The Gee Bee (deriving its name from a shortened form of “Granville Brothers”) racers became the unofficial symbol of the “Golden Age” of flight during the interwar years. Its unique design and high-speed performance allowed it to take part in many of the air races that treated fans to something more than what was to be found in the Great Depression.
The collapse of world markets all but killed the sport plane business, forcing many smaller aircraft firms to take a turn in designing and producing new implements suitable for air racing – and the prize money inherent in such competition. The Granville line of racers proved quite the success for the little Granville company.
The Model R-2 Super Sportster fitted the Pratt & Whitney Wasp powerplant. Pilot Jimmy Haizlip was hurt when it crashed in 1933. Remains of the R-1 and R-2 models were joined together as a “mutt” of sorts, producing the aptly-named Model R-1/R-2 Super Sportster. The R-1/R-2 was given another Pratt & Whitney Wasp radial engine and operated until it crashed in 1935, killing pilot Cecil Allen.