The Motor Scout was the first armed petrol engine powered vehicle ever built. It was not intended for running over ploughed fields or charging, but it was designed to provide a cover or to support infantry and cavalry wherever good roads were available.
It was designed and built by British inventor F. R. Simms in 1898. He mounted a standard mark IV Maxim machine gun above the front wheels of a quadricycle. The Maxim gun, with its readily accessed 1,000 rounds of ammunition, took the place of a second rider. The driver operated the machine gun. Simms put an iron shield in front of the car for the driver's protection.
A one and a half horsepower Simms' Patent Automatic Petrol Motor, with Simms' magneto-electric ignition, was fitted and the standard tank carried enough fuel for 120 miles. The Motor Scout was convertible to a two-seated quadricycle. The quadricycle was also available without the gun for non-military purposes as a two-seated vehicle for £120.
The next vehicle designed by Simms, the Motor War Car, can be considered the world's first real armoured car.
- Macksey, Kenneth (1980). The Guinness Book of Tank Facts and Feats. Guinness Superlatives Limited. ISBN 0-85112-204-3.