A Brief History of Scott Motorcycles
Alfred Angus Scott was born in 1874 in Bradford. He became an apprentice in marine engineering.
Alfred became interested in two stroke engines and in 1908, he developed a 333cc two cylinder two stroke engine with water cooled cylinder heads.
Alfred had no capital for any production facilities, however he had an arrangement with Bradford motor engineers, Ben and William Jowett to build his motorcycles on their premises.
Only six of these Scott motor cycles were built when the Jowett brothers decided to concentrate production on their light car.
Alfred and several friends raised capital and set up the Scott Engineering Company which they ran from premises in Grosvenor Street, Bradford.
In 1909, Scott entered the Isle of Man TT Races for the first time with a machine ridden by Eric Myers, but did not complete the race due to a crash on the seventh lap.
Scott entered the TT Races again in 1910 with two machines ridden by Eric Myers and Frank Philipp.
Both machines finished, with the machine ridden by Frank Philipp becoming the first two-stroke motorcycle ever to complete a full TT course under race conditions when he came in 9th overall.
Eric Myers finished in 24th position.
In 1911, Scott entered three machines. Eric Myers and Frank Philipp raced again and Frank Applebee was the third team member.
Applebee managed to complete the race in 26th place.
Philipp gained the TT lap record with an average speed of 50.11 mph, however he did not manage to finish the race. Neither did Myers.
Only two Scotts were entered in the 1912 TT Races, this time ridden by Frank Philipp and Frank Applebee.
Philipp was unlucky when his rear tyre came off the rim which relegated him to 11th position.
Applebee went on to win the race at an average speed of 48.69mph.
After the success in the 1912 TT, many orders for Scott machines came in which meant the company needed more space for production.
The Scott Engineering Company went public to raise finance for a new factory which was built in Shipley.
The 1913 entries to the TT were ridden by Tim Wood, Frank Applebee and Norman Longfield.
Wood won the race at an average speed of 48.28 mph.
Applebee and Longfield were both forced to retire from the race.
1914 was not a great success for Scott as far as the TT Races were concerned with their best result being 25th place on a machine ridden by Frank Applebee.
The other two riders in the team that year, Tim Wood and H.V. Prescott, both retired from the race.
In 1914, with the outbreak of the First World War, the production of Scott’s civilian motorcycles stopped.
Alfred Scott had developed a three wheeled machine gun carriage which he had intended to sell to the military. Sales to the military did not happen and in 1919 he left the company he had founded to develop the vehicle for civilian use as the Scott Sociable.
This did not prove to be as successful as the Scott motorcycles.
Alfred Scott then sold his interest in the Scott Engineering Company.
The 532cc ‘Standard Tourer’ was produced after the war.
1920 saw the return of the TT Races after the war, however Scott did not have any entries that year.
In 1921, Scott entered four machines in the TT Races.
R.W. Stanfield came 17th. J.W. Moffat came 22nd.
Geoff Clapham and Harry Langman did not finish.
Albert Scott died in 1922 aged only 48.
In 1922, the Scott company introduced the famous Squirrel, its first sporting model to be offered to the general public.
The Squirrel had a 486cc engine to bring it within the 500cc competition limit.
Four racing machines based on the new Squirrel were entered into the TT.
They were ridden by Harry Langman (3rd), Clarrie Wood (4th), Geoff Clapham (9th) and Jimmy Simpson who did not finish the race.
The Squirrel was followed by the Super Squirrel, with revised engines of 498cc or 596cc.
A three speed gearbox with a conventional clutch was offered from 1923.
The famous Flying Squirrel was introduced in 1926.
In 1934, Scott developed an in-line 3 three cylinder water cooled 747cc two stroke machine which was increased in capacity to 986cc.
This proved to be another example of the Scott Company’s innovative engineering.
Unfortunately, these machines never made it into quantity production, due to the outbreak of World War II and the failing business finances.
Shortly after World War II, Scott relaunched the Flying Squirrel. These were available with 500cc or 600cc engines, however they were heavier than the pre-war machines.
They were also expensive for the performance offered and as a result, sales were disappointing.
The company went into voluntary liquidation in 1950.
After the Scott company had gone into liquidation in 1950, it was acquired by the Aerco Jig and Tool Company in Birmingham which was owned by Scott enthusiast, Matt Holder. From premises in St Mary’s Row, Matt Holder continued to build the same model from spare parts produced at Shipley.
The ‘Birmingham Scotts’ remained available into the 1960s.
In 1956 Holder began development of a 596cc model with a duplex frame and telescopic fork front and in 1958 the ‘Birmingham Scott’ was updated by adding a swinging arm frame. An alternator replaced the dynamo.
A new 493cc motorcycle called the Scott Swift was announced but never went further than the development stage.
After showing the prototype Swift at the 1961 Motorcycle Show, potential sales of the Swift were seen to be insufficient to be profitable and the company ceased production, although Matt Holder continued developing and producing one off Scott motorcycles until 1978.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, another Scott enthusiast, George Silk, produced a motorcycle whose engine was based on the Birmingham engine.
These were hand built specials.