The 1938 1000cc. Scott 3 Cylinder: A Motorcycle Icon
While Scott's production machines were marketed as a kind of luxury "wheeled horse" for the Edwardian Gentleman, there was valuable publicity to be had in competition success and the early Scott motorcycles were so powerful that they often easily beat four-stroke motorcycles of the same capacity. After Scott's victory at the 1908 Wass Bank hillclimb, the Auto-Cycle Union handicapped their motorcycles by multiplying their cubic capacity by 1.32 for competitive purposes, which resulted in good, free advertising for Scott. The handicap was lifted three years later.
Scott made several appearances at the Isle of Man TT Races between 1910 and 1914 with specially built racing machines. In 1910 a Scott was the first two-stroke motorcycle ever to complete a full TT course under race conditions and in 1911 a Scott ridden by Frank Phillip gained the TT lap record of 50.11 mph (80.64 km/h) continuous average speed. This winning streak continued with Scotts being the fastest machines in 1912, 1913, and 1914 and winning the event in 1912 and 1913.
From 1911 to 1914 Scott's Tourist Trophy racers used rotary valves to control the inlet and transfer phases of the two-stroke cycle. In 1911 the engine was controlled by advancing or retarding the valve timing and not by the throttle. Scott reverted to throttle control in 1912, giving the rotary valves a fixed gear drive in the same year.
Development work at Shipley in the early 1930's produced a three- cylinder engine to the design of William Cull. Originally of 747cc capacity, the new engine followed car practice to some extent. A box like crankcase in Elektron, housed a 120 degree crankshaft carrying 4 alloy drums which were built up with the main bearings so that the whole assembly could be slid into the crankcase from one end. The alloy drums formed the walls of three crank chambers and formed gas-tight seals.
The cylinder block had a detachable light alloy head. The gearbox was integral with the engine and fitted with a car type clutch. The engine was water-cooled. Further development proved to be necessary including an increase to 986cc. and a prototype was seen at the Olympia Show in November 1934.
In 1935 the Scott three cylinder motorcycle was launched as a water-cooled 750 cc in-line machine. This was superseded by the 1000 cc version and proved to be another example of innovative engineering by the Scott company. Neither made it into quantity production, however, due to the outbreak of the Second World War and the failing business finances.
Production was a long time in coming and although the model was listed for 1936 none were made, and in 1937 it was dropped from the range. A very small number only were made and of what would have been the production version only two are known to have survived.