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REARWIN 6000M “Speedster” – N20741

The Speedster was designed by Noel Hockaday and Doug Webber in 1932 and designated Model 6000. During test flights the Speedster could not meet government regulations for spin recovery, and over three years passed after initial tests before the 6000 obtained its certificate of approval in late summer of 1937.

Initially, the Speedster was powered by the A.C.E. Cirrus Hi-Drive engine, but by the time the 6000 finally obtained certification, the Cirrus was no longer available. After a quick search, the 125 hp Menasco C-4 engine was chosen, which fit so well with the Speedster that it seemed almost tailor made for the airplane. With the new engine came a slight redesign of the Speedster, after which the airplane was designated the 6000M.

The fuselage framework was constructed of welded steel tubing, faired to shape with wooden formers and fairing strips, and covered with fabric. The wings were built from two laminated spruce spar beams with spruce and plywood girder-type ribs. The leading edges were covered with dural metal sheet and the completed wing was fabric covered. The windshield, side windows, and skylight were all made of Pyralin. A 17 gallon fuel tank was mounted in the root end of each wing and spar beams of the wing were reinforced with plywood gussets at all points of attachment and stress.

All early tests of the 6000M proved that the airplane was quick and agile, and the Speedster was immediately sent to the Miami Air Races to show off Rearwin’s new creation. The Speedster was able to drum up some interest, but it was short lived, so in May of 1938, Ray Beebe set out on an extended national tour to demonstrate the 6000M to Rearwin dealers. The Speedster was a colorful and interesting airplane, and Ray’s demonstrations were huge social successes. Unfortunately, orders failed to come in as Rearwin anticipated, and a few Speedsters were exported to foreign countries. It was estimated that only six examples of the 6000M were built for the American market and a further six to ten were sold overseas during 1937-1940.

In the early 1990s, Tom Bins obtained a 1938 Rearwin 6000M. Tom spent a few years restoring the rare airplane at his home in Eagle River, Wisconsin. The Speedster was later acquired by R. O. Burns, who donated the it to the EAA AirVenture Museum in 2004.

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