ADVANCED INFORMATION BULLETIN No.1. AUGUST 1948 - (LOOKING BACK No.21)

By the Summer of 1948, Veloce's Motorcycle for Everyman was almost ready for production. A single prototype had been under test since early 1944 and the Hall Green, Birmingham, factory had been radically rearranged and re-equipped to produced what Veloce hoped would be their first truly mass production motorcycle.

The sales department under George Denley was keen to stoke up demand for the new lightweight twin and they did this by producing a series of Advance Information leaflets - the first of which is reproduced here. Bulletin No.1. deals with the L E's engine - its 'conceived as a whole' design and its notable features, bearings, oiling system, electrics and the usual hand start mechanism.

Denley wanted to make it clear that the L E wasn't just another Velocette - a well made, quality motorcycle which would appeal to the enthusiast. Thus the first section of the leaflet sets out the factory's intention, to market a motorcycle to the non-motorcyclist market: "to place the motorcycle beyond the sphere of mere pastime or sport." This was a bold decision which prompted some scepticism from other parts of the motorcycle industry, also from some Hall Green insiders.

The leaflet sums up Veloce's mass market aspirations with the pithy statement that the L E was a machine, "which may be treated like a bicycle and used like a car". Potential buyers were being encouraged to see the factory's soon to be produced lightweight twin as embodying the advantages of both these types of transport. A bicycle was utilitarian - to be ridden to work and requiring the minimum of maintenance - it was the only mass personal transport option to the cash strapped post -WW11 public. In 1948 a car was still beyond the means of most people, giving it a sense of status and sophistication with the potential to cover mileage way beyond the ability of an average cyclist.

Many early L E owners were indeed cyclists, who had shunned motorcycles as being noisy and dirty, but saw the water cooled twin as something rather different. It was the acceptable face of motorised transport; that would get them to work, but also allow them to take long trips at the weekend and even summer holidays.

Of course the L E's relatively high price meant that it had no chance of being the truly mass market machine that Veloce had hoped. It is now also well known that the Hall Green factory could not have coped with real mass demand, let alone the 300 a week output that Veloce proclaimed was their early L E production target.

The L E engine shown in the leaflet is based on the works prototype in its mid 1948 form. Some minor differences from production engines are apparent, such as the design of carburettor fuel union and the location of the holes for the HT leads - in the generator's cover.

Dennis Frost

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