|ENQUIRY RESPONSE:||Subject: RYTECRAFT SCOOTACAR||Response by Bozi|
( Enquiry from Smita in India received and replied in 2001 )
Thank you for your fascinating Email and photos on the subject of the microcar. From the photos it is regretfully apparent that the car is not of 1903 vintage as shown but much more modern. I note that the engine manufacturer is stated as being Villair and that the make of the car is stated as a Rutecraft Scooter Car. - Sorry to say, all this information is a bit incorrect. The car is in fact a RYTECRAFT SCOOTACAR manufactured between 1934 and 1940 by the British Motor Boat Manufacturing Company Ltd., Kings Cross, London. The Rytecraft Scootacar was apparently designed and produced Jack Shillan. It had conventional styling but in miniature mimicking Vauxhalls and later Chrysler Airflows. The first car was produced in 1934 and was powered by a 98cc Villiers Midget engine with a top speed of 15mph (24kph). It was a single seater, no springs, with automatic centrifugal clutch and one speed. This was followed three years later by a two-seater car having electric lighting and with 3 speeds and reverse, powered by 250cc Villiers engine capable of 40mph (64kph). Original prices were £70 for the first model and £80 for the second. Manufacturing was discontinued in 1940 but a few cars were assembled after the war from remaining pieces.
It seems from the photos that you have emailed that the car has no springs and this would suggest that it was a MK 1 car built between 1934 and 1937. This is confirmed by the car having a single control pedal on the floor which acts as both an accelerator and brake. It does seem to have small electric lights so it was probably manufactured at the later part of that period; hence 1936 would probably be about the right date. None of the cars in any manual I have seen had proper big headlights because the car was never used as a 'serious' road going car. It was mainly used as a dodgem car in fun fairs, as a children's training car, and as a midget road runabout. There was also a commercial version called the 'scootatruck'.
The current value and the market may be limited mainly because the Rytecraft was not a full size 'serious road car' and therefore has limited uses. Contacts with UK vintage car dealers suggest a UK Purchase Price of approximately £2,000 - 3,000 (UK Pounds Sterling) ex India as it would be bought sight unseen and would have to be transported and there could well be 5% VAT charged on its import price and the shipping costs. A collector might well pay much more but you need to find him. We are not aware of how this price would compare with prices in India.
There are still some of these cars running. I can confirm having traced at least one working Rytecraft. This vehicle is a part of an exhibition at the Ramsgate Motor Museum. In the meantime I have spoken to a UK Vintage Car Dealer who currently has a very similar trainer car for sale. His car was manufactured in approximately 1940 and is an Italian version of the same type of trainer car, even using the same type of Villiers engine. Although named a Behielved, this could well be a Rytecraft with an Italian body. It may have been constructed by, but it was certainly used by Alfa Romeo to give their clients instructions on car control and road sense. The car is currently for sale at approximately £2,500. If interested in either car please contact us and we will pass on all the enquiries.
(Photos of Rytecraft Scootacar, the Behielved Trainer & details of Jaipur Vintage Rally follow:)