My 1938 BSA Scout

001001You can be forgiven if you assumed a BSA Scout was a motorcycle! BSA made both cars and bikes thru the 1930’s but but cease car production during the war. Motorcycles became there main automotive industry. Beside of course there first line of production, weapons, BSA stands for Birmingham Small Arms Company, But back to the cars. The BSA Scout may look like a real fast and sporty vehicle comparable to Jags MGs of the era, but is wasn’t. The tiny 10 HP side valve engine was quite anemic, more in line with an Austin Seven of the same era. However, it had some very different engineering ideas that were most unusual in the period. Front wheel drive, rare indeed in 1938, but also a strange configuration, best described as reverse fwd30configuration. If you look closely at the photo of the engine you can see the fan blades indicating the front with gear box below and diff ahead of the fan. .To explain, looking in the engine bay you see at the front, first the axle with single brake drum in the center, next the Diff (rear end) then the gear box and last the engine.  Inside the car the gear shift lever travelled down between the clutch and brake pedal then along the length the engine to the gear box. Shifting gears was a different experience. The front wheel had huge swivel balls at each wheel to allow for drive and steering. The car you see in the photographs (can be enlarged) was not nearly as nice as it looks, quite rough in fact. I had no convertible top just the support bars with a few tattered pieces of canvas still attached. This model was a four seater, also rare as most were made as two seaters. The front right wheel hub squeaked constantly, although generous amounts of oil poured over it did quieten it briefly, but not cure. I purchased the car in 1960 for 10 pounds and drove it for a couple of months then sold in to a crew mate also for 10 pounds, ( I had polished it) he drove for a few more weeks until this happened. Driving thru the Naval married quarters one day he came to a stop at a school crossing, the vehicle halted ok but the squeaking wheel kept going. That was the end of the car it end up at a scrap dealer the next day. Nothing happened when the wheel came off, no one was hurt, in fact the whole incident caused considerable amusement. Nevertheless I wish I had it now, such a rare automibile, and both valuable and collectible. And in case you are wondering the colour was fire engine red.

God Bless and keep reading


About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
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