The 1913 VELOCE – Engine number 189
The Story so far
Frank Panes worked for the Velocette factory and in 1950 decided to emigrated to NZ. He worked at Whites in Auckland alongside Johnny Jones.
On a trip to the South Island Frank visited Bayshore Park Museum in Blenheim, where he recognised an engine which was powering a rotary hoe. He enquired as to how he could purchase the hoe and the owner advised that if he had a Velocette Cutaway Cammy engine then they could strike a deal.
On returning to the North Island Frank contacted Pete Butterworth who had enough parts to build a cammy engine, and so Frank set about building the cutaway engine.
Frank did the deal and it sat in his workshop for some years before he decided to house the engine in a Humber rolling chassis he already had. The engine is a rare IoE(Inlet over Exhaust) 293cc engine of which there are only 4 known examples. Dave Masters(UK) has a completely original bike, registered in April 1913 as M5054, engine No. 154 and also some dilapidated parts of an engine, Ivan Rhodes(UK) apparently has an engine, and No. 189 is in NZ. Dave Masters dated my engine as probably late 1913.
Frank took the Veloce to a Velocette Rally in 1993 where it was fired up, but it stopped, with an apparent piston seize. It languished in Franks workshop until he died in 2000.
In his Will, he had bequeathed the bike to Pete Butterworth, who stripped the engine, found why it had stopped and did the small repair in the gearbox, where a left hand threaded nut had come undone. Not a piston seize at all!
Pete took the bike to a Velocette Rally in 2014 and because there was so much interest decided to refurbish it. Frame, wheels, handlebars were painted and new tyres found.
In 2015 he took it to the Auckland Motorcycle Show,where again there was a lot of interest, but in November 2015, Pete decided it was time for another Velo enthusiast to take it over. This is when I purchased it, together with a 1920 Velocette Model D2.
I wasn’t really sure where to start so I decided on a few things to do, these being:
1. Get some mudguards made
2. Paint the tank as per Dave Masters original IoE
3. Find some handlebar grips
4. Find some handlebar levers
5. Get the engine going as it hadn’t run since 1983
6. Fabricate a stirrup front brake
Well that was where the fun began.
Point 1.This was solved by contacting Steve Roberts in Wanganui who was delighted to help, and pleased to create the guards from a few photos of Dave Masters bike. Guards were then sent to the painters and the stays went to Tauranga Electroplaters to be zinced.
Point 2.This was not an easy task, as when tested it was leaking from a swaged joint. A new top was made and welded on, the inside and outside sandblasted, and the inside had a tank sealer put in. Oil indicator lugs made/fitted, new petrol tap adaptor made for the primer tap, and moved the filler cap to a position as per Dave Masters original bike. Then off to the painters, who organised the correct lettering with the signwriters. Great job.
Point 3.Got onto Ebay.co.uk and finished up choosing some John Bull grips. These were purchased from Austria.
Point 4.Again onto Ebay.co.uk and decided to purchase a pair of brass levers from Royal Enfield spares in India. For an extra GBP5.00 they nickel plated them for me.
Point 5.March 2016. Pull the carb off and clean it. Fill the crankcases up with oil, put some petrol in the tank , then push it down the drive, drop the valve lifter and bang, bang, bang. Damn it’s been timed on the exhaust stroke. Retime it and try again. Success, it runs and the oil indicator bobs up and down just as it should, proving that the pump was working.
Point 6. Still in the pipeline, and will hopefully be done in the next couple of months.
Barry Styles, one of the organisers phoned me as Pete had told him that I was the new owner of the Veloce and he requested that I took it to the New Plymouth Classic Motorcycle Show. Again there was huge interest in the bike and when it won, Best Vintage and Best in Show, my wife and I were elated.
Thank you Pete for trusting us to be the new custodians of The Veloce No.189.
And now for The 1920 VELOCETTE Model D2
Pete and Marion Butterworth were visiting Ivan Rhodes at his home in the UK in the mid-90’s, when Pete spotted a pile of bits that took his interest. Ivan was keen to sell and gave Pete the chance to sort through the parts and purchase them.
This was done and the parts sent to NZ.
Frame No. 396 (dated as 1920), Engine No. 1660 (which is a Model E3 dated as 1922) only difference is the barrel and inlet manifold, 220cc desaxe cylinder with one piece crank and mechanical geared oil pump (Velocette patent). The gearbox is 2-speed which denotes it as a D2 Model. Bore and stroke 62mm x 73mm) Price in UK 1920 – 70 guineas.
It’s original Registration Number in the UK was EU1100.
Around 2008 Pete decided it was time to start assembling the parts .He stripped the motor and found nothing wrong, so re-assembled it. As it had no rims, Pete got hold of some BSA Bantam rims and tyres and these were built and painted. He purchased replica running boards and handlebars from the Velocette Owners Club in the UK. So, by later that year the little bike was on it’s wheels and sat there for some years.
Pete and I keep in contact every few weeks and on one of the telephone conversations I said that I would be interested in a vintage/veteran Velo.
Fast forward to October 2015 and Pete said he was selling the Veloce and the D2 and was I interested in one of them, which I replied I definitely was. So a couple of weeks later I took the trailer up to Pete’s place for a viewing, in anticipation of a purchase.
My father had left me an inheritance. He was always keen on bikes and used a BSA Bantam to get to and from work for many years in the 1950/60’s. This was typical for most working class families in the UK. So I felt that he would be pleased to know that I used it to purchase a bike.
Anyhow at Pete’s I made the decision to purchase both Velo’s(the 1913 Veloce and the 1920 D2) and these were put on the trailer and taken home to Tauranga. Also at this time a brass acetylene headlight, owned by Roy White was purchased.
As the D2 was pretty much complete I tried to start it as Pete never had. The CAV magneto put out such weak spark, that I decided to get it rebuilt so off it went to the Maddocks.
An email was sent to Dave Masters in the UK, who is the guru on Velocette Models and has written a few books on the subject. He sent me several photos and information about my bike.
The front mudguard was modified to accommodate the stirrup brake, and a flame trap was made for the carburettor. Ian Martin, a close friend undertook this work for me.
The reverse levers that came with the bike, were fitted and new cables made. The front stirrup brake was a bit of a head scratcher for me as it wasn’t all there and I wasn’t sure how I was going to get it to return on its own, but the end I sussed it out and maybe I should patent it :-0
A visit was organised to see David Robertson’s D2 in Palmerston North. He has a very original D2 dating from 1921. He is the second owner of the bike and has all of the original documentation from when it was imported. The major difference between the bikes is the front brake. Dave’s had a drum brake and mine has a stirrup brake.
I took several photo’s of his bike in order to make mine more original.
As the armature was a bit different from the ‘norm’, that get rewound. It took a few weeks before I got it back, during which time I decided to completely strip, sandblast and paint tank, frame, mudguards, handlebars. Zinc plated a few parts, and made up the covers for the fork oil points. Also a brass ‘oil‘ dipstick was made for the fork headstock. All this was done and as soon as the magneto was back it was all reassembled.
Handlebars rubbers were purchased from ‘British Only’ in Austria. Brake blocks for the stirrup brake bought off Trademe and a new plug from the UK.
It fired up in March 2016.
A 2-person picnic wicker basket was purchased off Trademe and has now been fitted to the bike.
An acetylene generator was also found on Trademe and purchased. Many hours of panel beating pursued until it was in an acceptable state. The brass headlight was also panel beaten, and will be fitted once I have made the headlight brackets. I will leave them as brass, rather than have them nickled-plated, as they fit in with the brass hooter I purchased from Oz.
The major part still to be sourced is a leather toolbag which sits behind the rear downtube. I expect I will have to get this made.
Thank you Pete for trusting us to be the new custodians of The Velocette Model D2.