1911 Scott 497cc
Lot 279
1911 Scott 3¾hp
Sold for £27,600 (US$ 46,439) inc. premium
Lot Details
1911 Scott 3¾hp
Registration no. RS 3512
Frame no. 238111 (see text)
Engine no. 831 (see text)
Bradford-born inventor Alfred Angas Scott's experiments with two-stroke motorcycle engines began in the closing years of the 19th Century, leading to the grant of a patent in 1904. Scott's original design for a vertical twin two-stroke engine incorporated the central flywheel with 180-degree overhung cranks and slim connecting rods that would characterise his products from then onwards. One of its chief advantages was close spacing to the cylinder axes and main bearings, thus virtually eliminating the vibratory rocking couple hitherto associated with vertical twins. The first complete Scott motorcycle prototype followed in 1908, its twin-cylinder engine, two-speed foot-change gear and all-chain drive marking it out as an exceptionally advanced design for its day.

An arrangement whereby Scott motorcycles would be manufactured by the Bradford firm of Jowett foundered after just six machines had been built, resulting in Alfred Scott setting up his own company in Grosvenor Street, Bradford. By 1911, Alfred Scott's original design had undergone a number of refinements. The handful of machines built by Jowett had been deemed under-powered, leading to an increase in engine capacity from 333cc to 450cc for the first of the Scott-built models. Soon after, the engine capacity was raised again, this time to 486cc for a nominal rating of 3¾hp. Water-cooling was adopted for cylinder head and barrel - previously the latter had been air cooled - together with a 'honeycomb' radiator of Scott's own design. Ever the innovator, Scott fitted a kick-starter, the first time such a device has been used on a motorcycle.

Light weight, ample power and sure-footed handling thanks to a low centre of gravity, were virtues of the Scott motorcycle right from the outset. Not surprisingly, the Scott was soon making a name for itself in the trials of the day, often with its inventor at the controls, and in 1909 the marque made its first appearance at the Isle of Man TT. Ridden by works tester Eric Myers, the lone Scott was eliminated on lap seven when Myers fell. An inauspicious beginning to Scott's Isle of Man adventure, but greater times were just around the corner.

Myers and Frank Phillip were entered in 1910 and this time both Scotts finished, though off the leader-board. The works racers used chain-driven rotary valves in 1911 but without success, prompting a switch to gears for 1912. This would prove a breakthrough year for Scott, works rider Frank Appleby winning the Senior TT having led from the start. It was the first time such a feat had been achieved and the first Senior victory for a two-stroke. Tim Wood duly repeated the trick the following year to give Scott two-in-a-row.

Dating from the marque’s halcyon days, this very early Scott comes with two spare engines – numbers ‘801’ and ‘807’ - the former being recorded on the accompanying Swansea V5C document and the latter on the old-style green continuation logbook (issued August 1969) and the older of its two Pioneer Certificates (issued 1978). The engine currently fitted engine (‘831’) is recorded on the more recent Pioneer Certificate (issued 1999).

The continuation logbook records the date of original registration as 8th August 1922, this being shortly after the introduction of the Roads Act of 1920, which required local councils to register all vehicles at the time of licensing and to allocate a separate number to each. (Many vehicles, although in existence for several years in some cases, were only registered for the first time after the Act’s passing). Only two owners are listed: Leslie James Lawrie, of Banchory, Kincardineshire and Clement Oscar ‘Tim’ Day, of Norwell Woodhouse, Nottinghamshire, the second of whom acquired the Scott in March 1978. ‘RS 3512’ was next owned, from 1992, by Michael Gluckman, of Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, from whom it was purchased by Brian Verrall in January 1999 (copy receipt on file). In addition to the aforementioned documentation, the machine is offered with a quantity of photographs; copy Scott brochure and instruction manual; assorted correspondence; sundry invoices (one for an engine rebuild); copy and old-style Swansea V5s; and some Scott-related (copy) literature and technical drawings. (It should be noted that the current Swansea V5C registration document incorrectly records the frame number as ‘239111’).

Courtesy of Bonhams and The Sunbeam Motor Cycle Club, complimentary inclusion in the 71st Pioneer Run for Veteran Motorcycles is included with this Lot. The Run takes place on the 22 March 2009.
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