1938 Scott Flying Squirrel

This entry is also available in: Russian


Scott motorcycles are almost unknown in Russia. In this regard, we took the liberty of making a small “guide” for those who want to understand the history of the brand and its technical details.

Depending on your goals, we suggest you read the entire article or go straight to the description of the “Motorworld by V.Sheyanov” motorcycle :

  1. Brand history.
  2. Historical and technical details.
  3. Motorworld’s motorcycle.

Scott motorcycles history.

Scott Motorcycles and its legendary models Squirrel, Super Squirrel, and Flying Squirrel were at their peak of popularity in the 20s and 30s of the last century, sometimes head and shoulders ahead of competitors with similar engine’s displacement, but… There always was a small “but” that never allowed Scott motorcycles to stand on one step with the legendary Brough Superior or, at least, Triumph. About this “but” will be our today’s article.

Альфред Ангас Скотт, 1923 год
Альфред Ангас Скотт, 1923 год

Scott was founded by Alfred Angas Scott. You have probably heard this name if you are interested in the history of motorcycles since it was Scott who invented and/or patented the kickstarter, mono shock-absorbing suspension, rotary intake valves, drip oil lubrication, central crankshaft bearings, etc… And most importantly, it is Scott’s patented designs that are the basis for the production of modern two-stroke engines.

In fact, the first Scott was so powerful that as soon as it hit the racetrack in 1911, the actual displacement of these engines was multiplied by 1.32, which automatically put Scott in the next level class. The reason is simple – four-stroke machines of the same displacement couldn’t compete with Scott motorcycles. Yes, it became harder to win, but Scott mentioned this fact in every ad, which had a positive impact on sales.

At the beginning of the 20th century, as it is now, no motorcycle manufacturer could count on high sales level until he wins the T.T. Tourist Trophy on the Isle of Man. Scott was no exception and raced the TT several times between 1910 and 1930. In 1910, the Scott was the first two-stroke motorcycle to finish the TT race, and in 1911 the Squirrel that Frank Phillip rode set the record for an average lap speed of 80.65 km/h (50.11 mph). This was the beginning of the winning streak: Scott’s motorcycles were the fastest on the lap in 1912, 1913, and 1914, and also won the race in 1912 and 1913.

Капитан Том Мур на мотоциклк Scott на гонках Isle of Man T.T.

The First World War (1914-1918) civilian sales of Scott motorcycles, but English two-strokes served in the world’s largest armies. Scott motorcycles were supplied to France, Belgium, and Russia.

Армия, безусловно, оценила мотоциклы Скотта.
Армия, безусловно, оценила мотоциклы Скотта.

In 1919, Alfred Scott had left the company and founded a new one, continuing to develop the Scott Sociable – a pioneering three-wheeler, not as successful as the Scott motorcycle, while the Scott Motorcycle Company continued without a founding father.

Реклама Scott Sociable

Great engineer A. A. Scott was also fond of speleology and was an avid cave explorer. Unfortunately, this hobby caused his early death at the age of 48. In 1923, Alfred Scott died of pneumonia, falling ill while driving Sociable in wet clothes, after a grueling tour of the caves. His ideas, however, continued to live on.

After the war, in 1922, the new Squirrel model was introduced. It was followed by the Super Squirrel in 1925 and the Flying Squirrel in 1926. The last one made the Scott motorcycle truly famous: the first in the history of the brand, the Flying Squirrel received a three-speed gearbox and a modern duplex frame instead of a simpler but lighter monotube.

Scott Squirrel 1922 г.в.
Scott Squirrel 1922 г.в.

In the early 30s of the last century, the model, equipped with an outdated frame and a two-speed gearbox, was discontinued; in each new season, the weight of the motorcycle increased due to an increasing number of additional options, which negatively affected the dynamics of the motorcycles.

In 1934/35 Scott Motorcycle introduced a brand new model equipped with an in-line three-cylinder 750 cc water-cooled engine. A little later a version with a “liter” engine was presented, but none of these motorcycles were put into mass production.

The gradual changes resulted in one of the heaviest Scott models in 1939. The Scott Clubman Special weighed more than 180 kilograms and although the top speed reached the coveted 90 mph (145 km/h), against the backdrop of Triumph’s guaranteed 100 mph (160 km/h), it was dubious merit of the highly tuned engine of an outdated design.

1939 Scott Clubman Special
1939 Scott Clubman Special

All in all, the Scott Flying Squirrel two-stroke motorcycles never managed to gain a significant share of the whole motorcycle market. The “Squirrels” were expensive, the engine design was specific, and the radiator of the cooling system was easily damaged. This is how the production of Scott motorcycles was curtailed in 1940, and the plant switched to the production of military products.

After the end of World War II, Scott restarted the Flying Squirrel, but only the 600cc engine was available. Due to the more massive wheels, the model became even heavier, and due to the difficulties with production, it became more expensive. After a few hard years, the company was closed in 1950.

1948 Scott Flying Squirrel
1948 Scott Flying Squirrel

But the Scott motorcycle story did not end there either. In the late ’50s, the Scott production license was bought by Matt Holder, who decided to restart production in Birmingham, England. In 1956, the Birmingham Scott was announced – it was a model with a 596 cc engine, duplex frame, telescopic front fork, and rear suspension. The water-cooled radiator with a modified cast, and the Pilgrim oil pump remained characteristic of the Scott..

Birmingham Scott
Birmingham Scott

In 1958, the Scott Swift model was announced with a 500 cc engine, which was supposed to accelerate the model faster than the coveted 145 km/h. But Scott Swift did not go into mass production and Matt Holder returned to the old-style engines. Birmingham Scott motorcycles were produced until the late 1960s and all the time retained the features of the original Scott models.

In the early ’70s the Silk Scott was released, originally based on the Birmingham Scott engine. When the production rights prevented George Silk from casting replicas of the engine, he developed his own motor and started the Silk 700S production.

Silk motorcycles were produced in small numbers until 1978 when the history of this glorious brand finally ended. It is worth mentioning, however, that even the 1978 models retained the features of the very first Scott motorcycle of 1908.

If you do not want to read the technical “tediousness”, go straight to the description of our motorcycle: Motorworld’s exhibit.

Technical and historical details.

Much of the information gathered below is based on the Scott Technicalities collection of articles originally written by Bill Jamieson. In the original, the historical information, well-spiced with technical details, takes up 867 typewritten pages but don’t be alarmed, we will leave only the most interesting.

Like any person who first encountered Scott motorcycles, we felt a stupor: there seems to be one single Squirrel model, but there is also a Flying Squirrel, a Tourist Squirrel, and even a Squirrel Sprint… How to distinguish them, when and which model was produced, why are Scott motorcycles so popular and how progressive they were at the production start?

Let’s take a look at Scott’s motorcycles in sequence, from the first model to the 1938 motorcycle, which is presented in the motorcycle museum “Motorworld by V.Sheyanov”.

The first Scott motorcycle was built on the basis of a bicycle frame, in the steering column of which Scott installed a homemade two-cylinder engine, which in 1908 was cooled not only by air but also had a “radiator”. The “radiator” was part of the engine’s head and was a finned tube that was attached to a finned water tank.

For the first time in mass production, the familiar liquid-cooled radiator appeared only in 1911 and until 1914 all Scott motorcycles had a pronounced “waist” around the cylinders, which provided water cooling of the engine.

Also, up to 1914, Scott motorcycles used carburetors of their own design, located in the free space between the two cylinders, and the oil that was required to operate the two-stroke engine was poured and stored in the frame tubes.

In 1913, Alfred Scott got rid of the complicated cylinder head, realizing that the metal around the spark plug wells was overcooled and thus sealed the water cooling channels at the top of the cylinders. This engine design remained unchanged until 1923.

Further, in order not to tire you with a detailed description of each model, let’s summarize the significant events in the history of the brand, presented in chronological order, in a table.

1921Sports SquirrelEngine. 486cc, 70mm bore, 62.5mm stroke.Distinctive features. Front drum brake, alloy pistons.
1923The 532 cc engine and 3-speed gearbox are presented for the first time.
1925Super SquirrelPresented for the first time hemispherical heads, alloy pistons.Engine. 498 cc, bore 68.2625 mm, stroke 68.25 mm., engine series Z or596 cc, bore 74.6125 mm, stroke 68.25 mm.Distinctive features. Drum brakes, gearbox chain guards, Best & Lloyd oil pump, oil tank mounted on the front frame tube above the radiator.
19262 Speed FlyerA racing version with a 2-speed gearbox appeared on the free sale.
3 Speed FlyerThe 3-speed version is racing T.T.Introduced a heavy-duty crankshaft mounted using 3/8 “and 1/4” rollers.Engines with an enlarged crankcase received the letter A at the end of the number (example FZ 2322 A).Pilgrim oil pump and magneto are driven by one chain.
FlyerFY or FZ engines are presented, from the technical view, they were uprated 1925 Super Squirrel engines.
Distinctive features. Open-type frame, ie. without a top tube. 2-speed gearbox. Separate oil and petrol tanks.
Модели T.T. Distinctive features. Duplex frame. 3-speed gearbox. Girder front fork. 7-inch front brake. Exhaust system with two outlet ports in the cylinder block.The predecessor of the 3 Speed Flying Squirrel.Silencer at the front of the crankcase with two short but thick exhaust pipes. Binks 3 Jet carburetor. Additional chain lubrication tank mounted on the seat tube. Both brakes are controlled by one lever.Bore 68.25 mm, stroke 68.25 mm.
1927Flying SquirrelAnalogue of the 3 Speed Flyer (see 1926 onwards) for public sale.FZ / FY engines – 498 or 596 cc replica engines used in the 1926 T.T.Distinctive features. Muffler at the front of the crankcase with two long and thin exhaust pipes. No drip chain lubrication. Timken roller bearings on the steering column. Independent brake control.
T.T.Limited edition, never produced again.
1928Presented for the first time. Oil cooling of the cylinder walls is used as standard. Electric lighting is now available as an option.
Flying SquirrelThe predecessor of the Replica version (introduced in 1929). Equipped with an additional hand pump that cools the cylinder walls with oil.The engine is short-stroke.The frame is 1 / 1.5 “longer than all subsequent models.Rear brake drum and hub – Enfield 8-inch.The maximum speed is 85 mph (136.8 km / h).
1929Tourer Flying SquirrelFirst time presented model. A cheaper version of the Flying Squirrel.Distinctive features. Duplex frame, white gas tank sides. Webb fork and wheels. “Narrow” gas tank (“wide” was installed on the “de Luxe” and “Replica” models). Shorter wheelbase than in 1928.Engines “Replica”:498 cc, bore 66.6 mm, stroke 71.4 mm.,596 cc, bore 73.02 mm, stroke 71.4 mm.
Sprint SpecialLight open-type frame, “Replica” engine
Dirt TrackSame as Sprint Special, but with “Super” style plunger fork.
Sports 2 SpeedThe tank is similar to that of the earlier Flyer models, but with the oil tank cap located behind the gas tank cap (in the direction of travel). Enlarged brakes.
Replica modelSimilar to the 1928 Flying Squirrel but with an 8 ” Enfield brake drum on the rear axle.Long-stroke engines:RZ 498 cc, bore 66.6 mm, stroke 71.4 mm.RY 596 cc, bore 73 mm, stroke 71.4 mm.
Speedway modelDistinctive features. Open-type frame, “long stroke” RZ engine with the right exhaust pipe. 3-speed gearbox. Very small gas tank, small radiator. Super Squirrel fork.
1930Replica engines now became Powerplus Replica motors.PZ – 498 cc, bore 66.6 mm, stroke 71.4 mm.,PY – 596 cc, bore 73.02 mm, stroke 71.4 mm.
Tourer Flying SquirrelAdded chain guards, otherwise unchanged.
Flying Squirrel de LuxeAdded chain guards, otherwise unchanged.
Модель ReplicaPZ and PY engine. Pilgrim oil pump on the right side of the crankcase.
Sprint SpecialNew model with open-type frame and oval tanks. PY and PZ engines. Webb fork.
Speedway modelWebb Dirt Track fork

There was nothing unusual in the further development of the Scott models. Like many other manufacturers of those years, the Scott Motorcycle Company found its niche and systematically, from year to year, updated the models of accessories and collected profits from sales. And just like many other manufacturers, every generation of Scott motorcycles has been prepared for the November show. A model, for example, produced in 1938, could have been released in November-December 1937.

Also, Scott had a very interesting way of numbering engines: information about the volume, model, and, in fact, the year of manufacture of the engine is encoded in the number. The numbers were stamped in ascending order, but until 1924 they did not have letters in the number. Later, depending on the last letter of the number, Z or Y, the volume of the engine also changed – 498 cc or 596 cc respectively. A feature of the DPY engines (73.02 x 71.4 mm – 596 cc), which were replicas of the engines installed on the 1930 TT models, were the detachable engine heads.

By the way, the same index (DPY) was used on engines assembled by Matt Holder between 1951 and 1956 based on casting blocks from the old factory in Shipley. The first motor in this series was the DPY5427.

Motorworld’s exhibit

1938 Scott Flying Squirrel из коллекции "Мотомира Вячеслава Шеянова"
1938 Scott Flying Squirrel из коллекции “Мотомира Вячеслава Шеянова”

The following changes took place in the 1938 model range:

  1. The Webb front fork became a standart.
  2. The frame had changed and now there was no room for a manual gear lever, although the foot lever was still bolted, as was the case in 1933 when it was first introduced to shift gears with the foot rather than the hand.
  3. Electric lighting became a basic option in 1935, although it could be optionally bought from 1924 onwards.

An automatic voltage regulator appeared only in 1937 and only then the need for a mechanical charge regulator disappeared. The Lucas MCR-1 regulator was located under the saddle, on the right seat tube.

Objectively, by 1938, the uniqueness of the brand manifested itself only in an unusual and, let’s be honest, inconvenient for everyday use two-stroke engine; in a design that echoed the models of the 20s; little things, like a flying squirrel on a sound signal, which delighted only fans of the brand.

To summarize, the 1938 model almost completely repeats the 1933 model, which, in turn, was not much different in technical terms from the models of the ’20s and which, with minor changes, were produced until 1940.

Like many other British motorcycles of the 30s, the Scott Flying Squirrel is almost unknown in the CIS, isn’t very popular in Europe, but is well known in its homeland, Great Britain. We hope that our visitors will really like the Squirrel. Well, who likes the English 2-stroke?

1938 Scott Specifications

Manufacturer Scott Motorcycles, Shipley, England
Years of issue 1908 – 1950
Quantity, pcs
Current prices
Type 2-cylinder, two-stroke
Engine displacement, cm3 596
Bore and stroke, mm 66.6 x 71.4
Gearbox 3-stage
Frame type Duplex Tubular
Front suspension Fork “Webb”
Rear suspension Hard
Brakes Drum drums
Wheel dimensions
Length, mm 2 150
Width, mm 820
Height, mm 960
Wheelbase, mm
Ground clearance, mm
Seat height, mm
Weight, kg
Fuel tank capacity, l
Maximum speed, km / h
Range, km

* – Data based on the measurement results at the exhibit “Motorworld by V.Sheyanov”.