A Veloce Motorcycle Co. Timeline1905 John Taylor (who was born Johannes Gütgemann and later formally changed his name to John Goodman), and his partner William Gue, use VELOCE as the name of Taylor, Gue Ltd's first motorcycle. Later the same year, John sets up his own firm of Veloce Limited to produce cycles and related products and services.
1906 A 2 H.P. Veloce is produced
1907 John's sons Percy and Eugene set up New Veloce Motors to make and market a Veloce Motor Car. The car does not go into production, and the company offers general engineering and various non-motorcycle products
1908 John's firm, Veloce Ltd, starts work on a new motorcycle, with engines to be supplied by his sons' company.
1909 The design of a 276 cc, 2 1/2 H.P. four-stroke motorcycle is complete, with many innovative features
1910 Sales of the 276 cc machine are slow, and a less advanced 499 cc side-valve machine is produced
1911 John Taylor takes British citizenship
1912 The 2 1/2 H.P. model begins to achieve some successes and a ladies model is produced
1913 The latest innovation - the "footstarter". And The Velocette 206 cc 2-stroke model is announced. The 1913 Velocette Brochure covers the machines and many of the innovative features developed in the company's brief history
1914 The Velocette is available as belt drive, or two-speed chain drive which was also available as a Ladies Model. Sidecars are added to the range of products produced by Veloce Ltd
1919 Only 2-stroke models are offered - the D1 and DL1, followed by the D2 and DL2
1920 The factory moves to Victoria Road, Aston, Birmingham. Three D2's enter the ACU Six Days' Trial and win three Gold Medals
1921 The D3 appears, with 3-speed gearbox, and chain drive, but still no clutch
1922 The first Velocette Clutch.....inside the final drive sprocket....and not unlike the last Velocette clutch
1923 Engine capacity now 249 cc and electric lighting (Maglita) offered. G model range introduced - including the GC, for "Colonial"
1924 The Model A (two-speed belt drive), and the Model B (three-speed chain drive) are launched as economy models
1925 The G-model range becomes the H model range. The Ladies models are still called E's. The A is replaced by the AC using chain rather than belt drive from the gearbox. A new, OHC, model K is launched. Initially called a Veloce, it was soon rebranded a Velocette to capitalise on the goodwill that the little 2-stroke had earned. A super sports model - the KSS - soon follows
1926 The tradename Velocette is registered. The factory moves to Hall Green, Birmingham. And a Velocette ridden by Alec Bennett wins the Junior TT. By 10 minutes.
1927 A new, updated, 249 cc 2-stroke is launched - the model U. The KS is introduced - a KSS with a standard engine.
1928 A K model takes the world one-hour record at just over 100 mph. The KE, and KES offer E-for-Economy variants
1929 The super sports version of the model U is offered - the USS. And a more basic version - the model 32. For the first time you could have another colour than black....the 32 had a blue petrol tank. And the TT replica of the KSS is sold to the public - the KTT. It includes the first positive-stop foot gearchange on a motorcycle. The KN and KNS models use a new type of big-end.
1930 The GTP - a completely new design of 2-stroke engine, with the innovation (on a motorcycle) of coil ignition. A KTP variant of the K models provides a fashionable twin-port head
1931 The tank badge now reads......."26-28-29 TT Winners". The current versions of the KTT are known as the Mk II and Mk III
1932 The Mk IV KTT is produced. The GTP uses "auto-lube" oil injection where the oil pump adjustment is linked to the throttle opening - another Velocette innovation.
1933 The M series with Overhead Valves - the MOV 248cc high camshaft 4-stroke is announced, followed by the MAC 349 cc
1934 The new works 500cc OHC racer is 3rd in the Senior TT
1935 The 500cc MSS completes the M series. The Mk V KTT is produced
1936 A very few "Mk VI" KTT engines are produced.
1937 Works Velocette 2nd in the Junior TT. Velocette 600 cc OHC Outfit in the ISDT winning team.
1938 Works Velocettes come 1st and 2nd in the Junior TT, and 2nd in the Senior TT. A few Mk VII KTT models are produced.
1939 The Mk VIII KTT model. Velocette win the Junior TT. "Roarer" supercharged 490 cc racer in development. "O" model 580 cc parallel twin prototyped
1940 The MDD and MAF - the forces models of the MAC - are produced.
1946 The GTP is produced again, and the MOV, MAC, MSS and KSS
1947 Velocettes win the first four places in the Junior TT
1948 The Dowty Oleomatic (air-sprung) telescopic front fork is used on the M models. K production ceases. The L.E. Velocette is announced. The KTT Mk VIII is again available as an over-the-counter racer. Velocettes take the first two places in the Junior TT
1949 Only the 350 cc MAC and 150 cc L.E. (and the Mk VIII KTT) are produced. Works DOHC 350 and 500cc machines enter the TT. Velocettes take 1st and 2nd in the Junior TT, 2nd in the Senior
1950 Velocette are the World 350 cc champions
1951 The L.E. Mk II - 200 cc. The MAC uses a Velocette designed telescopic front fork
1952 The top-end of the MAC engine is redesigned
1953 The MAC has swinging arm rear suspension; and a dual seat
1954 The 500 cc MSS reappears, like the MAC but with a new design of engine
1955 Scrambler and US variants of the MSS in production
1956 Sports models introduced - the 500cc Venom and 350 cc Viper.
The 200cc flat-twin sports model Valiant is announced
1957 The Velocette Owners Club is inaugurated
1958 The L.E. Mk III is introduced with four-speed foot change and kickstarter. Glass-fibre engine enclosure fairings for the MSS, Venom and Viper; initially as standard, then as an alternative.
1959 The "Veeline" front fairing is introduced on the Valiant
1960 The Viceroy 250 cc flat-twin 2-stroke scooter is announced. Production of the MAC ceases.
1961 On 18-19 March, a Venom sets the world 24 hour record for a 500 cc motorcycle of 100.05 mph. The record still stands.
1962 "Special" (economy) models of Venom and Viper announced.
1963 The Vogue - an L.E. with a streamlined glass-fibre body
1964 The last year of production of the Valiant and Viceroy
1965 The Thruxton is available
1966 Mk II Venom and Viper Clubman models introduced with many Thruxton features
1967 A Thruxton wins the Production TT
1968 The last year of production of the Viper and Vogue
1969 The last year of production of the "Special", Scrambler and Endurance models
1970 The last year of production of the MSS, Venom and Thruxton.
1971 Veloce Ltd closes in February.
Velocette - A Racing Heritage
VELOCETTE RACING MOTORCYCLES
From the beginning of the 20th Century until the Factory closed in 1971, Velocette remained under the control of one family, the Goodmans. Even more remarkable is that the family responsible for what many would consider to be the most English of motorcycles was of German origin.
In 1876 at the age of 19, Johannes Gutgemann came to England. After marrying Elizabeth Ore they had two sons, Percy and Eugene, and settled in Birmingham. Johannes adopted the English name John Taylor, but when granted British citizenship in 1911 he took the surname Goodman and the rest of the family followed in 1917.
The two sons pursued engineering careers and founded New Veloce Motors, intending to manufacture cars. Although a prototype was made no orders came. Percy then designed a motorcycle of quite advanced design. Again it was not well received and a more basic machine was made which sold well at 40 guineas (£42). This machine was known as the VMC (Veloce Motor Company) and it was the name "Veloce" that the Goodmans gave to their motorcycles until 'Velocette' was adopted for the first lightweight in 1913. For the next few years Veloce concentrated on high quality but rather staid motorcycles which met with considerable success in long distance trials and the like, but road racing results were disappointing.
By 1924 the company had noted the success of rival manufacturers using machines powered by overhead valve engines and Percy Goodman drew up a design for a new overhead camshaft engine. The new engine had to be as narrow as possible to fit into the existing frames, which had two-stroke engines. The result was an extremely narrow and very strong crankshaft capable of high revolutions without flexing. The design also gave all single cylinder Velocettes that unique feature where the clutch is inboard of the final drive sprocket. The bore and stroke of the new engine was 74 x 81 mm which remained the same for all 350cc OHC Velocettes. The new model was first exhibited at the 1924 Olympia Show. Once the usual teething troubles had been addressed, it became apparent that the machine had an outstanding performance. Two machines were entered in the 1925 IOM TT and, though neither finished, the Factory was happy with the overall performance. Shortly afterwards Alec Bennett the outstanding TT rider visited the Factory and it was announced that he would lead a team of three riders in the 1926 Junior, the other two team members being Gus Kuhn and Fred Povey. Bennett won by over 10 minutes and Kuhn and Povey were in the first ten ensuring Veloce also won the manufacturers' team prize. This was a remarkable success for such a tiny firm; at that time Veloce was still at the Six Ways Factory in Aston and had only forty-two employees with no racing department. The TT bikes had been built by Percy and Eugene Goodman after the Factory had closed for the day.
Success in the TT came again in 1928 when Alec Bennett won the Junior and at the Olympia Show the Company was confident enough to offer for sale a batch of racing machines described as 'exact replicas' of Bennett's winning machine. These would have specially tuned engines giving a top speed of 85 mph and are easily identified by the unpolished 'as cast' crankcases with three strengthening ribs. An extra oil pump on the cambox returned oil directly to the tank and internally the engine had steel flywheels, a forged steel con-rod and various pistons giving compression ratios to meet the buyer's needs. Strutted Webb forks were fitted and a 3 speed close ratio gearbox with the Willis designed positive stop foot-change.
Thus began the production of a competitive racing motorcycle offered for sale for 25 years up to 1953. A total of 868 KTTs were built.