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John Scarnell four stroke Len Lara 30cc two stroke Dickie Phillips 30cc twin 12cc twinshaft
Oliver style twinshaft Scaled down EM 30 John Scarnell two stroke Grayspec
Typhoon 10cc Pioneers 5cc Pioneer EM 30


A Fleetwood four-stroke

This venerable four-stroke is another of the late John Scarnell's motors from his time at the Fleetwood Club in the 1930s. The engine is either 25 or 30cc and could have come from a variety of sources. The same basic design was marketed by Bonds, Gamages, Grays and F.N. Sharp who is credited with the original design. The very long inlet pipe indicates that it is an early version with no carburettor in the accepted sense. The contact breaker mechanism with the arm to advance or retard the ignition is to the left of the motor.

Thanks to Dave Scarnell for this item and the photos. Dec 2010


Len Lara's 30cc motor.

From the end of the 1940s right through to the late 60s, the  'A' Class was the province of home built 30cc two stroke motors. Most of these were cast up at the builders homes, although some such as Norman Hodges' Tiger 30 and Mr Swanson's Saturn 30 were supplied in kit form. There is no way of knowing just how many different 30s there were, but they were all essentially scaled up McCoys. This one was built by Len Lara of the Victoria Club and at some stage blew apart. His son Norman passed the welded case on, along with a bag of assorted bits that included most of the missing engine parts. Ron Hankins did a super job of rebuilding the motor, which now resides in the late Ernie Clark's  recently restored, twin hulled boat.

Thanks to Norman for this item and to Ron for the superb rebuild. OTW photo Nov 2010


A very rare twin

Dickie Phillips was an exceptionally fine engineer, who made his name in C class racing in the 1950s. He started building this 30cc twin around 1938 because 'there did not seem to be any others in existence'. It was fully described in Model Engineer in the early years of the war. Strangely, he did not build a boat for it until several years later, when it appeared in an enlarged version of the Westbury 24" hydro.

What is so unusual about this motor is the lack of any transfer passages or ports. Just visible through the exhaust ports in the image below are the four tiny transfer valves opened as the piston descends.

The pistons also controlled the more conventional sideport carburation. The workmanship on this motor is superb, even down to the hand made spark plugs. 

                                               Thanks to John Hyder for this lovely item Oct 2010


An even bigger twinshaft

The cylinder on this motor with two inlet ports and the transfer between looks familiar and the whole air of the top half of the motor gives the impression of age. The crankcase might well be a later modification. The use of multiple venturis was well established, both in models and full sized motors, such as the Villiers Starmaker. It is a massive engine, yet the capacity is just 12cc with a 14mm plug in a 25mm bore. The brass venturi is quite magnificent considering the tiny intake tube.

                                     Photo OTW Sept 2010


A 'tasty' twinshaft

Engines built by the Olivers in Nottingham and in  particular, the 'Tiger' twinshaft and derivations, dominated the 1.5cc and 2.5cc classes for many years. Many 'home brewed' copies were put together, either built entirely from scratch or utilising a variety of commercial components. It is not known at present who put this well engineered version together, but certainly, the induction system would not appear to be the normal crankshaft rotary valve. Perhaps careful perusal of photographs in Model Cars or MCN might reveal the builder?
      Thanks to Bill Langley for this item.
Photo OTW Aug 2010

David Giles has contacted us and thinks that Ken Robinson may have had a hand in this motor. He also explained the induction is controlled by a large cut out in one of the crank discs. Confirmation of this would be most welcome.   


It is, but it isn't

This motor was supposed to be an English Mechanics 15, except that particular motor designed by W. Cooper of King's Lynn is completely different. Close examination gave a clue to its true origins. It is an exact scale replica of the English Mechanics 30 reduced in size to make it a 15. What is confusing is that the oil tank is an original EM casting. This superb piece of engineering was built by Norman Dixon of the Heaton Club for his hydro Qwik Kit to go with the 30cc Fast Cat with its full sized EM motor. Both boat and engine are now in the hands of Tom Clement and awaiting restoration. (See bottom of page for details of EM30)

          Thanks to Tom for this fascinating piece of high quality engineering. Photo OTW July 2010


A 'Speculative eBay bid'

It was only after the eBay auction finished that the history of this engine came to light. It was built by John Scarnell who started racing with the Fleetwood Club around 1931 along with Charles Booth. In the late 40s John built a series of two stroke motors, one for each of the classes. Most of the 30cc motors built at the time were enlarged versions of the McCoy, but his motor has the distinctive 'Bulge bypass' of a Dooling. With generous bearing surfaces and solid construction, there is no reason to suppose that this motor would not run quite happily in a period hull.

June 2010. Thanks to David Scarnell for details. Photo OTW


The 'Grayspec' is born!

In 1932, Lionel French (Spectator) described in Model Engineer the building of a 40" 'Express Cruiser' and indicated that he would describe building a small IC engine in two versions to power it. The original, simple, water cooled version never materialized, and instead in 1933 French published the plans and building instructions for a much higher performance, air cooled, 15cc motor that would be suitable for 'B' Class hydroplanes as well. Grays of Clerkenwell undertook to provide the castings in Electron magnesium alloy under the name the 'Gray Special' (grayspec). Eventually it was offered in aero or marine versions with different crankcase castings. The marine model sold for £4-2-6

This fine version in boat configuration is by courtesy of Ken Smith. May 2010


A very rare Typhoon

Available from the Model Aircraft Stores in Bournemouth from 1946, this 10cc engine was 'guaranteed', although what for or against was not explained. It was claimed that this motor had been 'Specially designed for speedboats and racing cars', although the four extended crankcase bolts for radial mounting would hardly indicate those uses. What is obvious and unusual is the forward facing venturi on this sideport motor. It was an engine out of its time, and at a cost of £10-10 it was hardly cheap, and probably not madly powerful either, which may account for its short existence.

Thanks to Eric Offen for this unusual and rare motor.                        April 2010


A pair of Pioneers

These two lovely 10cc motors were also built by Sid Smith of Chatham around 1948. The spark ignition version on the right is markedly different, apart from the finning. The rotary valve backplate has an angled venturi with an extended shaft, possibly for driving a magneto. the glow model on the left has a straight venturi. There are also other noticeable differences in the crankcase castings. Perhaps Ken Smith will relate the story of these British racing motors at some stage in the future. How he came by them is a fascinating tale on its own.
Thanks to Ken for photos of these engines                     March 2010


A very rare Pioneer

In 1948, Sid Smith of Chatham produced two engines under the ELECTRA name specifically for car racing. The Pioneer 10cc and 5cc were quite different in appearance and only in production for a short while. Both are very rare and the 5cc was at the very top of the wish list for his son Ken, who had restored one some years previously for John Goodall, which was believed at the time to be the only one still in existence. Ken lived in hope that another might still be lurking somewhere and the example shown here turned up at the Walton auction in Nottingham, although it has since vanished again.
                                                                        Feb 2010. Photo OTW


EM 30

Although it has a water jacket, this 30cc two-stroke motor was designed as a hydroplane engine in the late 30s. The design by W. Cooper of King's Lynn was published in English Mechanics magazine in 1938, hence the name. It was part of a series that started on 1st April for the construction of a metre hydroplane and engine. The hull was designed by R.W. Lance who went to great pains to explain that he had deliberately ignored current practice in the design. This was somewhat obvious as the hull would not looked out of place in the 1920s. The EM 30 has powered a few boats along the way, including those of Norman Dixon and Tom Clements, but at 4 1/2 lbs is no lightweight.

Part of a remarkable lifetimes engine building by John Bertinat on display at Leamington. Jan 2010