Today in Motorcycle History

Hudlass Scooters

Felix Hudlass had a long association with motor vehicles. He worked with his father in their family business, Phoenix Motor Co. in Southport, before joining Weller Bros in 1902 and went on to become chief engineer for the RAC in 1904. Hudlass registered many patents, and was awarded the OBE in 1918.

The Hudlass was produced in 1920. The popular Auto Wheel was adapted to this machine so that it took the place of the normal rear wheel and was sprung from the main frame. The front forks were sprung by a combination of compression and rebound springs. Apart from that, it was a relatively simple scooter.

Hudlass sought a manufacturer for his project without success. It is thought that the Autosco and Witall scooters of the 1920s may owe something to the Hudlass design.

Hudlass Scooter 1920

The Hudlass scooter, showing the springing and seat unfolded.
Transmission side of the Hudlass scooter.

A Scooter with Folding Seat.

A Miniature Designed and Built by the R.A.C. Engineer.

A PARTICULARLY ingenious scooter has lately been constructed by Mr. F. Hudlass, engineer to the Royal Automobile Club, in his private workshop. From the constructional point of view it is a most excellent job, practically ever part, even the hub, having been built by its designer.

At the present time the weight is 78 lb., but Mr. Hudlass hopes to reduce this. The frame is light and strong, and is suitably trussed, and at the forward portion of it an Auto-wheel engine is fitted, though Mr. Hudlass considers that a more powerful unit would be desirable. The rear portion of the frame is connected to the main portion by means of flexible couplings consisting of laminations of spring steel, while the lower portions the main and rear frames are connected by coil springs in tension, which are capable of adjustment to suit the weight of the rider by the simple method of screwing up or unscrewing the butterfly nuts provided. Long and comfortable footboards are provided, which are capable of being folded up so that the little vehicle will occupy a very small amount of space. The transmission is by a long chain from the engine to a ball-bearing countershaft, and thence by short chain to the rear wheel.

Neat Spring Forks.

The design of the front forks is most interesting, and Mr. Hudlass hopes that they may serve equally well on motor bicycles as on scooters. With them side play is quite impossible, while of the four springs the two inner ones are in tension, while the two outer are in compression, and serve to take the rebound. The lower portions of the fork tubes slide into long outer tubes filled with oil. In the scooter the fork tubes or blades are straight, but the designer sees no reason why they should not be curved, as in ordinary motor cycle design.

Not the least ingenious part of the vehicle is the luggage box. When the lid of this is raised, a small cushioned seat is disclosed, which is first placed in position and then laterally extended; consequently the Hudlass scooter will suit equally well the rider who wishes to stand and the rider who prefers to sit.

The band brake on the rear wheel is controlled by a lever on the handle-bars. Despite the small wheels, excellent springing, in conjunction with the large diameter tyres, renders this scooter very comfortable to ride.

Mr. Hudlass is naturally not placing the machine on the market himself, but hopes to have the design taken up by a manufacturer.

The Motor Cycle, February 19th, 1920. Page 197

Sources: Graces Guide, The Motor Cycle

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