Reference: Velocette LE: which to choose?


1962 Velocette LE Vogue

Though Velocette’s ‘Little Engine’s shouldn’t really include the Viceroy – it was a completely different unit, after all – as the Owners’ Club makes them welcome, we thought it admissible to include them here.

Originally conceived as that elusive ‘everyman’ machine, Veloce Ltd hoped the new model would lead to a bright and shiny future for the Birmingham-based concern. Though it was a success of sorts (30,000 plus were made), it wasn’t the overwhelming commercial triumph the men behind it surely hoped.

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Model descriptions and production years follow.

1948 Velocette LE Mark 1
Launched in late 1948, the new LE was a revolutionary machine, unlike anything else. Of just 149cc its transverse cylinders were water-cooled, it had rear springing, telescopic forks, unit construction and shaft drive. In a strange move, it was side valve and had a three-speed handchange gearbox, which was somewhat at odds with its advanced features.

1951 Velocette LE Mark II
In response to criticism of its lack of power, in 1951 a Mark II was announced, with a 43cc capacity hike, giving 192cc. Externally it looked similar to its predecessor, but there were internal improvements; a stiffer crankshaft, a new camshaft and uprated transmission.

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1957 Velocette LE Valiant
The ohv version of the ‘Little Engine’ concept reverted to air-cooling, while there was also a stronger crankshaft, to cater for the new engine’s extra power – which was double what the LE produced, boasting 12bhp as opposed to the side valver’s six. Around 1600 were sold.

1958 Velocette LE Mark III
Mark III – Main obvious difference of the Mark III was its four-speed gearbox, which was now footchange. Actually, the engine was more or less a side valve version of the new ohv Valiant, which had a stronger crankshaft. The Mark III became a firm favourite with the police.

1960 Velecotte Viceroy
A completely different engine to the others, being a 248cc two-stroke, though still a horizontally opposed twin, the Viceroy – though not a bad machine – was an expensive failure, a case of the wrong machine, at the wrong time. By the time it was launched in 1960, the intended market had gone.

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1962 Velocette LE Vogue
Launched in late 1962 and made until 1968, only 381 Vogues were ever produced. Basically a Mk III LE with bodywork by the Mitchenall Brothers, it looked the part (of the modern commuter) – but it still had the old side valve engine and was capable of no-more than 55mph.

Visit the Mortons Archive for more information and online search options concerning Velocettes, or speak to our archivist Jane Skayman on 01507 529423 with your requirements. Email [email protected] bike

Other articles in the 'which model' series:
? Ariel Square Fours
? BSAs
? BSA A10s
? Cammy Norton Singles
? Norton Commando
? Norton ES2
? Triumph Thunderbird
? Velocette LE

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