The Skeoch cycle car project

The Dalbeattie Men's Shed's signature project. We recreated a cycle car, that was built in Dalbeattie over 100 years ago from a handful of parts and some of the original plans.

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The Skeoch cycle car in the Annandale Distillery courtyard
The Skeoch cycle car in the Annandale Distillery courtyard - August 2021
A New Dawn

When a devastating fire ripped through Burnside Motor Works in Dalbeattie on 23rd December 1921 it turned a young car designer's cherished dream into a financial nightmare in the space of just a few hours.

February 2018 - Setting the scene

Several exchanges by phone and email by the various parties interested in recreating the Skeoch Cycle Car culminated in a meeting that took place at Edingham on Thursday 22nd February 2018.

March 2018 – Scoping the rebuild

It becomes apparent that the items left to kick-off the Skeoch project are less complete than anticipated. The nine copy drawings do not completely describe the car, there are significant component details missing.

April 2018 – The Shed gets title to the Skeoch

On 7 th March Geoff Allison & Alan Mazza travelled to the home of Archie & Betty Sinclair (the daughter & son-in-law of James Skeoch) in Helensburgh where they were met by Fiona Sinclair who handed over the letter transferring title of the whole Skeoch project to Dalbeattie Men’s Shed, at the same time parts of a 1928 Riley 9 car were donated to the Shed for fundraising purposes.

Billy Connolly sharing a cup of tea with Robin Gilchrist

Attracted by the Skeoch project the Shed had a famous visitor on Thursday 24th May; Sir Billy Connolly, with a film crew from 7Wonder, recorded a piece for the upcoming Billy’s travelogue around Scotland.

The Skeoch chassis in it's very early stage.

On receipt of the side frames from Paterson Engineering the basic frame was assembled , allowing measurements to be confirmed for the design of the Gearbox rear support, chassis drop arms, running board & rear spring supports – drawings of these parts were sent Patersons for laser cutting from 6mm mild steel plate.

Photo taken for the 'Dumfries and Galloway Life' magazine article.

Drawings for the bulkhead supports added to the Paterson Engineering job list. Removal of the engine cylinder head allowed the crankcase seals to be tested – they failed – confirming the need for a complete strip down and rebuild.

August 2018 – Going electronic

A new member, Dave Higginbottom, has brought computer aided engineering, CAE, skills to the project. Dave is building up a virtual Skeoch and converting the imperial aluminium casting drawings into metric CAD drawings and .stl files. The virtual Skeoch can be viewed from any angle on screen, assisting layout and confirming measurements.

September 2018 – Ford Model T Club visit

Members of the UK Model T Ford Owners Club visited the shed on 20 th September with 5 vehicles. Inspection of both the Fords and the Skeoch prompted lively discussion around similarities and differences in the two designs, it is possible that some Model T parts can be adapted to fit the Skeoch and Richard Varley of the Model T Club offered to bid for some of them on our behalf at an upcoming vintage car auction.

October 2018 – CAD design and drawings

Professional supporters make valuable technical contributions. CAD design and drawings of the most complicated aluminium part,the engine & gearbox support together with CNC files and an aluminium billet are with Alan Young Engineering, Auldgirth for CNC Machining.