The “Stirling Castle”
  41. The “Prince Baudouin”
  42. H.M.S. Hood
  43. H.M.S. Southampton
  44. The “Admiral Graf”
  45. H.M.S. “Icarus”
  46. H.M.S. “Thames”
  47. H.M. Motor Torpedo-Boat
  48. Sir Malcolm Campbell’s “Bluebird”
  49. Speed Boat “Notre Dame”
  50. Outboard Motor Boat “Chick III”

Follow Pre-War Cards on Twitter and also be sure to like our page on Facebook.