Please note.....I don't own a Scooter-Car, This Page is just for the history on the car.
The History of the Rytecraft Scooter Car.
In the 1930's London was starting to get very congested with traffic. The Government who were getting very concerned about this up and coming problem, which would only get worse in the future put up money to any Company who could build and produce a small car to run around the capital.
"The British Motor Boat Manufactureing Co.Ltd" who were building Motor Boats at the time, took up the challange. So, Rytecraft Co Ltd started building these little cars in 1935 produced a little town runabout called a SCOOTER-CAR. The car was powered by a 98cc Villiers two stroke petrol engine driven through a gearbox powering one rear wheel, through a centrifugle clutch. The car had a top speed of only 10 mph and had a fuel consumption of 70 m.p.g which was amazing considering most cars were only doing around 10 to 15 m.p.g in those days. Over 1,000 of these little cars were produced until the start of the Second Word War where production was halted.
These next few items are photocopys that someone had given me some years ago, they are very poor quality but you can see the photographs of how these little cars looked like.
I think most of these photos were publicity shots when the little cars was launched in 1935.. I like the bottom photo of the little pick up. I don't know HOW the driver got inside it, or drove it ?
Note....The Driver sat in the little truck, I would assume he gets in through the sunroof ?
Here's another photo of BJJ 10 without the tilt fitted, nice trucks in the back ground.
Here's a rare colour photo of BJJ 10....I'm not sure what's happening here ? I think the horse must be giving directions to the driver of the truck !
The Top Photo is a Bell Boy from Harrods in London. The Scooter Car is towing a trailer I suspect with Suitcases inside. While below is that little Scooter Truck Again.
Top Photo. A Scooter-Car travels to India. Bottom. A drawing of a Scooter car.
This is a nice photo of the two Woman with their fur coats on, sat in the Scooter-Car next to a larger car.
Another Woman driving the Scooter-Car in her Fur Coat, Note the big case on the back of the car. Taken in 1935 at London Airport.
Taken Somewhere in London, It must be Summer as the two young girls are not wearing any Fur Coats !
You Don't even have to carry a jack with you..............
Top Photo.......They even did a Scooter-Van version in 1937.
Note the front radiator grill on this Scooter car SPECIAL, it looks to me like a miniture Rolls Royce ?
This looks to me a recent photo of another Scooter car SPECIAL, but with a different front grill fitted ? I wonder if this car is still around today ?
I Introduce Mr Jim Parkinson Who in 1967 Drove his Scooter-Car around the World. It took him 421 Days to do this epic trip.
He left Dover in England on May 25th 1965 and headed East. This was the Route he took.
This is When Jim found the little Scooter Car on a Farm in Sussex back in 1964.
Back In 1964 Jim came across this Little Scooter-Car on a Farm in Sussex. Someone had stripped the Scooter-car down and left it as it was for a few years. The owner had decieded to sell the car as it was. It was discribed in the Log Book as an "Open Two Seater with cigarette box attachment" When Jim saw the car the body was a in a very rusty state with all it's parts there, be it all over the floor ! The Scooter Car Log Book stated that the car was Built in 1935 by Rytecraft, Co Ltd.
After Purchasing the Scooter-Car, Jim, who was 31 at the time working for a living as a aircraft draughtsman started restoring the little car with the intention of driving the Scooter-Car around the World after it was finished. Jim spent around £70 and about 900 hours to finish the car off. The engine is a 98cc two-stroke Villiers single cylinder with a 16 to 1 petrol/oil mix. Jim did a few modifications of his own. The engine would produce 1 h.p. at 3,000 r.p.m. with a fuel compsumption of 60 miles per gallon. The car would have a top speed of 12 M.P.H. and a cruising speed of 10 M.P.H.
After only doing a one hour trial with the Scooter-Car Jim decieded he was ready for the epic trip, So after packing minimal clothing and provisions he set off from Dover on 25th May 1965. The Ferry docked at Ostend and Jim set off on his trip Eastwards towards Brussels with only £250 in cash for spending money in his pocket.
Jim had resherched into the condition of the roads before he left England because the little car was so low to the ground he was worried that it would ground out. So he had to make sure he picked the smoothest way. He carried on at 10 M.P.H. throught Belgium, Holland and Germany, this is where he had his first minor accident when a Military Truck passed him so close it forced the Scooter-Car into the kerb, bending the stub axle and damaging the front wing. after taking a day off to do the repair on the road side Jim carried on, taking time off to visit the "Two-stroke Engine Museum" by the M.Z. Factory near the Czech Border As the Scooter-Car was slightly underpowered he struggled up steep hills, so there where times when Jim had get out and push the car.
Jim trying to turn right in the Scooter-Car on a busy road in Tokyo.
Jim Drove the Scooter-car sitting in a hammock as this was the best way to get a comfitable ride. Jim could not afford to stay in Hotels overnight (He was not sure if he could make them in time before it went dark !) So he took with him a one man tent with an air mattress for comfort, which he pitched on the side of the road. The Scooter-car was quite reliable due to Jim's determination to check to car over with spanners and tighten up lose bolts which oftern would shake loose along the bumpy roads. There were two occasions when Jim had to remove and strip down the engine to de-choke the cylinder head due too much oil in the fuel mix.
The Little Scooter-Car is seen driving down a busy Motorway in Japan.
After spending many weeks in Japan, he had aranged a flight on a cargo plane to get him over to America from Japan, he had to dismantle the Scooter-Car first to pack the parts into small wooden cases. The cargo plane was on it's way to San Francisco U.S.A. When he landed Jim was rapidly running out of money so he managed to get a job in a Garage doing odd jobs and doing some T.V apperances he managed to save up enough money to carry on with his trip. He drove down the Pacific Highway to Los Angeles from there he went eastwards across land to New Orleans. then deturing down to Miami in Florida where he spent some time resting. After a few weeks he drove up the coast through the State of Carolina, and found himself being stopped by the Police for going to slow ?
There is a 40 M.P.H. Minimum speed limit over here said the Policeman ! And you were only clocked at doing 10 M.P.H. ? Jim had to explain that the little car was only desingned to only do 12 M.P.H. Maximum speed, so he could not go any faster even if he wanted to ! He was told by the Police Officer to get out of the State as quickly as possible and to never bring that little car here again ! Jim then diverted West, first to see the Harrah's Museum in Sebring and then to the New York Show at Indianapolis. He then went North East and over the Canadian Boarder to Monteal where he boarded a Ship back to England.
The Little Scooter-Car had travelled 15,000 miles under it's own power which took Jim 421 days to complete ! A great achivement by a little car that was only designed as a local runabout around a City.
Jim Parkinson asks a Policeman for directions.............
In June this year (2012) I managed to get to the Brooklands Motor Museum to search out the little Scooter-Car.
This is the sign on the windscreen.
This is the Hammock that Jim sat in to drive the little car around the World.
More smaller Hammocks to store his items.
The Two-Stroke 98cc Viliers Engine.
The Notice Board in front of the Scooter-Car
Something has now occurred to me now, This round the World trip happend in May 1965......In 2015 it will be the 50th Anniversary of this Scooter-Car going around the World.
I just wondered if Brooklands Museum would give permision to let this car out to do a repeat trip around the World again ? But we would need a young keen driver, any takers ?
A nice photo of a Scooter-Car just passing a Lorry. Note, the name on the side of the lorry....Rytecraft
Rytecraft Scooter-Cars even made it to the Fairground Rides. They could earn upto £95 per day letting teanagers ride in the little cars.
Mr Chris Booth contacted me a few month's ago through my website, He has a Fairground Rytcraft Scooer-Car. Above are some photos of his restoration.
Above, is the restoration completed now........ It looks like he has made a wonderfull job on this Scooter-Car.
This is an up to date photo of a restored Scooter Car, I'm not sure who owns it ?
Here's a moden day photo of a Scooter car, Again I don't know who owns it ?
Rytecraft also built wooden plywood motor boats for the Fairground with petrol engines fitted.
Note...The engine is in the middle of the boat which would revolve around to turn the propleller in different directions for sharp turns.
But like the Fairground Supercar Speedway Cars the boats were suffering with the same problem of "not starting when requied" So they also went over to 110 v electrics.
Scooter-Boats at Crystal Beach in Canada. Top Photo...These boats are the electric type with 110 volt power from the mesh up above, earthing out through the water.
Bottom Photo. Scooter-Boats on a leisure lake fitted with the petrol engines,
Above..This is typicle of a water dodgem ring......Boats were powered by electricity.
And now to present day....The Scooter-Car continues on, in the form of the Scootercar Club which is led by Mr Stephen Boyd from Norfolk.
........................................History of the Hunslet Scootercar
The Scootercar was a British three Wheeled Microcar built in Leeds by Scootercars Ltd, a division of the locomotive builder, the Hunslet Engine Company between 1957 and 1964.
It was allegedly built because the Wife of one of the Directors wanted something easier to park than her Jaguar.
The Shape of the car was designed by Henry Brown who did it by sitting on top of a Villiers engine and then having an assistant draw an outline around him.
The Body was built in glass fiber and was very tall for it's size being 60" high 87" long and only 52" wide. It was nicknamed "THE TELEPHONE BOX".
This little car can carry two people. Power came from a Villiers 9E 197cc single cylinder two-stroke engine coupled to a four speed motorcycle type gearbox and chain drive to the single rear wheel. Steering was handlebars. The top speed of the Scootercar was 50 M.P.H.
In 1960 came the De-Luxe or Mark 2, with a totally redesigned body with more room and seating for three people. The Mark 2 had a top speed of 55 M.P.H. And sold from new in 1960 for £275.
In 1961 the De-Luxe Twin Mark 3 cars appeared fitted with a 324cc twin engine giving a top speed of 68 M.P.H.
Production stopped in 1964 after a total of about 970 Scootercars were made, but only 20 had the larger engine.