Anyone know the bike, lot 289 in next weekend’s auction, frame 63, engine PY 2461? From Argentina.
Yes, and I think it is entirely kosher. It was sent originally to ‘Vignoles’ in Argentina, and I think it has its original engine, etc.. At the time in question Frank Varey and Alan Jefferies were in Argentina, making a LOT of money demonstrating Dirt-Track/Speedway racing, and they also demonstrated a road bike to the local police, which resulted in the biggest ever peace-time order for Scotts, and the Buenos Aires Police ordered 35 to 50 machines (that figure varies in different sources). I have a sneaking suspicion that this was the machine demonstrated to the local police as there is no other evidence of a single machine being exported to Argentina before this one !!!
The actual police order bikes were quite strange, and I have a photo of one batch all lined up at the back of the factory ready to send. They have high-rise handlebars, footboards instead of footrests, a Pyrene type fire extinguisher mounted on the R/H side chainstays, and I think I can see sirens, but they might also be Klaxon horns.
In the factory dispatch books this particular machine is a very odd entry, as it is well out of date order, and instead of the usual neat script, it appears to be done in indelible pencil, or even perhaps a crayon. Perhaps it was sent originally on a rather ad hoc, informal basis with Varey and Jefferies, and then formalised at a much later date. All just my theory, but the dates fit……
Hi Richard, Hi Brian,
As Brian says, bar the slightly odd paint job on the petrol tank, and some other minor modifications made over the years, this machine seems to tick all the boxes. As Brian observed in a Yowl article many years ago, our general idea of a Sprint Special is with a small biscuit barrel tank, but more were supplied with long tanks like this one. The Brampton Monarch forks fitted are correct for this particular machine & were detailed in the factory despatch book.
Richard, if you need to know more, give me a ring!
Actually Martin, it does not have a ‘long tank’. On the Sprint Special these were of a similar shape to the tank on a vintage, duplex frame Flyer, ie. the slim type with parallel sides, but on the S.S. they had a totally different way of fixing, with a clamp around the downtube at the rear. They also had different tank caps, being fitted with the lovely CMC (Coventry Movement Company) caps, with a tommy-bar locking action. They are more usually seen on Brough Superiors, but my 1929 Senior TT works bike has them as well.
The S.S. in the Bonhams auction, in fact has a 1931 to 1933 Flyer type tank, where the gearchange gate bolts to the tank, rather than to the frame. Different shape altogether to the S.S. ‘long’ tank, and ordinary bayonet type filler caps.
😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 GBR 11500 I see! 😀 😀 About right!!!!!!!!! 😀 😀 Ted
I think it would have fetched quite a bit more if it didn’t have a broken frame !! Usual place, where the front downtubes go into the headstock lug, and not very well repaired…..
Incidentally, I have tried to trace the name ‘Vignoles’ in this case, and not found much… There was a famous railway engineer with this name, but in the 19th century. I wondered if it might even have been the name of the ship that it was exported on, but again drew a blank. I suppose that it was the name of the importer, but would like to know more, if only to prove my Frank Varey/Allan Jefferies theory !
😀 😀 😀 Gordon Bennet Brian!!!!!! How did you know that??? Do tell!!!!! 😀 😀 Ted
I have my spies……. Zey are everywhere !
There is a article on Allan Jefferies, written by his son Nick, in The Classic Motor Cycle, October 1994. It mentions the Argentina venture….
“As Scott only paid spasmodically he went off to ride speedway. However, his main job was working as a mechanic for Frank Varey at the Belle View track in Manchester.
He went out to Argentina late in 1930 as a reserve rider and Varley’s mechanic. And in later years my father used to travel to South America to look after the American speedway ace Sprouts Elder. In 1930 they rode Scotts, and tried to interest the local police in buying some. A standard model accompanied them for demonstration purposes, but they substituted Varley’s speedway engine before the test took place. The police were most impressed and ordered 50 machines”.
Allan Jefferies died in 1978, but his sons Nick and Tony were TT winners in the 70’s, and are probably still about.
Thanks Richard. This information very much tends to confirm my theory that this bike was indeed the one sent out with Varey and Jefferies. I wonder if any trace of the Buenos Aires Police bikes survives. So much got melted down in the Second World War in this country, in the relentless drive for scrap metal, but in neutral countries stuff had a much greater chance of surviving. Perhaps I am being cynical, but I bet that their fleet of Scotts did not have a very long service life ! It would be interesting to see what was subsequently sent over there in the way of spare parts in the early 1930’s.
I can remember when I was in Belgium in about 1961/2, the police were still using WW2 ex-US Army Harley-Davidsons, while everybody else seemed to be on 50cc mopeds, including quite young children…… There seemed to be virtually nothing inbetween 50cc and the 750cc of the police bikes.
when I was in Germany b.a.o.r in 1957 everybody had new cars. came home on leave and everybody was riding about on push bikes and if you were a bit posh it was mini motors who won the war
The front-engine, front-wheel drive 49cc VeloSolex was churned out in huge numbers, over EIGHT MILLION to date, starting in France, but in various other places since. I own one, (now there’s an admission !). Only about one bhp, no gears, no clutch, no suspension, but around 200 mpg, so probably cheaper than shoe leather ! As mine was made before January 1st 1973 it is also classed as a “Historic Vehicle”, so road tax is zero-rated, and insurance is very cheap. They deserve greater acclaim, and if you live in an area without steep hills they are great for pottering around the lanes on a nice warm sunny day.