The Rytecraft Scootacar was introduced in 1934 with a 98cc Villiers engine, and enjoyed a surprising level of success over the following years. I would describe it as an adult toy, the equivalent of a child’s pedal car. Along with its van and pick up truck versions it was used for publicity stunts and company promotions, and Rytecrafts were exported around the world. In 1937 the first model was upgraded with a larger engine and three-speed gearbox and speeds of up to 45mph were claimed by the makers.
Production ceased in 1940 when the factory, like most others, was turned over to war work: their main focus was supplying the Air Ministry with Britannia engines for powered life rafts. Some Scootacars were used during the war by the Home Guard as there was a petrol shortage and they were very economical. And a few were built after the war, using leftover prewar parts from the factory.
Probably the most newsworthy event involving a Scootacar was sometime later, in 1965, when Jim Parkinson of Surrey drove a 1935 Rytecraft 98cc model (registered BUC 515) around the world. It travelled via Berlin, Moscow, the Trans-Siberian Railway, Japan and the USA and, after its return, was exhibited at Brooklands Motor Museum in Surrey.
VIDEO OF 1939 RYTECRAFT SCOOTATRUCK DRIVING
1939/1940 Rytecraft Scootatruck
Air-cooled horizontally opposed flat twin
Coventry Victor engine
3 H.P (350cc)
Model MA2 #18975
The commercial variant of Rytecraft’s Scootacar was named the Scootatruck, and this is the second model with upgraded suspension and a larger engine. I’ve contacted Coventry Victor to find out whether my ‘Model MA2’ engine is the 285cc or 340cc version. The previous owner had it for 34 years, for some time on display in a museum.
The Scootatruck was restored many years ago. Note that the cab height is taller than in the old photos of the early version, where access was through the roof. It was apparently built after the factory closed down in 1939, either during or after the war from leftover factory parts.
Some of the photos below show it in the workshop being fettled, with the engine exposed for close up examination (otherwise it is hidden under the pick up bed).
IN THE WORKSHOP
COVENTRY VICTOR ENGINE
1964: AROUND THE WORLD IN A 98cc SCOOTACAR
via Berlin, Moscow, the Trans-Siberian Railway, Japan and the USA