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Scott Diary - The one i missed - part 1

Grey Flash parts

Back in the same year the 59 club was founded I nearly bought a Scott. Word came around it was at a local farm in the Chilterns where I lived, and indeed, when I went hot foot, there it was leaning against a barn. “Ill buy it,” I said to the farmer, but while I was rushing back home to raid my piggy bank, a ‘friend’ bought it and promptly took it away and re-sold it. In the following 50 years of motorcycling (I’m not a born again biker, I stuck at it) I have had many motorcycles, I lost count at 70 of the models I have owned, German, Spanish Japanese and almost every British factory still running in 1950. My wife says I never sell any but whilst that’s not true, I do keep those I like. And I don’t have any silly hang ups about classic or modern, I have even ridden a Hardly Ableson (But I ensured that it was in the USA and all cameras were impounded). And I do have at least 1 bike from every decade from the last 100 years except the teens and the 70’s
But, and it’s a big But, I never had a Scott. Oh I looked, but they always seemed too much money, and slowly they went up in price, and always a good example seemed to elude me. In the end I finally took the plunge and last year I bought a pile of parts amounting to loosely a 1927 Scott. Finally I had the makings of one!
Now I do spend a lot of time in the garage (I need to with this lot!) however since my main direction has been a certain marque from Stevenage, I have been spoilt for spares, and their easy availability. Two days, I used to claim and I can get every spare I need, (Now its 2 hours as the spares company has moved to Kettering just up the road from me.)
How different then, with other classic bikes. Last year I completed a 1954 Triumph Trophy from another pile of bits. There were a few more parts than the Scott and it had all the right numbers, and since courtesy of the Vintage Club and Oxford Archives I also managed to recover the original registration number, I got heavily on an originality kick. However I was stunned by the length of time it took to get the right parts for the bike, often the missing parts were not ‘ Trophy only’ items, but what I consider as ‘main stream’ pre-unit parts. Their unavailability, cost and sometimes their quality, made me wince on many occasions. And this I had to remind myself was a Triumph! Well that experience cured me (for the moment) from being such a purist again. My main aim this time is to get the Scott running and ridable. My excuse, (if I need one), is that I get the impression that Alfred and the boys up in Yorkshire, would produce a pink Scott with bells on if it made a sale. Often departures from ‘standard’ for reason of a sale or a good price from a component supplier seemed to direct the final specification.
Another stroke of luck was that I, (and now my son), have Vintage raced the snarling beasts for 40 years, so therefore, I happen to know a certain R Moss. He had seemed a friendly sort of guy who would always wave as he came by us down the back straight, and it transpired that I was right. Roger helped me with lots of engine information, some accurate con rods and names of some guys who knew what they were doing with certain components.
I also know when I should sub contract on unfamiliar machines so out went the heads, barrels, magneto and the gearbox ‘assembly’. The engine passed the Moss suitability test and as I have read about ‘knocking up’ cranks etc, my main task was the cycle parts or rather the lack of them.
The front wheel was a mess. No brake plates, brake shoes or bearings with poor spokes and rim. I did try for bits, but failed or was knocked sideways by the cost. It also seemed as I strove to cure my ignorance, that I detected a general air of dissatisfaction with the breaking performance of pre war Scotts. In the end, I dug out two bantam hubs and using the bearing housing of one brazed them back to back. I turned up some brake plates from alloy blanks, and bought some EN24T for a spindle (Hells teeth those kite forks have a small spindle) and built the lot up with a 21X 300 rim and tyre, happily when complete it looked very much in (Vintage) character.
Inspection of old black and white photos indicated that often brake anchors on Kite fork racers came from the massive lower ‘bridge’ casting that supports the ‘plunger’ tubes so I made up two long arms KTT style.
The back wheel was a Royal Enfield; this was not such a supprise, since I know they also supplied the Clekheaton dinosaurs as well. My Scott example of the back wheel was in not too bad condition, it looked as if it would clean up well in black, but was missing the bearings, brake drum, and brake shoes, once again, I was searching for unobtanium. I was told that the Marina or some such grey car porridge drum was about the same size, and a batch was perhaps imminent in Australia but that still left the shoes etc. Finally surrounded by Stevenage bits and pieces I decided that a 7” single rear drum stopped a series ‘D’ twin so it should be man enough to stop the Scott even if it gave away 1” in diameter. And of course the drum was under the bench and every small item I might be missing was available off the shelf.
I had a nasty period as I tried to source an alloy undertray. Mine had served as a ‘cathode’ (or is it an anode?), in a battery comprising a wet earth floor and a steel frame, of course it was the rare size so I was gearing up for running a small batch in a local foundry (a project that was getting nowhere) when happily a visit to the annual rally and the help of Mr Duffin sourced me a good one.
Enquiries on the forum enable me to solve the case of the missing rear brackets for the tray that I had supposed should be welded/brazed on the lower rear tubes but it proved they were held with simple clamps. The last major item is the refurbishment of the fork ‘plungers’ and I have engaged Mr Lack of Sheffield to sort those poorly designed wear inducing items out, and once they return I shall start the rebuild in earnest.

  • Posted on Dec 1st 2011
  • By Tim
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