Recommended reads

Although some of us may be able to start getting out and about for a few rides, there’s no likelihood of big congregations or events anytime soon. To keep you entertained, here’s a bit more suggested reading.

Velocette: Passion of a lifetime

This beautifully put together and presented hardback book came to my notice via a review in, I believe, the journal of the VMCC.


The price inclusive of postage of £40 from the Velocette Owners’ Club seemed a bit pricey for a book on a make much admired, but with the subject matter outwith any special interest to this reviewer. Well, that’s if one disregards a well-used 1952 LE as a 16-year-old!

Any hesitancy has been comprehensively swept away by the excellence of this weighty publication. Ivan Rhodes will be already known as ‘Mr Velocette’ to many readers of The Classic MotorCycle, fewer may realise not only the extent of his engineering skills and those of his sons, but particularly the family’s immense practical contributions to the Velocette legacy.

The book addresses its subject at many levels. Firstly it incorporates a detailed history of the company itself and its models, including the ones which were less than successful.


It could, however, be said to major on the truly iconic models like the KSS, KTT, MOV, MAC, MSS, Viper and Venom. Also covered comprehensively are the supercharged ‘Roarer’ and the sole example made of its roadster derivative, the Model O.

Rhodes’s copiously illustrated and detailed chapter on the former could be extracted to constitute a book in its own right. Only one example was ever made and this lost its engine internals over decades of storage.

The monumental restoration by Ivan and his various backers of this complex bike to full working order must rank among the most amazing such feats ever performed.


Perhaps the book’s outstanding merit derives from its being written by someone who can include writing and expression in their skills, but particularly can and has done the actual engineering of which he writes. I recommend this book to any committed enthusiast. It’s produced by Osprey Publishing, 01865 727022 or

Dr Nigel Stennett-Cox.

Read more Reviews, Letters, Opinion, News and Features at and in the September 2020 issue of The Classic Motorcycle – on sale now!


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