The Svalan Scooter was presented in the spring 1954.
It was built by the Swedish firm John Ericsson Maskinaktiebolag AB i Falun. It was a joint venture with the makers of Apollo, M Berlin & co in Värnamo.
The scooters were called "Svalan Scooter" and "Apollo Biet". Quite a few details differed, so it wasn't so much of a joint venture.
The two scooters shared the same engine, a Swedish-built JB-engine, twostroke, 128 cc, 4,5 hp and only two gears. This engine was "developed" in 1949 for Swedish small motorcycles, but the makers prefered DKW- and Husqvarna-engines. So there was a lot 128 cc JB-engines left over...
The enginemaker John Benson (JB) persuaded the Svalan and Apollo factories to build a scooter. In 1953 a Swedish industrial designer came upp with a fairly nice design. Nothing like the finished result.
|An Apollo Biet in front of my Svalan Scooter. Note double headlamps on Biet.|
The production started 1953-1954 with a design done by a foreman at the Apollo factory.
The big problem already from the start was the cooling. The original engine was intended for an open motorcycle, not an enclosed scooter. The cowl for the fan and cylinder was rubbish. The engine seized after just some kilometers. They tried to solve it with drilling holes into the body.
The scooters were otherwise pretty crude. It's unsprung in the back, the dimensions of the tubes for the fork for the back wheel are to small, grime from the road is forced by the back wheel in to the carburettor. The wheels are 14-inch, imported from Italy, so is the headlamp.
I doubt there were any built after the first half of 1955. Apollo stopped earlier after only 42 Apollo Biet had been built. The number of Svalan Scooter built is bigger, maybe 100-150. No records are available, hearsay is the source. But it makes sense considering the amount of survivors. I know of 6-8 Apollo Biet and maybe 20-25 Svalan Scooters.
|The height differs as well, and the front shield.|
I found my Svalan Scooter in january 2009. An old motorcycle guy had stored it for almost thirty years. Before that it was first sold in 1959, four years after it's making.
What I found was a totally dismantled scoot. My good friend Jim is a JB-expert so the sorting of the engine was an easy game. And, it was very, very little wear due to very, very low mileage.
In april 2009 I could drive a Svalan Scooter for the first time. Very fun even though I prefer a Vespa or a Lambretta anyday. But it's a piece of scooter (and Swedish) history that is worth to preserve.
|This is what I found in the old geezer's garage. A Svalan Scooter!|
|Some puzzling to get old the bits togheter.|
|The round holes for ventilation are actually done at the factory...|
|From a sales leaflet, pretty accurate compared with reality.|
|Just prior to the first start up, Jim's fixing witt the gas tank.|
|Left: gearchange, first heel, second toes. The brake lever is reversed here.|
|The crank, just wiped clean! The milage on this engine was very, very low.|
|The original cowl for cylinder and fan. Not very functional.|
|An advert from 1954 in a Swedish magazine, bigger wheels is the USP.|
|It's very long, the ride is, hrm, interesting.|
|The first ever Svalan Scooter at a scooter-premiere, may 2009.|