Today in Motorcycle History

Kingsbury Motorcycles and Scooters

Kingsbury scooters were built from 1919 to 1922 by Kingsbury Engineering Co Ltd* who built some 150 DH6 aircraft during WWI

The machines were sold by London and Midland Motors of London W1.

1919 The first model entered the market after the end of World War I. It had a 2hp two-stroke engine at the front of the platform frame. The rear wheel was driven by chain via a countershaft, it had disc wheels with brakes and front suspension by plungers. Riders had to stand, but a seat later became an option.

1920 A lightweight motorcycle joined the scooter. Conventional in design, it was powered by the same 254cc two-stroke engine, but with two-speed transmission by chain and belt through the maker's own gearbox.

Kingsbury Scooter 1920

Another miniature with a seat. A Kingsbury scooter fitted with a Tan-Sad seat which considerably increases its range of action.

1921 The motorcycle continued, but the original Kingsbury scooter went out of production as the trend for such transport waned.

The company entered liquidation in May of 1921.

Two years later the vacant hangars were leased by the owners of coachmakers Vanden Plas who build luxury bodies for automobiles. They also built racing cars, and the winners of Le Mans from 1927 to 1930 were prepared in the Vanden Plas factory, designed by W.O. Bentley. The factories returned to aviation production in WWII and built wings for the twin-engined Mosquito fighter-bombers, the fastest planes in the sky from 1941 to 1944.

N.B. Graces Guide says the scooters were built in Croydon, Surrey

Kingsbury Scooter 1919

A Design Planned to Promote Cleanliness and Obviate Oil-slinging.


MESSRS. the Kingsbury Aviation Co., Kingsbury, London, N.W., propose, at no distant date, to place on the market a motor scooter of the original "stand up" type. A 2¼ h.p. two-stroke engine, carrying a detachable combustion head, is employed, while the cylinder and crank case form one casting. The crankshaft, carrying an external steel flywheel on the near side, runs in phosphor-bronze bearings, and a cast iron piston is at present employed, but may at a later date be replaced by an aluminium one fitted with cast iron rings. The weight of the power unit, less the C.A.V. magneto and standard Amac carburetter, is under 15 lb. The transmission gear employed is of a substantial nature, the drive being taken by a chain from the engine sprocket to a ball bearing counter-shaft situated directly in front of the rear wheel, and thence by another chain to the gear reducing sprocket enclosed in a case on the rear wheel. The gear ratio is 7 to l.

A Chassis of Flat Steel.

The chassis is of flat steel throughout, the flexible qualities of which provide sufficient springing to absorb the smaller road shocks. Un the top, of the chassis a wide footboard is bolted, and is laterally held by means of long bolts, two of which hold the engine, which is situated directly behind the front wheel. Solid disc wheels are fitted, the front one being sprung by two vertically opposed compensating coil springs, the outer ends of which are attached to a steel frame, the lower half being bolted to the front forks, whilst the inner ends of the springs are attached, through a central slide, to the front hub spindle.

Two brakes are provided - one hand and the other foot controlled - independently actuating the two external contracting brake bands on the rear wheel. A shield placed in the rear of the magneto, which is housed directly behind the engine, and extending from the wide foot-board to the lower end of the petrol tank, adequately protects the rider, an especially important point to a lady. In addition to the gauze covering the off side of the engine, the petrol tank, conforming to the shape of the frame, practically encloses the complete engine unit. A substantial silencer is fitted and housed beneath the chassis.

The manufacturers of this scooter, who have previously been employed in the construction of aircraft engines, will be able to begin deliveries in large quantities within a short time.

The Motor Cycle, August 14th 1919.

2½ h.p. Kingsbury 1920

All-chain drive and enclosed fork springs on the 2½ h.p. Kingsbury are unusual refinements on a lightweight.

Kingsbury 1920

Countershaft portion of the Kingsbury expanding clutch gear. 1920

Olympia Show 1920

Kingsbury. (Stand 43.)

  • 2¾ h.p.; 75x79 mm. (349 c.c.); single-cylinder two-stroke; hand pump lubrication; Senspray carburetter; C.A.V. chain-driven magneto; two-speed selective clutch gear; chain drive; 25x2¼ in. tyres.

Kingsbury Engineering Co., Ltd., Kingsbury Engineering Works, Kingsbury.

Originally interested in aviation, the above company are the manufacturers of a small and popular two-cylinder car as well as of the new two-stroke motor cycle shown on the stand. The cycle is of medium weight and of straightforward design, and is fitted with a substantial carrier and toolbags enclosed and reinforced by steel casings. Footrests are fitted instead of footboards, and the drive is by chain throughout, protected by light casings, only the upper portion of the final drive chain being covered. Care has been taken to provide ample clearance between the tank and the frame, and the fillers are of such size that it is possible to replenish both tanks without spilling. The coil spring against which the front forks rock is enclosed in a metal cover of neat design. Besides the brake on the front wheel rim, there is a second large and powerful contracting band, which operates on a drum on the rear wheel hub, close beside the driven sprocket. This band is contracted by a pedal placed on the rear footrest, with its plate close to the actuating rod for the change-speed gear. This latter is of the selective clutch type, of very neat design, and slightly modified this year.

Olympia Show, 1920

The Motor Cycle, December 2nd, 1920. Page 729

Sources: Graces Guide; The Motor Cycle