“TWO IS COMPANY” L.E. AND PILLION – NOVEMBER 1951(LOOKING BACK No. 32)

Once the L.E.’s cylinder capacity had been increased from 149 to 192cc, Veloce felt able to proclaim their ‘everyman’ model’s ability to climb hills and carry a pillion passenger. Those of us who have ridden a L.E. Mk.I some distance will know that it does not excel at either of these functions. By the end of its first season in production, Hall Green decided to publicise their now proven ‘LE 200’. This full page advertisement comes from 15 November 1951 edition of The Motor Cycle magazine – and was also designed to publicise Veloce’s stand at that year’s Earls Court Show.

The main photograph from this advertisement was taken by Eric Griffiths, who was latterly a partner in a West Midlands press and publicity firm called John Adams Publicity Ltd. This was Veloce’s post-WWII period of prolific publicity, led by their sales manager, George Denley, when the firm made a real effort to market their lightweight twin to a wider public. In Looking Back No 28 I explained how Denley had placed advertisements for the L.E. in a range of non-motorcycling publications including Country Life.

Thanks to John Adams’ son Richard, we have the original print from The Motor Cycle advertisement in the Club’s archive. It was taken at the factory and shows the tricks used to produce the required publicity effect.

The L.E. is perched on blocks and boxes, giving the required angle to simulate hill climbing. Behind the riders, the works doors are covered with just enough sheets of white paper to provide a clean background. This allowed the resulting print to be easily cut out. The photograph was probably taken not long before the November 1951 London show. The L.E. shown is to 1952 specification – with the front fork sliders now painted LE grey. Previously these components were plated, as Veloce was concerned that the stove enamelling’s curing process for painted parts would risk melting the soft holder used in the sliders’ assembly. The front of the engine displays the distinctive black cover of the BTH generator, although some machines were fitted with the Miller AC type from the middle of 1951.

Dennis Frost

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