Bradford has always had a close connection with British motorcycle heritage.
First there was Joah Carver Phelon from Cleckheaton, who produced the Panther motorcycle as long ago as 1900. Later, in 1908 the first complete Scott motorcycle was produced by Alfred Angus Scott. Scott was the most original of all motorcycle designers, and produced some of the most distinctive and esteemed motorcycles in UK history at Shipley, West Yorks. He was a gifted engineer and a pioneer in the development of the two stroke engine. That first motorcycle in 1908 had air cooled barrels but the heads were water cooled, and as all Scott’s were, it was a two stroke. Within 4 years the design had changed to water cooling throughout and from then on was produced in capacities ranging from 498cc up to a596cc. Scotts won the Senior TT in 1912 and 1913 and then moved into modified side-car machine gun carriers during WW1. During the 1930s the Scott was at the cutting edge of motorcycle design with machines such as the superbly engineered 498cc Scott Flying Squirrel. Scotts continued to compete successfully in sporting events, but after the end of the second world war the re launched Scott Flying Squirrel was not a success, and the company went into voluntary liquidation in 1950, the company was then aquired by Scott enthusiast Matt Holder’s Aerco Jig and Tool Company in Birmingham. Holder continued to build Scott motorcycles from Shipley made spare parts until the 1960s, and developed and produced one-off Scott motorcycles until 1978. The 1970s also saw the appearance of the Silk Special. Developed by George Silk, an engineer trained by Tom Ward of Nottingham, who in turn trained with the great AA Scott himself. The machine was shown for the first time at the London Sports Machine Show of 1971. The engine was based on the 596 Flying Squirrel, but enlarged to 653cc and fitted into a Spondon frame. The machine ws light at 300lbs, it handled superbly and had a top speed of over 100 mph. Over one hundred Silks were produced over a ten year period and sold at prices ranging from the original £600 to the final price tag of approximately £2500 in 1980.