Bonhams' Banbury Run sale next weekend in Oxford has a little-known gem in the ranks, a true connoisseur's machine, and the end of a long line of English two-strokes. There was a time when most UK manufacturers had a 'smoker' in their lineup, even the esteemed Velocette built only quality two-stroke lightweights for many years before introducing their overhead-camshaft 'K' series in 1925.
|The first Scott of 1908|
|A late two-speed model ca. 1927|
|A late 3-speed 'Flying Squirrel|
|A postwar 'Birmingham' Scott with teleforks|
|The last of the Silks, with Lester mags and Lockheed discs, ca. '79|
More importantly, by 1972 George Silk announced he would begin production of road-going 'modernized' Scotts in Spondon chassis. Apparently he made his announcement before informing Holders of his plans, for he did not receive permission to use the Scott name or Holder crankcases, and prospective Silk owners had to supply their own 'cases! Amazingly, as the basic design of the Scott engine hadn't changed since 1908, it was possible to use 60-year old crankcases on a new, 50hp sporting Silk in a racing chassis!
The Silk for sale at Bonhams is the last of the line of 'owner provided' machines, (#23 - clearly this was a low-volume effort), as George Silk manufactured his own engines in their entirety by 1975. The last Silk left the factory in 1979, by then with a disc brake up front, the last of the Scott family, produced for just over 70 years. All Silks are rare, and are coveted by 'those who know' for their remarkable handling, ultra-light weight (305lbs), and super-smooth power. Silks aren't revvy and nervous like their contemporary two-stroke cousins from Japan, but used old-fashioned 'deflector' pistons which generate torque at low rpm, while sacrificing the screaming, wheelying, light-switch powerbands of its rivals. A gentleman's two-stroke!