Scorpion Sporsters





Photo Credit (Not Known)



Motorcycle article 7th March 1963


This week marks the arrival-of another manufacturer of sporting motorcycles.

the machine is the Scorpion, designed and produced by 26 year old Paul Wright at Bishops Stortford.

Paul has practical experience as a rider in trials, scrambles and grass track, meetings.

And he is the designer for one of the country's leading sport-car firms.

This combination stood him in good stead when he set out to design a trials and scrambles bike just over a year ago,that met his ideals, and ideas.

the aim has been to produce a model that would except a number of power units that would suit the choice of the individual.

The spine type frame fabricated from sheet steel is roughly L shaped ,its 5 inch deep member  tapering to two inches wide at the front, which carries the steering head to four inches at the back.

Welded to the rear is a vertical member providing a location for the pivoted rear fork spindle.

Again the rear fork and two arms which extend rearward from the angle of the main frame to locate the rear suspension units, are sheet steel fabrications.

A bolt-on engine cradle that can be made to take various units is of square steel RHS(Resistance Welded Hollow Section) tubing.

It is attached just below the steering head and curves rearward to meet the lower extremity of the vertical member.

Front forks are of leading link-pattern with a bracing loop.

Armstrong links and front and rear suspension units are employed.

The twenty one inch front and eighteen inch rear wheels have MotoLoy full width hubs  with six inch diameter brakes.

Rubber Cush drive is fitted to the rear hub.

Mudguards are Glass-fibre, the rear one being quickly detachable and incorporating a seat and rear number plate.

removal gives access to a tool box in the vertical frame member underneath.

Glass-fibre is used again for the fuel tank which is available in either one or two gallon capacity.

Weight of the machine is 210 lbs with a Villiers Power unit fitted.

Other details include Amal alloy brake and clutch levers, and adjustable rear footrests and brake lever.

It is intended to market the Scorpion in kit form,

Cost will be about £110 without an engine,

Villiers 197cc, or 246 cc with Marcelle or Parkinson conversion will be available.


Address of Scorpion Motorcycle Development: is 


40 Rochford Road Bishops Stortford. Hertfordshire.


Peter Fraser  7th March 1963.


Photo Credit Ray Fazey. 2014


This is friend Mick Salts BSA C15 engined machine, now in the process of getting rebuilt to put onto the road to be ridden, for the fun, of riding a Classic 1963 very rare sports motorcycle.



This must be the original Mock up machine,


The production Glass-fibre tank and seat-mudguard unit, and front mudguard, was made by Chris Butler.(BML)


Riding in the 1965 SSDT below. It is said that Chris Cullen kept a welder very busy over the week end of the trial, but that was one way to test the machine, in the longest toughest observed trial in the world at that time.




Photo Credit Deryk Wylde Off Road Review-e.



This next photo of Dave Lomas who was one of the few to actually have owned a production Scorpion trials machine, converted his frame to hold the fuel in the top frame member, a very sensible idea, and one that would have probably been put into practice by the factory if the production run in there new unit at Whitfield near Brackley in Northhamptonshire, had been longer.

The run of production unfortunately was only two years and the factory closed in 1965.


What a shame, probably lack of funding and the running down of the motorcycle industry in this country did not help.  But I think the concept that I still feel is brilliant was way ahead of its time?


But was it ? don't forget the Japanese motorcycle industry were already making pressed steel frames for there machines.

But Paul Wright's thinking of keeping it simple, meant that the frame unit could be built in a small workshop with nothing more complicated than a steel sheet folding machine and someone that could weld steel seams.

Before the appearance of a mig welder,don't forget ,these seams were probably done with a gas torch.

(I will let you know when I have looked closely at one of the welds,)


The first frames were actually built in a small workshop in north London by two sidecar road racing engineers, Bob Robinson and Ted Young.


So that proved a point ,yes anyone with these facilities could still make a Scorpion type trials frame,using this very same method.





Again photo credit ORR-e


This machine that Dave Lomas is riding was later passed on to Ben Falconor.

Who rode the machine a couple of years ago (2012)  in the Scottish Two Day trial.


You can clearly see below the space for the tool box in the vertical seat box in this scanned shot.


And just look at the footrests,  and the position of the handlebars,how times have changed.


This seat pillar was used for the air-cleaner unit on the Scrambles version has can be seen in the heading photo.


I hope to continue on this page when I get new material. Later







This is the race version that I saw at the motorcycle show in London

We all thought there were no engine innards.

It was a very pretty machine even in its mock up state,

Banbury Motorcycle journalist Bruce Cox allegedly had arranged to have got Banbury GP road racer Rodney Gould the ride on the bike once it was finished, but I don't think Rod ever threw his leg over the machine.





It as been said that the machine did complete a test day at the Silverstone circuit. with some of the Scorpion trials riders present. but who actually did the Testing, Mr Gould?




These next two Photos are Ben Falconer machine,

He rode this in the Scottish Two day trial, in 2012.

And has an entry again this year 2016,

We will see how he gets on.



Photos are Courtesy Ben Falconer



More later Hope to get Bens Story,HERE.




You can see by December 1963 the address is Scorpion Motorcycles,

                                                                         Silverstone Works,




:There is a Spine type frame built out of 16 gauge sheet steel;

:Trials TYPE 2 is powered by a Villiers 32A unit;

:On The Trials TYPE 2 "Replica", the standard cylinder assembly is replaced by the Parkinson alloy Conversion;






Hi Charlie,

I've enjoyed your Otter site for several years, but until this morning
I had not noticed the page on the Scorpion frames.  The article and
photos of the scrambler and unit single BSA are new to me and much
appreciated!  I already had some of the SSDT photos from Trials

I can see that the above-engine spine and seat boxes/rails are welded
to the front and back of the vertical box. How are the main boxes

 Did they do two "C" halves and then weld those together with
two central seams on opposite sides, fold it all up from one piece and
have one weld seam in the middle of a face or at a corner, fold a
large "U" shape and then add a plate to close it off with two edge
seams on either side of that or ?

 Do you know if there were any
bulkheads in the main boxes as seen on some riveted-up aluminum RR
monocoque frames?

I had a vintage scrambles project based on a Motobi with a box section
frame and you can see some photos of the Motobi frame here:

Michael Moore


Charlie,> Michael, I will get in touch with the owner of the BSA engined Scorpion, and go and take some photos ,because I also would like to know how the frames were actually folded and welded. a Very interesting machine and it is a shame the a draw to the film industry actually was more than likely why production ceased? Or did it actually ever really start?


Get back to you Michael.



Three Day trials tank or  six days even.





A good shot of the frame and how well the BSA C15 engine suits it.





You can clearly see the make up of the three boxes here.

I Still think the suspension out-riggers are very wide at 10" normal practice seems to be 9" at the most.What does deceive is the fact that the top mounts are actually inside the out-riggers though.




And the way the boxes  are bronze welded together and not Mig'ed, it was the period before Mig welders were readily available.

 and Tig  or Argon-Arc was still very much in its infancy.




You Can see that this BSA engine was fitted in the factory at the time for the fact that the head steady was made as part of the fixtures.......





And again the front engine mounting was done as the frame was made and  spacers machined for the job.




The Scorpion tank badges were made in the jewellery quarter somewhere by the look of them. No expense spared there.




The machine seems to be long and low despite the box section. but we know the measurments add up.

Today longer suspension would be the norm at the back end and longer forks on the front.

But in 1964 the rule was that a line draw through the centre of the wheel spindles also passed through the centre of the engine crankshaft.


Now take a look at Ben's Blue bike above.





Photos Courtesy "Otterman"©

Mick with his proud possession.


Such a shame the Scorpion works did not last longer because this engine suits the bike, but unfortunately it was at-the start of the British Motorcycle Industry meltdown.




This is Mick Salts rather special Scorpion Machine.


After taking the photos and closely inspecting the machine it is conclusive that this machine was built by the Scorpion factory in the format that it is still in today.

And the only conclusion that I can come up with, is that it was built to be a Welsh three Day trial or ISDT machine.

This would account for the British Hub front brake being fitted, the same as used on the Cotton Telstar racer, and the rear quickly detachable Norton hub fitted. the fitments for the sprocket guide etc,  where defiantly Factory fitments.

And there are holes on the Butler back mudguard seat unit for attachments of numberplate and lights.

The late 1959 BSA C15 engine unit fitted looks to be in unused condition, even with the small head fin next to the spark plug is still there un heard of.

And inlet manifold is 

fitted with a 376 large bore Amal Monoblock Carb, again makes me wonder what is inside the engine.

 This may become a story on its own if a very prominent BSA personalty gets to take a look inside. Rupert Ratio no less.


The frame number 00003/4 would suggest to me that the machine had been built in 1963? hence the "3" and the 4 standing for Four-stroke, Mick suggests "4" stands for scramble bike?

Or Would the "3"or "4" suggest the number of machines built?





Photos Courtesy "Otterman"©



Frame measurements for you and Me Michael Moore.



The frame construction is of considerable interest.

It is made up of basically two folded tube box sections, these where finished with a two flange seam and then gas welded without using a rod and just melting the flange steel together,

(This was one of my first tasks at college to make a box in this manner, I chose to go further and made it into an oil-take to the amusement of the lecturer at the time.)


Anyway these two box sections, the top 18" long, 4"wide at the rear, and 2" at the front where it meets with  the 6 1/4" long steering head tube.

 This joint was  Bronze welded, to the steering head.

and the section is  4 1/2" -5"deep.


And the second 18" long tapering seat/swinging-arm box section, this is 4" wide by  4 3/4" long , Back to front at the top. square.

tapering again to 2" at the botton engine-footrest mounts.


What surprised me is that the suspension top mount measure 10"across.


And these again are made into a fabricated unit with 16 gauge folded flat steel and then welded to a triangle shaped reinforcing wedge before again being Bronze welded as a unit to the seat box.


The Swinging arm is 18" long from pivot, to wheel-spindle.


And 15 3/4" from the front brace tube.


Everything, brackets, Etc. are Bronze welded, and only the box seams are run along with a gas torch, and I must say the guy that did these could use that torch.


Steel used for the frame was 18-16 gauge mild steel for the main two boxes.

and 16 gauge mild steel for the top suspension mount outriggers.

Steering head angle was  62 degrees on the trials bike ,64 on the Scrambler.

 the weight of the frame was said to be 11 Ib but I think this figure optimistic..


Wheelbase 51 1/2 -52 inches.


Front engine tube 16 gauge 1 1/8 ERW tubing.


Swinging arm 1 1/2" x 3/4" 16 gauge RHS,


1,1/4" 16 gauge Swinging arm stabiliser tube...........


Data if you are thinking of building a frame like we are.


Bonhams 2009.



1964 Scorpion 247cc Moto-Cross
Frame no. S0008/4
Engine no. 0005D 24176
The Paul Wright-designed, Northamptonshire-made Scorpion was launched in kit-form in 1963 as a trials machine with the ubiquitous Villiers engine-unit and with leading-link forks.
The key point about the design was that the rigidly boxed frame centre-section gave sufficient adaptability for the two-stroke conversion barrels popular at the time.
In 1964 the range was extended with the ‘Moto-Cross Type 4’ and the other machines being built at a new factory.
Production, however, ceased in 1965.
The extremely rare Scorpion offered here is in incomplete form but with all of the essentials present.
Due to the use of proprietary engines and other components, very few problems should arise in the restoration of this very scarce British competition machine with most parts being available from specialists.


The story on Mick's machine will now run as it is planed to press on with the rebuild as soon as possible.

Feb 2018.



You know, We have been in touch with Paul Wright's daughter Susan, and if we possibly can, we will try and arrange for Paul to visit Mick and take a look at the machine, and he may give us the missing information.


Susan's >Mail

You wondered on the website why Scorpion only lasted two years?

It was because the guy who was helping to fund the company pulled out unexpectedly, leaving Dad and his business partner in tremendous difficulty.

They had to break into the workshop to rescue their own tools! My parents ended up emigrating to Africa after that, as Dad had  a job with Lotus cars. 


He also worked as a designer for Aston Martin, contributing chassis design (I think) for the DB5.


Anyway, lovely to read your website,

Best wishes,





I thought you might like to know that my dad is still alive and we both looked at your website together.

He was really chuffed to read about his bikes and see your images.

Dad bought his last motorbike (a Harley) at the age of 70 and gave up riding 5 years ago.


Anyway, we are so thrilled to see the images of the bike,


Best wishes,




More later as always.


("Otterman pic)


Over The Rainbow?


 Watch this space.


A Lot More to come.