Good to hear that you are about to embark on a relationship with a Squirrel 300, Phil ! Any help you need at all – just let me know. The carburetor shouldn’t be too difficult to source if you are going to use the Villiers type – they come up on Ebay quite regularly for not too expensive sums. I have been corresponding recently with another 300 owner who is also undertaking a rebuild. His example has the chain stays part of the rear frame missing and I assume he will need the dimensions to fabricate a new one – yours might be easier to access than mine.
I am still waiting for a registration number from DVLA so I haven’t been able to sample it much more than already reported. Nevertheless, I am now certain that the performance is not as dire as all of its many detractors have us believe – but I have been enjoying the delights of riding a 200 cc Tiger Cub for the least week, so perhaps I have my lightweight hat on at present.
Keep us all informed – I am looking forward to seeing your progress.
George, I apologise for the late reply but you might have noticed that the site suffered some problems with hosting earlier in the week – a long story for another time !
Regrettably, we have not been able to commit to the Stafford Show this year. I am unavailable due to a family wedding and none of the others on the committee were prepared to step in. Many of the members will be cautious about venturing into a crowded environment at present, even looking forward to a date in July, and this includes some of the stalwarts who have helped with the stand over several years. I cannot blame them, either.
Let’s hope that next year will be a different matter.
Here’s a great site for an Austrian company making bakelite mag parts – I have bought pickups and end caps and they are great quality:
Usual rules apply if the link isn’t visible – just hover over it with your cursor.
Welcome Steve – I believe that your bike was formerly owned by Scottish member, Martin Green and restored during 2017 by former Club editor Kevin Baylis in 2017. If you contact George Millar, the Scottish Section coordinator you could be introduced to the characters concerned at one of their meetings. I believe that Martin had the frame of the bike for many years and went about collecting the other parts for the rebuild over time. There are occasional articles concerning the rebuild in Yowl.
Roger Moss deals with this on his website :
Thanks for letting me know – the link has been restored and the October 1982 edition should now be accessible. The links seem to go bad every so often so I always appreciate being told of any problems so that the archive can be maintained.
Thanks Martin – that re-assures me in my thoughts.
BTW saw you with Mr Portillo on the box earlier in the week !
With apologies for keeping Mickey Bliss waiting, but things have been progressing on the Pile of Junk.
The two speed gear proved to be seized and when it was dismantled for inspection, the hollow spindle through the centre was found to be significantly bent. I assume that this had been caused by a crash (surely quite a significant one) and indeed one of the lugs was also distorted so perhaps the gear had been salvaged following an accident , in which case it had not worked since.
The bend had caused the thrust rod to jam but otherwise the parts were worn but not totally unserviceable – perhaps it was not too worn when the crash happened. DW set about making a new spindle and he was also obliged to make a new hollow bolt with a standard thread to avoid the difficulty of cutting the very fine obscure (Scott) inner thread where the bolt fitted into the spindle. Also, following the suggestion in Technicalities, the thrust rollers were changed with slightly oversized replacements and of course, the ball bearings renewed. I had a new complete kick-starter assembly and ratchet with spring made by Ken Lack and this was added in place of the original which was also seized. I also had a new Quick-thread drum in stock which I obtained from Laurie Erwood some years ago when he made a batch (and I am pleased with myself for showing such foresight!).
The re-assembled gear was re-introduced into the frame and the kick starter connected to the crank/pedal. Still a great deal of fettling was needed before the whole assembly fitted and operated smoothly without jamming or fouling the frame or the gear lugs – the clearance for the kick starter in particular is extremely fine, so much so that the inside of the right-hand side lug required significant dressing back.
The brake assembly has also been fitted to the frame and – eventually- the rear sprocket. The brake shoe (an original item) strangely proved to have a different radius from the sprocket so that it would not have make full contact with the brake ring unless the brake block added to it was crescent-shaped. I wonder whether larger rear sprockets were used on some bikes? In any even the radius was changed to match by careful milling and the shoe now fits snuggly into the sprocket. I intend to get it bonded with modern material , rather than use an old-fashioned block in the hope that braking will be improved. This is perhaps not something I would have done on a veteran bike, but something I feel is justified for a later assembly of parts, not least in the interest of safety.
The tanks have been added to the frame to ensure they fit – a down-tube main oil tank is being used rather than the oil-in-frame system. From period photographs this seems to have been a modification used since prior to the Great War and other early 1920’s Scotts were given this treatment before it became standard in about 1925(?). I assume that the switch was considered an upgrade as it would avoid messy oil leaks from the head stem and seat stem, had a higher capacity and reduced the number of top-ups needed. Also, filling up the tank should be an easier operation than fiddling about under the front of the saddle is on OIF bikes.
The under-seat tank will be used as a separate oiler for the two-speed gear and permit the use of a thicker oil than that used for the engine. I had intended to use a small plunger I obtained recently which would have been operated from a handlebar lever but the logistics of plumbing it in meant that an easier dripper arrangement will be used – or perhaps a simple tap with a carburettor jet added in the pipeline to stem the flow.
Another step forward include delivery of a new front hub meaning that we can move on to wheel-building. I had two Coker 28 x 3 beaded edge tyres in the garage but these are 717mm in overall diameter -far too large. When I started making enquiries to source alternatives a month or two ago there seemed to be a real shortage of beaded-edge tyres available. Also, as Martin Heckscher had recently gone through the exercise of re-re-building wheels for his 1914 so I knew that there was really no ideal solution available anyhow. I decided to follow Martin’s lead by sourcing two 26 x 2 1/2 Ensigns via Ebay (I think there’s been a delivery to stockists from China since) and a pair of Westwood rims to match from Richards Brothers, ordered according to the specification “two like the ones you supplied to Mr Heckscher, please”. This combination will still mean that the tyres run extremely close to the frame and mudguards and yet more careful adjustment will be needed during reassembly. The next worry is to find a wheel builder which can do the job within a reasonable time frame.
It is slowly dawning on me that building a bike from a heap of parts from several different sources is twice as time-consuming as starting with one wreck, even one with some parts missing. Thank goodness DW has infinitely more patience than I do – some of the conundrums he has been required to deal with so far would be easily enough to drive me to take up smoking again!
More to follow.
Will – I think what you need is what is rereferred to in the parts lists as “1/2 compression valve actuating arm “. The attached picture is from the 1914 catalogue – in the Document Archive – and I don’t think that it altered in form throughout the development of the two-speeder engines. In any event if your engine is 532 cc standard should be the same as a 1914 bike. By an amazing coincidence I was gifted a spare one last night and I can send it up to you if it is what you need.
Hi Leif – you’ve just opened up an age old debate ! Try searching the forum for “gearbox oil” and see how many postings there are. For what it’s worth I have just started using Renolit EP00 gearbox grease made by Silkolene and have had no problems – and no leaks !
Looks a great improvement, Richard. Good job. We will be tackling this on the Pile of Junk soon.
The Vintage Tyre website gives you some idea of what is available. Avon SM Mk II’s look like a similar tread. They are made in Britain too.
Hi Malcolm – Welcome. There’s a wiring diagram available in the Document Archives section – in the Lucas Equipment Catalogue.
The 300cc Squirrel is now complete. Since I last posted the freshly-painted tank, primary chaincase and chainguard have been delivered and fitted, fuel lines fabricated, plated and fitted and various final touches done by the endlessly talented Dave W who has done all of the work hitherto. The end result is yet another credit to him and, as can been seen in the attached photographs, just magnificent.
The chaincase deserves a special mention. The one which came with the bike was crudely-made, to be kind to it. The oil pump (a Best & Lloyd ) was fitted to the outside of the case with the drive fitted to the rear . The chaincase needed to be offered up carefully to fit the prong from the drive into an off-set hole in the magneto sprocket. The problem was that there was no provision for adjustment of the pump to accommodate any adjustment in the magneto drive chain and I am sure that this was not the way that the system was originally set up. Also the removal of the chaincase needed the complete removal of the oil pump.
Close inspection of the very few photographs available of other examples seemed to suggest that the chain case came in two parts and that the oil pump was held on an adjustable platform which extended between the join in the two parts. A single-feed pilgrim pump was sourced from Peter Rosenthal (Pete’s Bikes – email@example.com 07505 884261 ) and Dave went about re-designing the system and making a fibreglass replacement for the the chaincase itself, producing a wooden buck to form the mould. The result is superb especially once treated to coat of glossy black paint. I
The fuel and oil pipes are a bit spaghetti but there are separate feeds from the two sides of the petrol tank which are unconnected. Nevertheless the result once nickel-plated is as neat as possible and now permits the removal of the chaincase without the removal of the pump.
Starting the bike proved to be simplicity in itself. No great effort is needed in operating the kick-start and in fact over enthusiasm can cause the gearbox to flex the frame, despite strengthening having been added to the platform where the box sits. So easy is it to start that it is possible to operate the kickstart by hand. The engine fires first time on every occasion and settles to an extremely quiet tick-over. I invested in some Millers Oils “Pistoneeze” classic mineral 2 stroke oil which I was surprised to see had an Aston Martin on the can – and more surprised to find is dyed bright blue!
Tempted by the sunny weather over the weekend, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to test the little creature out. This despite the small issue that it has yet to be registered and as a consequence the plates are yet to be sign-written. Still, a short trip 50 yards or so up the back road in the village wouldn’t be a problem, would it? The bike started easily again and despite the low-ash formula oil, puffed out a nice cloud of blue smoke whilst I adjusted the pilgrim pump down. The engine tone settled down to a hollow murmur which raced, but hardly increased in volume, as I applied the throttle leaver. As I selected first gear by the hand-change and eased forward and into gear the bike gingerly took off and I was away, just.
Inevitably the fine weather had brought out several neighbours who were conducting socially-distanced conversations in groups spaced every third or fourth house. What they thought of the spectacle of me approaching with the bike, still emitting cumulonimbus-like amounts of blue smoke, I couldn’t quite discern and I couldn’t quite pick up their remarks from under my helmet. At least a few of their gestures were friendly enough. Perhaps they took my 5 0r 6 mph progress as a courtesy rather than the maximum performance I was able to force out of the machine. I retired the home at this sedate pace to rethink things having been unable to get out of first gear.
So, were the disparaging remarks in 1960s Yowls concerning performance justified ? Was this the best I could expect ? Had Ken Pratley really taken a week to complete the Coventry-Brighton run? My focus settled on the shiny Villiers Air filter and I thought…..
Yet again the little Squirrel obliged by bursting into life on the first application (rather than kick) of the kick-starter. I was sure that the hollow murmur of the engine had strengthened – perhaps not to a roar, but certainly a muted purr. Excitedly I jumped into the saddle and again selected first gear and this time the bike almost strained at the release of the clutch and shot off down the drive. I retraced my route and was relieved to find that most of the neighbours had retired indoors or to their back gardens, probably to avoid a second kippering although the emissions had by now subsided to a faint blue haze.
This was more like it ! At the end of Back Lane I rounded the corner and enthusiastically twiddled throttle and gear levers back and forth through second and then third gear. The little machine responded and I am sure that by the time I rounded the next bend we were flying at the rate of “approximately 50 mph” which the catalogue had promised. I coasted into the main road, the wind was in my hair (?) the sun was bright and high in the sky, it was pleasantly warm, and I was enjoying the delights of a 300 cc Squirrel at full chat.
I was abruptly interrupted from my satisfaction by a (thankfully short) blast of the siren and by the time I had applied the brakes (the front 5 inch affair being just as inadequate for this machine as it is for a 2 speeder) and pulled up, the police car had drawn level and the occupant of the passenger seat was glaring at me through an open window – quite angrily, I thought. It was at this point that I realised that the liberating feeling of wind in my hair was caused by the lack of a helmet, forgotten in my enthusiasm to set out….
I think that the police have a very difficult job to do – more so during the pandemic. I feel that they are often the subject of unwarranted criticism and that they deserve our appreciation for carrying out their duties so efficiently. In a way I am pleased that they have the resources available to them to commit a patrol car to the lanes of Warwickshire, and on a Sunday afternoon too. After all, hooligans on motorcycles are often a menace to the public and a risk to other road users as well as themselves.
The policeman’s approach began, “What’s going on here ? ” and I was just pondering that he should really have prefaced those words with the time-honoured constabulary address of “Elo, Elo, Elo” when he launched into a far more aggressive lecture beginning with the rhetorical question “You’re taking the piss aren’t you ?” Having been made aware that I had no helmet and the the bike had no registration plates, I was sent on my way with a cursory, “we’ll say nothing more about it this time” after I promised to push the bike the 1/2 mile home. I didn’t even take issue with the officer’s command that I couldn’t legally sit stride the bike whilst I wheeled it and to make sure I was followed for the first 200 yards or so, thankfully without application of blue lights or siren.
So, my impression of the Scott 300cc Squirrel ? Well, if it’s enough to attract the attentions of the Warwickshire Police Force, it can’t be all that bad can it?
Another thing in passing. Richard wondered why the frame was designed the way it was – it is certainly a strange get-up. Take a look at the first picture above and ponder how the engine could be removed without completely dismantling the frame ??