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1913 Veloce project

November 17, 2010
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scan0003 Veloce Ltd was the name of the company that made, sold and raced the famous Velocette motorcycles.  There is a bit of a story in the name discrepancy.  They made their first bikes with the Veloce badge, then introduced a small 2 stroke bike in 1913 with the diminutive ‘ette suffix.  The 2 strokes sold well just after WWI and when the company introduce a new 4 stroke model in the mid 1920’s with Veloce on the tank, the buying public was accustomed to seeing Velocette.  So that new K series bike (the OHC 350; precursor to the KSS and KTT) was re-badged a Velocette and the name was kept for all subsequent bikes, 2 strokes and 4 strokes.


Maybe that bit of trivia will win you a beer in your local pub trivia night.  But for our purposes it is a place to start the story of the project bike shown in the photos below.  This bike is a circa 1913 four stroke, and therefore was called a Veloce.  Future articles will describe the story of the Veloce company and the models of bikes that they offered during the Veteran (pre WWI) years.  And there will some of the details of the restoration project.

So, how to restore a 97 year old motorbike?  Simple!

Step 1:  open the crate

Step 2:  assemble the bits

Step 3:  enjoy.  (or fix the broken bits, then enjoy.)








20 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2010 12:10 am

    Great stuff!
    Good luck with the restoration I’m going to enjoy following this.

  2. Paul Venne permalink
    November 18, 2010 1:03 am

    Pete, Thanks for the neat pics. Any history on the bike? Where these bikes hand painted? I think the same year Excelsiors were with stencils and pinstriping. Clip ons? HEhehehe. Thanks again, Paul Venne

    • November 18, 2010 9:59 am

      Hi Paul. Brit bikes of the era were hand painted with horsehair brushes and coach enamel. I’m going to attempt it myself. fingers crossed!

  3. Kevin K. Grubb permalink
    November 18, 2010 6:19 am

    I believe the inspiration is: ‘Every journey has a good beginning’ (Jede reise hat eine gute anfang!!) So the parts seem to fit, now for the finishing…and will the Premier be on public offer, or private negotiated transfer only?

    • November 18, 2010 9:30 am

      Hi Kevin. A friend from the Cannonball asked to buy the Premier, so they get the first shot at it. I want to keep it for a little while to measure a few things (footpegs, etc were common to most bikes of the era). If my friend chooses not to buy it in two or three months, I’ll probably put it on eBay or maybe the VMCC classified adverts.

      • Kevin K. Grubb permalink
        November 22, 2010 5:40 am


        It would be most appropriate to see the bike in the possession of one of your fellow cannonballers. If, however, your choose to post it on EBAY please send me a note if possible. I shall keep a keen eye on the VMCC adverts on my end.

        By the by, you may not recall but we had a bit of a discussion regarding things vintage motorcycle, particularily Rudge Multis, as you sat in the shade fettling the Premier prior to your departure on the cannonball run.

      • November 22, 2010 9:27 am

        Hi Kevin. I do recall meeting you in Kitty Hawk, it was nice to talk with you. Keep Rudging!

  4. Jim Abbott permalink
    November 18, 2010 7:11 am

    Pete! That’s fantastic! That’s just how it was with my Velo (except no box). A bunch of loose parts, some vaguely connected together, and my grand memory from my 50 years ago prior machine. What a great looker! And thanks for the blog, I really look forward to your progress reports.

    Jim A. Tucson, AZ Low 40° high 70° sunny.

  5. brian b permalink
    November 18, 2010 7:50 am

    “How to” make a flat tank, or is there one waiting on the bench?

    • November 18, 2010 9:27 am

      A talented tinsmith is almost done making the tank. He had the frame for a while, to build the tank to fit. The old tank was too rusted to be repaired, but was good for a pattern.

  6. athar permalink
    November 24, 2010 2:08 am

    just found your blog few days ago… its’ very nice blog.
    like the spirit, “just ride them as the maker intended” same as paul D’orleans’. now I don’t have any classic european/american bike yet, since it’s very expensive for me to afford it, someday I’ll have, now im riding a small not so old bike, a 1980 kawasaki KZ200 and a litle honda S90 1969.
    from indonesia. sorry if my english is bad.

    • November 24, 2010 8:52 am

      hello Anthar. Yes, Paul and I both have been long term members of the Velocette Club whose motto is ‘ride them as the maker intended’. I’m glad you enjoy the site, and wish you the best of luck with your projects.

  7. Mark Gibson permalink
    March 1, 2011 11:44 am

    Was the Veloce in a crate from the late Keith Hamilton down under?

    • March 1, 2011 11:52 am

      Hi Mark. It is a long and somewhat complicated story. A short version: I was in touch with Keith Hamilton for years while I was tracking down the Harrison Veloce. (it had disappeared after Frank Harrison died and it passed through several owners). I eventually found it, but then a subsequent owner sold via an eBay auction. Keith knew of another Veloce, and after he died a few years ago, I eventually located and purchased the other Veloce.

  8. Anonymous permalink
    August 30, 2012 8:09 pm

    How its going bro good I hope any new updates story n pics on the veloce? Have you got to the neck n bottom bracket bearings yet?

    • August 31, 2012 8:28 am

      Hi Lou. Yep, the steering bearings are sealed units from a modern mountain bike, and the bottom bracket bearings are just the old eccentric casting. That one was about the only bearing in the whole bike that I didn’t replace, as it is only used to pedal the motor to life and it wasn’t too worn.

  9. Lou poleete permalink
    August 30, 2012 8:41 pm

    P.s bro what you got for spare parts that your willing to let go ? I need some more parts to fin my bike

    • August 31, 2012 8:30 am

      1913 parts or model K parts? Not many spares right now. I’ll probably have a few 1913 things left over when I’m done; bits of a saddle, oil pump plunger, and some bits that were too rusty to restore. I’ll have to pile them up when I’m done and get a better look. The model K spares are pretty thin, we have a few things just in case our machine breaks.

  10. Lou poleete permalink
    November 21, 2012 9:34 pm

    Hi bro just wishing you n fam a great thankgiving ty for all your help . Take care n gb pce ttyl


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