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This article was produced with the
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Clark Masts Teksam Ltd

The Devil Rides Out

by Mark Daniels


Clark Scamp

Drawn by a light in the sky, we continue to follow the road south. Dusk beckons, and with it, again will come the devils that have tormented us on our journey.  We hurry on as the sun sinks behind the woods of the New Forest, exploding the autumn sky into a vivid paintbox of gilt.  Towering high above the trees and silhouetted against the embers of fading sunset, Judge Peterson's slender gothic needle at Sway points ominously to the heavens of advancing night.  Demonic yellow eyes start to glow in the darkest patches of old dead stumps, as we run down the jetty at Lymington to jump at the last second, onto the departing ferry.  The tolling of a church bell drifts across the water as land looms from the mist, while our cloaked pilot in the prow raises an arm, and points a bony finger - our destination, The Island of Vectis!

Pick up any motor cycle encyclopaedia you like, and strangely, hardly anyone seems even to acknowledge the existence of this maker or its machine!  The Scamp was the rather unlikely product of ship's mast manufacturers A N Clark (Engineers) Ltd. from the even more unlikely location of Binstead, on the Isle of Wight!  It's quite baffling how a maritime company decides to get involved in moped manufacture, but the Scamp project was started in 1967 as a departure from the usual yachting business.  With no previous experience in the field, that really is some wild diversification!  Still, all credit to Clark; they bravely committed themselves with an imaginative and unique motor of their own design and manufacture, mounted in an adaptation of the CWS (Co-op) 'Commuter' bicycle.

Clark Scamp

Glass's Index lists: "Scamp" 49.9cc (2-stroke) 38mm bore × 44mm stroke, introduced March 1968 from engine no. E10001 / frame no. U10327.  Scamp moped introduced.  Single speed, auto. clutch, rigid frame, brakes front 3½" hub, rear calliper type, tyres 12"×2", ½ gal. tank, direct lighting.

There is absolutely no 'stock' reference material available for the Scamp, the only source on this machine coming from original literature, club archives and records of enthusiasts' contacts with the manufacturer, so we really have to make the most from this information, and study of surviving examples.

Our test feature machine today is engine no E11850 / frame no V12063, still in original condition and finished in red with gold pinstripe.  This bike is the highest frame serial so far recorded by the register, and by contrast, also for the photoshoot, the second blue bike displays engine no. 11955X, and the lowest recorded frame serial V10316.

Mounted on the LHS of the rear wheel, the conventional piston-ported engine features radial finning on its alloy head and cast iron cylinder.  The crankshaft is most unusually constructed in that the flywheels bolt together by socket cap screws, through the big-end bearing core, with the con-rod seeming to run on uncaged roller bearings, so the whole assembly would appear home serviceable with no more than a simple Allen key!  A Dansi flywheel mag set hangs off the nearside journal, while the drive outputs to a simple single-stage centrifugal clutch.

Clark Scamp

The rear 'disc' wheel is a primitive assembly comprising of a Dunlop 12"×2" rim crudely bolted and riveted through the spoke holes, to a pressed steel disc form, fixed to a driving flange.  It may be little surprise to find such wheels often display some buckle effects.  The flange rotates on bearings around the rear axle, driven on a shaft from a large reduction gear running in an oil-bath alloy case, and powered by a pinion shaft from the clutch drum.  Turning a "power key" located in the clutch housing enables the drive to turn the motor, by a counterbalanced nylon pawl engaged through a slot in the clutch drum.  Once the motor is started, centrifugal force overcomes a spring to disengage the pawl.  The automatic clutch operates as motor revs are further increased.  Switching back the "power key" disables the pawl as the clutch rotates into contact, returning to cycle function.

The feature bike's motor is fed from an original fitment 12mm Amal 369/162 carburettor, though the rider's manual clearly illustrates a Dell'orto, so probably both types could be fitted.  The exhaust comprises two steel bowls bolted together to form a chamber, and easily stripped for de-carbonising.

With its 12" wheels and 16"×2" tyres, the CWS 'Commuter' cycle borrows much of its general impression from the RSW16 bicycle/Raleigh Wisp, which pre-dates the Clark by a couple of years.  Adaptations to the moped feature a hub front brake (though a calliper set is retained for the rear), Radaelli saddle, specially wide rear rack mounting the triangular petrol tank in its crook, fitment of a basic lighting set, and suitable control equipment.  The cycle propstand is woefully inadequate for the bike as a moped, and any attempt to precariously balance the machine on this flimsy leg is merely inviting the inevitable.  You might as well save time & trouble, and simply throw the bike down on its engine side every time you park!  Leaning against walls or even backing the pedal against a kerbstone is far less hazardous.

Clark Scamp

The lattice cycle chassis looks pretty impressive in its design and structural construction, being the nearest interpretation imaginable of a small-wheel version 'Mixte' frame, but anyone who's ever ridden the notoriously twitchy Raleigh Wisp is going to approach a Scamp with some trepidation.  It has much the same geometry as the Wisp, but with the engine mounted at the rear wheel, the centre of gravity is going to be further back - oh dear!  Still, one has to remain optimistic!

Engage drive mode by pulling down the "power key" and latch into position by rotating 90 degrees.  In drive mode, the Scamp can be reversed easily on the freewheel, but moving forward will now turn the engine, so requires the decompressor engaging to enable navigation.  Pull on the petrol tap at the fuel tank, and the choke is - a strangler on the back of the carb down by the rear wheel!  No linkage control, no throttle latch; you can just bet this going to be awkward!  We pedal up the road on the decompressor, drop the lever, and the drive disengages so we coast to stop with the drive pawl clicking.  The pawl doesn't latch again until the bike stops moving, to allow another starting attempt - with the same result.  During starting, it seems the pawl instantly disengages whenever the engine stutters, and the trick is getting it to catch and run as soon as the motor fires.  This could take some time!

There is a primitive sort of tickle device on the carb, which comprises the top of the float needle sticking through a hole in the float chamber top.  You can press this to flood the chamber, though it doesn't seem to offer any discernible advantage in the starting procedure, and a veritable disadvantage would appear to be as a direct access point to allow rainwater into the float chamber!

Clark Scamp
Clark Scamp

It takes several attempts before the engine does continue running, but then you've got to stop and dismount to open the choke shutter!  To stop it stalling (since we don't want to go through the starting palaver again), the tendency is to keep it on the throttle, but the automatic clutch drags and the bike tries to make off down the road - so you have to hold on the front brake now, while you try and open the strangler with your left hand down by the rear axle!  This proves hopeless if you've made the mistake of dismounting to the left side, possible but awkward if you dismount to the right.  Once the choke shutter is actually open, it's just as well to lift by the rack to get the back wheel off the ground and rev it a bit on the throttle to clear its throat.  Now the engine starts to run slower without dying out, we can remount and get underway.

A lot of these starting difficulties would certainly have frustrated most customers, and it's baffling as to why they ever sold machines fitted with the Amal carb?  The Dell'orto with its latch choke mechanism would have been so much more suitable.

Anyway, back on the bike and off we go, open the throttle, and the single-stage automatic clutch locks on in one bite at quite low revs, so the Scamp really just chugs off the line.  If you want acceleration, then it's going to have to come from your own leg power!  As we start to build towards cruising speed, one also starts to become aware of the handling characteristics.  Take a hand off the bars to signal, and the Scamp feels as if it's poised for any opportunity to go chasing rabbits in the bushes!  Just a little more edgy than a Wisp, but the Ariel 3 is still number one on the top 20 chart of "Bikes that are trying to kill you!"

Once the motor gets warmed up, Scamp cruises happily up to 25mph, above which, vibrations start coming in through the Radaelli seat and the ride becomes uncomfortable.  Hot engine, on the flat with light tail wind, our pace bike briefly glimpsed a very best of 30mph.  Downhill, 34mph maximum - and that really wasn't going to go any faster!  Speed falls away readily as the bike encounters any incline, but it still manages to labour slowly up moderate hills at low revs without the need to pedal, as the motor digs-in once it falls below 20mph.

Both brakes prove suitably retarding when required, with even the rear calliper function proving surprisingly effective, though small wheel machines would typically be expected to deliver better hub braking performance anyway, advantaged by the basic law of physics.

The flywheel mag is a Dansi set, and the Clark rider's manual specifies lights of 15W front & 3W rear, but put in these wattage bulbs and the dimness is unimaginable.  More practical illumination is found by reducing the ratings down to only 3W for both front and rear, so perhaps the generator coil might be somewhat down on output?

Clark Scamp poster

Scamp's motor ran smoothly and evenly throughout the trial with never any hint of 4-stroking, a confidence inspiring little engine that, once you've got it going, feels like it'll run as long and far as you like.  Getting started however is a most deterring operation, and would obviously have proved unsuitable to many customers for practical everyday transport.  To make this situation even worse, the plastic drive pawl developed a further reputation for rapid failure!  Clutch function also appears to engage prematurely and makes slow running and acceleration operations un-conducive, while in the longer term, all the working components of the clutch are cast from zinc and very prone to complete disintegration.  The rigid frame and forks, in combination with the small wheels and vibration effects, quickly prove fatiguing; then add these factors to the sedate performance and spooky handling, and you've got a machine that the rider probably isn't going to enjoy for long.

Tragically, the Scamp never found time to evolve, since it came and went in the same year!  Glass's Index lists the bike as discontinued in November 1968.  It was reported from Clark's that they "...could not compete with the Japanese and Continental companies already established in the market.  Due to continuing financial difficulties a Receiver/Manager was appointed by Lloyds Bank resulting in a 50% staff reduction at Binstead and a complete disposal of almost all finished machines and components..."

Clearly a catastrophic conclusion, but why the situation occurred isn't really explained.  With a selling price pitched at 46gns, the Scamp was appreciably cheaper than its most obvious market competitor, the Raleigh Wisp at 57gns, which was selling very well.  On the face of it, prospects for the Scamp might have looked pretty good, but the "continuing financial difficulties" element could suggest that the company trading position might have been struggling for some while.  Reading between the lines that yachting work was failing to support the company around this time, the Scamp project was embarked upon as an alternative business generator.  Though March might have looked an ideal time to launch the bike to catch the start of the sales season, Clarks seemed unaware of motor cycle marketing practice of showing machines the previous November at Earls Court to 'prime the trade' and initiate the advertising for advance orders.  Trying to find period magazine road tests or articles on the Scamp is practically impossible, and Clark's very own poster even fails to show a picture of the bike!

What seems to have happened was that Clark found themselves still sitting on a whole load of complete machines, cycles, engines and parts at the end of the summer as a lack of advertising had failed to generate sales.  The season had passed, and a struggling company was stuck with all the stock value - a classic formula for cash-flow foreclosure.  Big banks don't tend to have much patience with small companies trading in the redline.  Everything was flogged off anyway it could go, even chassis without engines were fitted with standard cycle wheels at the back and simply cleared as bicycles.  Out on the streets, these could be readily spotted from the standard CWS Commuter, by the dedicated Clark rear carrier with its big hole where the petrol tank was intended to fit.

With a variation of the name, a new business rose from the ashes and still trades today in Binstead on the Isle of Wight as Clark Masts Teksam Ltd, and Clark Masts (Technical Services) Ltd. spare parts company - but don't expect them to supply any parts for your moped, that's all long gone.

No official figures are known of how many Scamps were actually made, but the company suggested 3,000 - 4,000.  With the frame series seemingly starting from 10000, and considering our test machine is the highest frame serial so far recorded by the club, a statistical projection suggests the total is more likely to be within 2,500.  How many survive today?  Who knows?  However, it's certainly a lot more than some of the ridiculously low numbers being claimed in most of the adverts by people trying to sell them!

Some say that God rides a Harley, well that may be a little controversial - but if 'Old Nick' were to claim his own machine, who knows?  It might just be the Clark Scamp...

Clark Scamp


Next - The brief window of opportunity opens, to test another rare autocycle as it passes between private collections.  Such fleeting chances come Out of the Blue, and there's no time to think... just grab the camera, notebook & pen, and go!  The dials of our time machine spin backward again, to another adventure.  A shattered Europe stumbles back to its feet, and it is the old machines that will have to rebuild the new world.  The most economic motorised transport is particularly in demand, and sharp commercial eyes spy an opportunity as Autocycles are emerging for their second generation.


This article appeared in the July 2007 Iceni CAM Magazine.
[Text & photographs © 2007 M Daniels.  Montage © 2007 A Pattle]

This will probably remain the most definitive reference article on the Clark Scamp - so in making this little piece of history, we believe in doing the best we can with the resources we have on the day, since it's pretty unlikely we'll get the opportunity to visit it again... or so we thought.  However, one of the benefits of publishing on the Web is the feedback we get and, in the case of The Devil, one such e-mail has shed new light on the demise of the Clark Scamp.  So this is not the end of the story, the Devil will be riding out again later.


Speak of the Devil...

Dear Mark,

I was the first owner of Clark Scamp KJE 90G, which I bought for £35 in 1968 from Allin's cycle & autocycle dealer on Bridge Street in Cambridge.  I drove it home only to find that the front number plate had KEJ 90G, so back to the shop for new transfers.

In those days you needed L plates, but no crash helmet. Insurance was 30 shillings per year (yes £1.50).

What a vile little machine!  The cylinder head wobbled around, making a lot of vibration.  The engine connected to the bike frame with a flat plate link.  This fractured due to the vibration. The rear light kept blowing due to vibration, so I hung the rear number plate on leather straps.  The centrifugal clutch wore out so I riveted on leather "clutch plates" instead.  The advertised 200mpg was more like 20mpg when you opened the throttle.  I used to go to Marshall's Garage on Jesus Lane for petrol and a shot of Redex.  Sediment always collected in the neoprene fuel line.

I went back to Allin's for a chat and they told me to chuck the Scamp into the river.  So much for after-sales service.  Wonder how many more Scamps are at the bottom of the Cam?

I never used the Power Key.  It was only used if you wanted to push the bike any distance by hand.

Method of starting the engine:

Tickle the Amal carburettor

Shut the carburettor intake disk

Open the decompresser using the handlebar lever

Stand to the left of the bike

Left hand on the throttle

Lift the rear wheel off the ground using the rear carrier

Press down on the bike pedal to turn the engine over

When the engine fired close the decompresser

Open the carb air intake disk

In 1969 I rode the Scamp from Cambridge to Peterborough, to catch a train up North.  The spark plug fouled up on the way to Peterborough, so plug spanner in operation.  Up North I got a rear tyre puncture.  Not possible to remove rear wheel, so puncture repaired with bike lying on its side.

I then passed my driving test in Cambridge in a Ford Anglia 105E, so off came the Scamp L plates.  I last used the Scamp in the early 1970s then gave it away.  Just out of curiosity I Googled Clark Scamp and saw my old bike on your website.

All the best from
Peter Dockerty.

[The old log book for KJE 90G lists just Peter Dockerty as the first owner and Anthony Silvey next.  The change of ownership was never stamped and the bike wasn't taxed after August 1971, so it looks as if Mr Silvey never got it to work well enough to use. - Andrew]


This letter appeared in the April 2012 Iceni CAM Magazine.


Making The Devil

So what was it like producing The Devil Rides Out?  Difficult all the way is the best answer.  Taking several years in research and generation, source material was the biggest problem, since so little was available, and it was very hard to turn up much more than scraps of anything new, so it mainly came down to collation, careful analysis of what there was, and statistical projection.  Once we'd finally got the bike to work, the road test went well, and the main text on this one came together fairly quickly - but the original 'maritime' intro never felt right and didn't let the story flow from the previous link.  So in the end, it got ripped right out, binned, and completely reworked.  The 'demon journey' was the final result, travelling south and crossing the Solent to the Isle of Wight.  Vectis was of course, the old Roman name for the island, and it all started tumbling into place like some antique Hammer horror.

The 'little devil' photoshoot had long been planned to match with this article, way back years ago, when the project to produce the feature first started.  I guess the idea was inspired by the original advertising poster.  Scamp's tiny wheels and low engine, coupled with falling sun angle of early evening, meant practically all pics had to be taken at low angle to avoid shadows - but not until Rachael got kitted up, and framed in the viewfinder for the first shot, with the sunlight flashing off that red leotard; only then you know it really is going to work!  With the shadows lengthening, the shoot had to go quickly, with fast changes of set and location to follow the light.  Two rolls of film clicked through in 45 minutes, away in the post to the developers on Monday 18th June, and a fast closing deadline for Iceni2 at the end of the week.  The film and discs came back on Saturday 23rd, then straight on to Andrew for digital additions.  With the gothic arch and flames dropped into the lead picture, final lay-up of the magazine could progress, and then there's all the printing to do!  The timing certainly ran a bit tight on this one, and it sure was a scramble to get everything completed for Peninsularis, but we made it - just!

This will probably remain the most definitive reference article on the Clark Scamp - so in making this little piece of history, we believe in doing the best we can with the resources we have on the day, since it's pretty unlikely we'll get the opportunity to visit it again... or so we thought.  However, one of the benefits of publishing on the Web is the feedback we get and, in the case of The Devil, one such e-mail has shed new light on the demise of the Clark Scamp.  So this is not the end of the story, the Devil will be riding out again later.

The Devil Rides Out hit a final bill of £92 to complete the article, (film/developing/CDs £29, costume and props £30, fuel £33), so you can see exactly where the money goes, and all donations go directly toward production.


Director's Cut logo

Devil's Epitaph

by Mark Daniels


Clark Scamp grave

2008 sees 40 years since the introduction of the Clark Scamp, and the anniversary of our presentation on the machine.

Fretton's of Coventry advert

While our previous article "The Devil Rides Out" covers the Scamp in feature, following its publication last year further researches have turned up fresh material and revelations have bubbled to the surface as a result of our readers' responses.

I'm Backing Britain badge

It seems that Clark were adopting their own original methods to market the Scamp, employing sales rep, R T Townson, to travel the country, making personal calls on motor cycle dealers to establish agencies and secure orders.  At this time, in the mid to late 60s, there was an on-going government initiated programme to promote British goods and manufacturing - anyone remember the "I'm backing Britain" campaign?  There are references by Townson that Clark had also been following this theme to promote the Scamp.

Glass's Index listed the Clark Scamp from March 1968.

Managing Director of Fretton's of Coventry, and Chairman of the National Association of Cycle & Motor Traders Committee, Reginald Reed, produced a moped sales presentation to the Blackpool Council meeting of 21st March 1968, and previewing the forthcoming motor show at Belle Vue, Manchester on 3rd April.  This report included an outline on introduction of the Clark Scamp moped produced by Alec Clark from Binstead, Isle of Wight, as an entirely new machine to be listed for £48-6s-0d (46 Guineas), and being price pitched as "the cheapest machine of the year".  He went on to somewhat generously describe "The performance is lively (we wouldn't!), maintenance remarkably easy, though the ride is rather noisy and a little rough - but remember the price - and it should find a ready market".  Then closing with the statement that, "It may not be on view at Manchester, however".

We came upon some interesting factory publicity pictures, showing two early Scamps, both with IoW KDL series registrations that reasonably date them to late 1967.  A close-up picture is further interesting in that it shows the engine fitted with a large Dell'orto carb, certainly the only one we have actually seen.  Although a few production machines had the Dell'orto carb, the majority appeared with the Amal 369/162.

Clark Scamp publicity photo Clark Scamp close-up

IceniCAM reader Paul Sugden relates that the Scamp moped was the subject of a 'Breach of Confidence' case raised in 1968 by a Mr Coco against A N Clark Engineering, for manufacturing the moped engine from his drawings.

In 1965 Mr Coco began market research into the possibility of producing a new moped, and proceeded to design one.  By March 1967 a batch of pistons had been made for him in Italy and sent to him in England.  In April 1967 there was the first contact between Mr Coco and A N Clark about the proposed moped and the company expressed interest in making it.  In a letter dated 24 April 1967 the company asked Coco to bring the prototype that he had built to the works of the company.  Over the next three months there were many discussions between the parties and Coco supplied Clarks with information and drawings towards the production of what had come to be known as "the Coco moped".  Clarks did work on Mr Coco's ideas and also put forward draft documents concerning the financial arrangements between them, but these documents were never signed and terms were never agreed.

On 20 July 1967, A N Clark told Mr Coco that the transmission of the Coco moped was creating a serious problem of excessive wear to the rear tyre and that the company had decided to abandon it and make its own moped to a different design.  The Coco moped used a roller-drive to the rear wheel.  When the Scamp appeared on the market, although it used a completely different transmission, the engine was substantially similar to Mr Coco's design.

Mr Coco sued for breach of confidence in disclosure of his drawings.

There was a preliminary hearing where Mr Coco applied for an injunction to stop production of the Scamp as 'interlocutory relief'.  The injunction was refused.  Clarks undertook to pay a royalty of 5/- (25p) for every Scamp engine manufactured into a special joint bank account on trusts.  The full trial would then decide how much, if any, of the accumulated money would be awarded to Mr Coco.

However, the trial never took place, the Scamp was discontinued, and Clarks went into administration.

Glass's Index entry confirms production of the Scamp as ceased in November 1968.

Despite not going to trial, the Coco v A N Clark case established quite a landmark, and is still widely quoted in legal cases as a test case example for breach of confidence.

It would certainly be of interest to add a reference copy of the original Coco drawings to IceniCAM Information Service files, if anyone might be able to turn up a print?

This epitaph could finally lay Scamp's listless soul to rest, yet still may not complete the last word on this haunting spirit.  Even as this passage is typed, an ongoing engineering project could mean that the little devil may return to grace these pages again someday - in some rather unexpected form!

Further information

Some of the Clark Scamp documentation that is available from our IceniCAM Information Service

Illustrated Spare Parts List - March 2, 1968

Illustrated Spare Parts List: revised Section 2 - July 1, 1968

Spare Parts Price List - September 1, 1968

Service sheet: clutch anchor plate - June 16, 1969

Factory Letter & Pictures

Poster

Rider's Manual


This article first appeared in the July 2008 Iceni CAM Magazine and was later updated with more information on the Coco moped.
[Text © 2008, 2011 M Daniels & A Pattle.  Gravestone picture © 2008 A Pattle.  Period pictures from IceniCAM Information Service]


More Devilry

IceniCAM readers may be aware of the motor cycle drawings by Nick Ward that regularly feature in Classic Bike Guide.  Co-incidentally, Nick's drawing in the June 2008 edition of CBG featured a Clark Scamp.  Not just any Clark Scamp either, the model for the drawing was the blue Scamp that was featured in our The Devil Rides Out article.

Clark Scamp drawing by Nick Ward
© 2008 N Ward, all rights reserved

We are grateful to Nick for supplying us with a copy of his original drawing and for granting us permission to reproduce it on this website.


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