1936 Wallington Butt Cyc-Auto
With its amazing engineering, the Cyc-Auto is the ultimate thoroughbred small-engined machine of the thirties. The Wallington Butt Cyc-Auto was the pioneer model that actually created this new genre in Great Britain.
This is one of the rarest autocycles, existing for only a few years before the company was sold to Scott. It is a much more basic model than the later Scott-engined Cyc-Autos, but it is equally sought-after by collectors of classic British motorcycles.
While small capacity motor cycles flourished across the continent, the British motor taxation system of the time did nothing to encourage such vehicles – however, the effect of Philip Snowden’s budget of 1931 was about to change all that!
The Cyc-Auto was the first of a new breed of machine, which in time, would become known as an autocycle. Since there was no established design formula, Mr Wallington Butt started with a clean drawing board to produce his own impression of how such a vehicle should be executed. This interpretation made a lot of sense in basing such a small capacity machine upon a bicycle, to be able to assist the low-powered motor in times of need. It was to be direct drive for simplicity, and utilise existing cycle principles for cheapness and practicality. Beyond this, the engineering seemed to fly off into a clear blue sky!
The 50mm × 50mm two-stroke motor of 98cc was mounted in-line, with a crank worm pinion driving a bronze gear, running on concentric bearings to the pedal shaft, within a distended bottom bracket greased housing. A separate final drive chain from the motor was taken along the left side to a rear sprocket, and though having no clutch, a dog gear allowed the engine to be disengaged. Sparks came from a Wico magneto in front of the forward flywheel, but there was no provision for lighting output. An ETC carburettor pointed from the front of the cylinder, while a rear facing exhaust port fed into a cast alloy expansion chamber between the motor and reduction housing.
The original diamond frame ‘A’ announced in March of 1934 was joined by a ladies open frame ‘B’ model for 1935, then both succeeded in 1936 by ‘C’ & ‘D’ restyled variants with lower frames, Burgess tailpipe silencing, and a change to oil lubrication for the gear housing. Three special sidecar models were also introduced to listings at this time. 1937 added a ‘V’ suffix to models, identifying a change to Villiers made engines with flywheel magneto.
As increasing competition from other manufacturers taking up G H Jones’s autocycle design licence began to bite into sales of the Cyc-Auto, the company ran into financial problems and became sold to The Scott Engineering & Motorcycle Co in 1938, who moved the business to Acton. Scott introduced a new ‘J’ series frame prefix, and their own engine with a clutch that was made back at the Shipley works in Yorkshire, though initially the Villiers motor remained as an option while the Scott engine was phased in.