Today in Motorcycle History

Phoenix Scooters UK

Phoenix scooters were produced from 1956 to 1964 by Ernie Barrett in Tottenham, London.

  • 1956 The first machine was seen and was typical of its type, but rather weighty. It had the Villiers 30C 147cc engine.

    1958 The rear body was improved and changed to glass-fibre moulding. Engines of 148cc, 197cc and 249cc were added to the range. Models were available in both standard and De Luxe versions.

    1960 Further Villiers engines of 174cc and 324cc were added.

    1963 A model fitted with the 99cc 6F engine appeared but the market was in decline.

    1964 Production stopped.

1960 Range (prices May 1960)

  • Standard 148 c.c. kick starter £154.19.9
    Super de-luxe 148 c.c. kick starter £164.19.8
    S150 148 c.c. elec. starter £174.19.8
    S175 173 c.c. elec. starter £179.19.9 starter
    S200 197 c.c. elec. starter £184.19.7
    T250 Twin 249 c.c. elec. starter £222.5.0
    T325 Twin 324 c.c. elec. starter £229.3.9

Ernie Barrett competed at the Isle of Man in 1947 (Senior and Junior), 1948 (Lightweight), 1949 (Junior), 1950 (Junior and Senior), 1951 (J&S), 1952 (Lightweight and Senior), 1953 (J, S, & Lightweight), 1954 (J, S & LW), and 1957 (J&S). His best result was 2nd on a Moto Guzzi in the 1948 Lightweight Manx Grand Prix, behind Dickie Dale, also on Guzzi. In that race he beat, among many others, Bill Lomas and Jack Sparrow. Who knew!

Phoenix-JAP Racers

The Motor Cycle, April 2, 1953, entitled "New Racers On the Way," Vic Willoughby visits Barrett's works in Tottenham, where he saw three prototype racers for the coming season... Barrett planned to sell production versions of these racers under the Phoenix label. All were being designed to use the new JAP 250cc, 350cc and 500cc engines. Barrett himself had been involved with the development of the 500cc unit for the last six months, according to the article.

In September 1952, Barrett took a Featherbed Norton to the Oliver's Mount meeting, Scarborough... ohc Norton engine had been replaced by an interesting experimental motor made by JAP. With the fuel tank still bearing the Norton name, this was a very early test of the 500cc engine which Stirling Moss used in his Cooper racing car in the 1950 Monaco GP.

Willoughby described the engines as follows... "The crankcase is cast in Elektron, the cylinder is a Wellworthy A1-Fin production and the cylinder head is an RR53B casting with shrunk-in aluminium-bronze valve seats and a brass sparking plug boss."

Barrett ran the Phoenix-JAP machines for two years in succession on the Island and it was in the Lightweight TT that he achieved a 12th place in 1953, and 17th in 1954.

Jack Sparrow in another life

Sources: Graces Guide,, The Classic Motorcycle, 3rd June 2020

N.B. Several firms used the name Phoenix.

xntrik at
Hi there, we own a Phoenix scooter in Nz and are wondering if you can give us any More details on it?
Kevin Newey
New zealand

  • Engine number prefix appears to be 506B, for which no record has been found.
    Information on this marque is scant.
    Phoenix-1960-Scooter-NZ images posted to Comments.

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