Object of the week- Scootacar
A Leeds-made miniature marvel, the Scootacar must surely be one of the city’s quirkiest creations.
Originally manufactured in the late 1950s by Scootacars Ltd, a division of the famous railway locomotive builder, the Hunslet Engine Company, the eye-catching vehicles were said to have been inspired by the wife of one of the company directors, who said she wanted a car that was easier to park than her more bulky Jaguar.
Company designers charged a particularly tall employee with sitting on a box against a wall before drawing a chalk outline around him then designing a car based on that distinctive shape.
The resulting vehicle was produced between 1957 and 1964 with a sale price of around £275. Only around 1,000 were ever made and this one on display now at Leeds Industrial Museum is now among an estimated 150 left in the world today.
The car is an original Mark One version, with a 197cc single cylinder engine. It has been loaned by enthusiast Stephen Boyd, 65, from Norfolk, who purchased his first Scootacar in 1997 and whose family now own seven.
John McGoldrick, Leeds Museums and Galleries curator of industrial history, said: “The Scootacar is an excellent example of how, over the years, the city’s scientists, designers and engineers have had their impressive talents brought to bear solving some very unusual problems.
“Fortunately they have almost invariably risen to the challenge, giving the city a global reputation as both a centre of engineering excellence and the birthplace of some truly remarkable inventions and advancements.”
The Scootacar is on display as part of Leeds to Innovation which explores the stories of some of the city’s greatest minds and inventions.
For more details about the museum including admission times and charges, please visit: https://museumsandgalleries.leeds.gov.uk/leeds-industrial-museum/