The Skeoch Car made in Dalbeattie

Bottom Cross Dalbeattie

A car called the "Skeoch Utility Car", was built in Dalbeattie in 1921.

It was at the Scottish Motor show in Dumfries where people got their first look at this car.

The Skeoch Car built in Dalbeattie


A building at MillIsle in Dalbeattie, was turned from a smithy owned by Mr Duncan Cameron, into a garage for Mr James B Skeoch to build his car. This was the start of "The Skeoch Utility Car Company", in 1920.

Mr J B Skeoch worked at the Arrol-Johnston Car factory in Heathall near Dumfries. He was a car designer. When he left he came to Dalbeattie and set up his workshop on Maxwell Street Dalbeattie and called it "The Burnside Motor Works". He then moved to MillIsle.

Inside factory at MillIsle

The Skeoch car was to provide people with a low-priced and comfortable two-seater car, suitable equally for business or pleasure.

This car was a two speed vehicle. The precision two-stroke engine, giving power through the Burman gearbox and finally to the rear wheels by a central driven chain. It may also be  mentioned that the convenience of the user had been most carefully studied throughout, as all levers, including the mechanical hand starter were placed inside the body of the car. The body of the Skeoch was fitted with side door and running-boards on either side and had a spacious locker at the rear.

The Ash frame was strengthened with steel plates and is rigidly constructed with four cross members by strong flitch plates. The front and second cross members carry the engine supports, the gear box support being carried by the second and third. The third cross member, which was of agle steel, is extended on either side and carries the fore end of the running boards. The fourth cross member, also of agle steel, is constructed so as to form the dual purpose of carring the rear end of the running boards, also the rear string seats.

Inside factory at MillIsle

The body of the car was coachbuilt and coach painted. Richly upholstered and fitted with specially made windscreen. The windscreen was mounted on a mahogony fillet. On the large doors could be found a map pocket and a safety lock.

The wheels were fitted with 26" x 2 1/4" Dunlop Tyres. Front wheels running on ball bearings and coupled to the front axle. Rear wheels keyed direct to rear axle running on exceptionally large car type journal ball bearings.

Brakes were worked by the foot or hand. External contracting type, acting direct on the rear wheel drum. The foot break is operated by the right pedal, and the hand break by a lever with ratchet stop, conviently placed at the drivers right hand.

The horn was a Klaxon horn.

Lights on the car were Aceteylene Lighting Set. This consisted of two solid aluminium side lamps and a tail lamp, complete with generator and fitted with brass tubing throughout.

The overall length of this car was 8ft 4in.  It was 2ft 7in wide. 3ft 7in height. It had a ground clearance of 8in

Specifications included, Acetylene Lighting Set, Hood and Screen, Streamline Coachbuilt Body, Horn, Mascot, Number Plate, Etc

The Skeoch Car built in Dalbeattie

Price complete was £180, or less Accessories £165.

The car could also be hired for a year at £8

It is thought that only twelve cars were made in this garage. Production stopped when a fire started one night in the garage and it destroyed the workshop and 6 other cars. This was in 1921.

An employee of this factory, Mr Gordon MacDonald said "The car could have developed into a great wee car!". Nothing remains of this car today.


If you have any information about this car we would love to hear from you.