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Lot 326: 1948 Velocette 348cc KTT MkVIII Racing Motorcycle

Sale of Collectors' Motorcycles, Bonhams & Butterfields (12 November 2005)

With its deep petrol tank, massively finned overhead-cam engine and purposeful appearance, the MkVIII KTT is unquestionably one of the most beautiful racing motorcycles ever made. The talking point of Velocette’s new racer on its introduction in 1939 was swinging-arm rear suspension, an innovation first seen on the works bikes in 1936. By now tried and tested, the Velocette rear suspension comprised a pivoting fork made from tapered tubing and complemented by a pair of Dowty Oleomatic air-sprung struts. The rest of the cycle parts remained much as those of the rigid-framed MkVII. The engine, while basically the same as its predecessor’s, incorporated a number of improvements intended to enhance power and reliability, and despite the springer’s increase in weight over the rigid model, its superior performance and excellent handling made the MkVIII KTT a formidable competitor. Despite its pre-war origins, the MkVIII KTT proved good enough to provide Freddie Frith and Velocette with the 350cc World Championship in 1949, a year in which he won every Championship round, though in most cases courtesy of a special works twin-cam engine. Just 49 MkVIIIs were constructed prior to WW2 and a further 189 up to the end of production in 1950. Today the MkVIII KTT is one of the most sought after of all British racing motorcycles.

This example consists of an engine complete with carburetor, magneto and exhaust pipe, and re-sprayed fuel tank. A number of other components are included with this lot that will be available for viewing during the preview period prior to the sale.

Lot Details
Auction Sale of Collectors' Motorcycles
Bonhams & Butterfields, Petersen Museum, Los Angeles, CA
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number326
Estimate$10000-$15000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$5250
Hammer Price (inc premium)$6038
Year1948
Condition rating
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number
Engine number917
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors