Page 185. 1920 Autoglider Scooter. SOLD

1920 Autoglider Scooter

1920s scooters were launched to much acclaim, but the public relations exercise did not translate into good sales. There was too much competition from conventional motorcycles, and they were a fashion that passed quickly.

With a heavy and quite powerful engine at the front, the Autoglider was not as easy to steer as a motorcycle.

Bear in mind that, with a low centre of gravity, the scooter was originally designed to encourage women to start riding motorcycles.

Nevertheless, the Autoglider was a very well-made machine and was considered one of the best models of the time.



Great Charles St, Birmingham

First made in 1919, this motorized scooter achieved fame in August of that year when C.R. Townsend and another brave rider rode one, standing because, of course, there was no seat, the 112 miles from Birmingham to London.

While remaining true to the front-mounted engine concept, in 1920 the Autoglider evolved into a proper scooter, with a two-stroke 292cc, later a Villiers 269cc engine, still placed over the front wheel, and linked to it by a chain and cogs. It also had a clutch but no gearbox, and the fuel tank was located between the two handlebars. The frame remained tubular, the wheels were 16 inches in diameter and the rear section received a supposedly elegant plywood box, which was extended to the floor, and carried the driver’s seat, all suspended on leaf springs.

Capable of 36 mph, the scooter also came in twin-seat, no-seat and delivery box versions; there was even an attempt at a 50mph ‘sports’ model. There is little doubt that the second-generation Autoglider was one of the most accomplished scooters of the 1920s.

‘The A-Z of Classic Scooters’ by J. Goyard & B. Soler-Thebes


SUMMARY of AUTOGLIDER: The machine appears to be sound, mostly complete, and not a difficult restoration. The engine turns. The engine should be stripped, checked and cleaned. It needs a magneto. The tyres are good (size 16 x 4).

There are no documents with it.

I hope the photos illustrate all you need in order to assess it.

If you have any questions, please phone or email as below.

I think you’ll agree that a pioneer scooter such as this comes onto the market very infrequently, and all 90-year-old vehicles are a good investment. Whether you fancy restoring something completely different, or just like the idea of owning an interesting part of British scooter history, I hope your finger is already hovering over that ebay bidding button 🙂

Good luck!


The previous owner constructed the rear bodywork.

As you can see below, various styles were available, including one with no rear bodywork, on which the rider stood instead of sitting. Some also had front mudguards, others did not. My intention was to remove the bodywork to make it a standing version as, one century on, I felt that would be much more of a curiosity.





The Autoped, which made its debut during WW1, was the world’s first motor scooter (see Page 29). Once the War was over, motorcycle production resumed in earnest, with many important lessons learned from wartime manufacture.

At the first postwar Olympia show in 1919 (t0 which this 1920 guide refers), 112 motorcycle manufacturers were represented. Many were small companies assembling from proprietary components with their own badge on the tank. By the end of the twenties there were 300 motorcycle manufacturers.

It was in this climate of invention, mechanical innovation and marketing optimism that machines such as the Autoglider made their debut. This was the first era of motor scooters.


A strange feature of this scooter is that it pivots at the front of the footboard: that seems to act as its suspension.



I think most ebaying vintage enthusiasts know how I operate by now.

I try my best to provide a friendly professional service, with good condition vehicles, and cheap delivery around the country.

I like to make the experience of buying a vintage vehicle as enjoyable as possible.

Original literature is available to download for free from the website.

If you need any further information, please email or phone me as below.




OWNER: BuyVintage Online Auctions

LOCATION: Brighton, E.Sussex, United Kingdom


DELIVERY is not included in this auction.

This means that it is not my responsibility,

BUT I can put you in touch with a delivery chap and organize collection;

you liaise with them direct re delivery and pay them separately.

Great Britain – delivery is ONLY £70 for this scooter  to main parts of England;

extra to extremities such as Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, etc (and may take longer to arrive)

(Please email your postcode if you want to confirm price).


(Collection when they’re in my area; delivery when in yours).


If you want it fast, please organize your own collection.


Ireland & N. Ireland – I’ll recommend some companies, but you’ll have to organize it yourself.

Europe – delivery is probably around €400 to Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, etc. I can recommend two companies.

North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, etc – I’ll organize all the crating and shipping for you.

PAYMENT: Paypal is okay for cheap items; otherwise deposit only on paypal please.


You must communicate with me before the end of the auction to discuss payment and shipping options.


AFTER PURCHASE: Please email me your phone numbers; I prefer to speak to all purchasers personally.

I do everything I can to make your purchase a pleasurable experience.

I’ve been selling obscure vintage vehicles on ebay since 2002.

Sharing similar interests, I’ve become good friends with many of my customers.

Please feel free to email or phone with any comments or questions…


VEHICLE CONDITION: Vintage vehicles are wonderful beasts

– but each has an individual personality and they sometimes have bad days just like you and me.
You will need basic mechanical skills (or a local mechanic) to use one on a regular basis.

Two-strokes invariably need basic servicing before starting them, if they’ve been left to stand for more than 3 weeks or so.

These are rare vehicles whose values are not necessarily based on running order.



If you have any questions about this (or any other vehicle in these BuyVintage Online Auctions),
you can contact Colin in our Customer Service Department between 9am and 7pm daily:

By Phone – (UK 0044) 07866-126469

By email –

The Auction Catalogue is our website –



to see what’s currently being sold



Published on September 13, 2010 at 1:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

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