Project Description

Dayton Albatross Continental 250 Twin

Markie Says: “Probably the best Scooter ever made”

Dayton Albatross Continental 250 Twin

What a cracking Scooter and one you can proudly say ‘made in England’ between 1956 and 1960. It was said to be the Rolls Royce of Scooters – Englands attempt to compete with the larger Heinkel, Zundapps and Maicos of the time. Made with the aim at comfortable touring, the seat is massive and ideal for 2. They look big and heavy but they’re not really.

For me, whats not to like – it’s got a Villiers 250 2 stroke twin engine under the covers. A common engine sold by Villiers to various motorcycle manufacturers of the time. Said to do 70mph it would have been one of the fastest standard Scooters from the 50/60’s. Dayton cycle company made a few Albatross styles, the early one was ugly with a totally different flat front end, the Continental got a revamp with a curved front end.

I now own 4 of these, they are rare and hardly ever come up for sale. The first one came in passing with a phone conversation with my good friend and ex team racer Rob Miller in Newcastle. I said I had been looking for one and Rob told me, he came across an old boy some years back who had one tucked away which he found out when Rob went to cut some keys for the man. Rob put the phone down and drove to see if they guy still had it – and he did! A deal was done and Rob dropped it off at our place some time later.

Then my old mate and ex employee Max Bygraves sold me a complete frame/bodywork so I could do a transplant with a modern engine. This is sold to Kevin Wheatcroft which I still need to start, which Ive found a Piaggio GTS300 with 69 miles on from new as the engine donor.

Then Max sold his complete untouched one to our mutual crack pot mate Rob Number Plate Skipsey. I told Rob I would have have it if I knew he was selling. Rob got his teeth into the Dayton and did lots of research into them and then found another totally untouched. Now Rob is a manic depressive, a few weeks later he was down and said they were going to auction which I replied ‘if the price is right I’m having them both’.

A day later he was at our place unloading the Daytons. My last words to him the night before was – ‘I want them both working and rideable, I do not want another project’! He came and both weren’t working, we added fuel, swapped a spark plug, played with the switches and blow me both started, ticked over and the lights worked!

Okay there was some leaks, some things slightly worn out and a little bit of damage and tight cables. But they were all there and both totally original untouched – where can you find 2 bikes like that together. Rob was hard on his price, as was I. The clincher was one bike had an aged related number plate which Rob wanted to sell on, but we both agreed it would spoil the bike if it lost the original number – deal done I paid the price and I kept the number – not that I want to sell it on – I want the bike to stay as it should – original.

No more projects – famous last words. Max’s Dayton really was a time warp. I looked at the lighting which needed looking at and I looked at the damage on the running boards and needed the cables changing but I wanted it right – so it got stripped! Bloody projects! What a pain in the arse taking the floor runners off – you have to take the stand off first and then lay the bike down to get to all the screws. I’m never complaining about a Lambretta or Bella again. Once they were off, I could look at the ignition but it’s not stopped there. I went and bought a pair of cylinders which are easily tuneable! I had an electronic ignition that fitted the cranks taper so theres a project, a full 3 phase digital electronic ignition. So now it’s nearly all stripped, ready for cleaning, polishing, new ignition, crank and rod rebuild with modern pistons then Reed valve tuned with a modern carb.

Dayton number 4 is staying as it is – all untouched, until I know the modern up grades. All 3 will be wolfs in sheeps clothing – just how I like a bike.

My dream was to do the GTS engine transplant and tour Europe with Alice as they are big enough to carry the luggage. Kevin was looking for me to build a Lambretta to go in the back of his camper truck. Now he’s never ridden a Lambretta or a motorbike, so I convinced him an old English Scooter with an easy drive twist and go engine would be much better for him, he was hooked and even agreed on the colour scheme! So I’m doing that for him.

Me – the Daytons are perfect to visit museums, rallies and car shows where they will fit straight in.