Born in Pembroke Dock, Wales, in 1880, Thomas George John was works manager and chief engineer with the Siddeley-Deasy Motor Company before, in 1919, he purchased the US owned firm of Holley Bros, of Hertford Street, Coventry, renaming it TG John and Co., for the manufacture of engines and carburettors.

John also produced the Stafford Auto Scooter (marketed as the ‘Mobile Pup’) a basic two-wheel ‘runabout’ utilising a 142cc ohv, single-cylinder, engine of John’s design driving the front wheel and with a steel frame supplied by the Birmingham Motor Guild. (A Mr Stafford owned a shop near to John’s works and may well have been the initiator of the design.)

Early models (1919) did not have a seat for the rider, but this ‘refinement’ was introduced in 1920 along with a locker to carry his/her shopping.

Around 100 Pups were produced before production ceased in 1920. TG John was to achieve greater fame as the founder – with designer Geoffrey de Freville – of Alvis Cars in 1920. This company produced high quality vehicles until car production ended in 1967.



The Pup was donated to Shuttleworth in 2008 by Simon Blackmore and came as a ‘basket case’. The machine was restored during 2010 by volunteers of the Vehicle Section; a new frame was required and the rear brake was renewed.

The Pup’s engine is on the right hand side of the front wheel, counterbalanced by a large cast iron flywheel on the left side. The spindle of the front wheel is linked to the engine directly by gear wheels and there is no clutch or gearing. The combined oil/petrol tank is mounted over the front wheel. There is no brake on the front wheel but the rear wheel has the benefit of a band brake. Starting is by raising the valve lifter and pushing.


The Location of the engine makes the Pup inherently unstable and difficult to ride.



Manufacturer: Stafford Auto-Scooters Ltd, Coventry, England

Model: Mobile Pup

Engine: Single-cylinder, 142cc ohv mounted on the front wheel

Top Speed: 25mph (approx.)