World of motorcycleS
Veloce/Velocette info, photo's & links
The firm was run by the Goodman family. During the nineteenth century they arrived from Germany and changed their name from Gütgemann to Taylor and traded, for a while, with partner William Gue, eventually settling on the Goodman name.
1904 Taylor Gue who made frames for Ormonde Motor Co (1900-1904) joins and takes over the business over late in 1904. This enabled them to produce their own machine the following year.
1905 Trading as Taylor Gue, the company produced its first motorcycle. Called the Veloce, it had a 2hp engine and belt drive, but it was not a success and was discontinued.
1910 After a gap of five years, sons Pery and Eugene joined the firm and the next model appeared. It was quite advanced and had a 2.5hp engine with overhead inlet, and side exhaust-valves, mechanical lubrication and a two-speed gearbox. As well as this sophisticated model there was a conventional 3.5hp machine.
1912 A ladies' 2.5hp version, with an open frame, was offered for a couple of years.
1913 A machine with an enlarged engine was entered in the TT in the new "Junior" section, without success: Last of the finishers, Cyril G Pullin Velocette 6.45.42.
This year the company changed tack to produce the first of their very successful two-strokes. As these models were lightweight, the name was change from Veloce to Velocette
1914 More models were produced, including a ladies' version, but the arrival of World War I brought manufacture to a close. Although the I.O.M TT was run in 1914, Velocette did not enter.
1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of motorcycles see the 1917 Red Book
1919 The model reappeared, almost unchanged except for the addition of a drum rear-brake. Other models arrived, with new frames.
1921 The machines now had three speeds, but none had a clutch.
1924 Following on from an advanced but unreliable two-stroke that was originally designed for the TT, the company developed a powerful four-stroke with overhead-cams. This classic design was the model K and would become the blueprint for future models. It had a 348cc engine with the camshaft driven by shaft and bevels, and a narrow crankcase. This arrangement would remain a design feature for the Velocette single. Pilot for Velocette at the I.O.M. TT 1924 was G F Povey in the "Lightweirght" section, although he did not finish.
1925 Having unsuccessfully entered the TT with two riders. The company developed an engine using a stroboscope. This enabled them to study it operating at high speed, but in slow motion. This clever move enabled them to identify the problems and put them right. G F Povey & Gus Kuhn were the pilots for Velocette in the Junior section, records show neither finished the race.
1926 With their engine troubles behind them & Alec Bennett with them as pilot, they entered the TT again
Velocette produced a new Junior contender for Alec Bennett. The 350cc overhead-camshaft machine proved an instant winner, providing the popular Bennett with a record-breaking third TT win and new lap and race records. He won by over ten minutes. Alec Bennett times were recodeed as 188.8.131.52 average speed, 66.704 MPH with Gus Kuhn finishing in fourth with times recorded as: 184.108.40.206 averaging 62.345 MPH
1927 The success at the Junior TT the previous year brought such a demand for Velocette motorcycles that the firm moved to Hall Green, Birmingham, where they had bigger premises. The model U had taken over from all the rest and was the only one in production. Sports and economy versions of this model were also available. The success of the older model K had inspired the arrival of the sports KSS - this had narrow mudgards, a larger fuel tank and a tuned engine. Following on from this came the KS - this combined the KSS style with the cheaper K engine.
In the Junior TT 1927 though, Wal Handley was leading until halfway round the last lap, when his Blackburne-engined Rex-Acme broke down. Freddie Dixon grabbed his chance, winning on an HRD from Harold Willis (Velocette) and the AJS of Jimmy Simpson.
1928 Druid forks had previously been used and these were now replaced by Webb forks. The first machines produced were under the Veloce label, but due to popular demand it quickly changed to Velocette. Alec Bennett won again at the TT. During that year Harold Willis designed a positive-stop, foot-change gear mechanism. This had a big impact in the racing world as it saved time and was also very safe, as the riders' hands remained on the handlebars.
Alec Bennett became the most successful TT rider of the time when he achieved his fifth victory in the 1928 Junior. It was not so much his personal performance that caused a stir as that of his 350cc Velocette, in particular its revolutionary foot gear change.
I.O.M. TT records show D Hall piloted a velocette to 4th place in the Junior section with a time of 3.45.00.0 averaging 70.44MPH, A G Mitchell came 7th & T Oscarsson managed a 13th place, both with Velocettes - O Sebessy, Somerville Sikes, J Hanson, H Mitchell, S M Williams & H J Willis all piloted Velocettes in the Junior section that year,
1931 The I.O.M. TT Junior section, pilots for Velocette this year were A G Mitchell (7th), H J Willis (11th), E R Thomas (12th), Tom Simister (15th), F A Renier (16th), D Brewster (18th), Somerville Sikes (19th), W Harry T Meageen (20th) There were another eight Velocettes entered that did not finish. In the Senior section, J G Lind managed9th and 3 other Velocettes were entered, but did no finish.
1933 A new design was introduced. This was the MOV with ohv and intended as a gap filler between models. This classic design was so successful that the company continued to produce it throughout its existence. Best finish in the Junior I.O.M TT for this year was A G Mitchell in a time 3:28.48. averaging 75.91 MPH, he came fourth behind 3 Nortons, but behind him there were another 6 more Velocettes.
1935 The MSS appeared. This was as a result of boring out the 350cc MAC to 495 engine.
1938 During the previous few years, progressive KTT development had led to the production of Mk numbers.
Junior TT was won by Stanley Woods who had joined Vellocette the year prviously, in a time of 3.08.30.0 averaging 84.08 MPH, 8 minuets later, E A [Ted] Mellors also on a Velocette got second2.4
1939 two new and innovative models appeared. Both were twins (one for road and the other for racing), both had the crankshaft set along the frame and both had a four-speed gearbox. The racing twin was never raced. The road model never progressed beyond prototype but the suspension design was used after the war.
WWII The company made models for the French and for the RAF - less exotic but still different road machines.
1947-1949 The firm returned to making both racing and road models, including the LE. This was most notable as being clean and easy to ride as it was small, smooth and very quiet. It was aimed at the mass market. It didn't quite make the impact intended and proved to be unsuccessful and costly. While advanced, it was sedate and economical - and unpopular, but it was the arrival of the scooterette that did achieve that success. As for the scooter, it was never really able to compete with its neat and nifty Italian counterpart
1949 - 1970 the LE remained in production despite its poor sales
1951-1953 Engine changes were made to the LE and the MSS, MAC and rear suspension was introduced.
For TT Velocette records check the iomtt.com web site.
Feb (March 1954 (from my stash of copies of "the Motor Cycle")
1956 The Endurance was produced for the American market. Velocette also announced the arrival of two sports models the Viper and the Venom - high-performance machines, fast and powerful.
1958 The LE adopted four-speeds, foot change and kick-start. It sold well to many police forces as it was quick and quiet.
1960s The Viper and Venom models were produced in many variations and with many different names.
1961 The last of the true new models was produced. Known as the Viceroy scooter, it was scorned by Velocette enthusiasts and a big mistake. The machine was huge and unwieldy, and as it arrived when the market was dwindling, it was not a success.
1964 The Vogue went into production. It was a great improvement, had a glass-fibre body, twin headlights and many other refinements, but it didn't do well.
1965 Enthusiasts were pleased to see the arrival of the Thruxton - a souped-up Venom, which was their most powerful machine and one of the best contemporary singles. It was a speedy, high performance sports machine with clean lines.
1969 Things picked up a little as Floyd Clymer arranged for the Indian Velocette to be built by Italjet (according to Gracysguide).
Last of the L.E.s built that year
1971 The company went into liquidation, but the Goodman family settled all outstanding debts.
Post 1971 Spares were still available as the rights to the name had passed to Matt Holder and then on to his son David Holder. Permission was eventually given by one of the Goodman relatives for David Holder to use the Velocette name on a complete machine.
1998 A Classic Bike show in Stafford exhibited a road model with a revised Thruxton engine. There were also plans for a street-scrambler, one was built, see link
Info fron: Gracysguide.com, iomtt.com & other sources