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Lot 144: Velocette 349cc KSS 'MkI'

Important Collectors' Motorcars & Motorcycles, Bonhams (16 June 2012)

Continuously developed, the innovative Velocette two-strokes had proved reliable, economical and very popular, but by the early 1920s it had become apparent that a more upmarket model was required. Other manufacturers were fielding new overhead-valve and overhead-camshaft machines, and Veloce Ltd followed suit, the Percy Goodman-designed, overhead-cam Model K first appearing in 1924. Of 348cc, the new engine employed a single overhead camshaft driven by vertical shaft, and was unusual in having a very narrow crankcase, an arrangement determined by the existing transmission and frame design, which made for a stiff crankshaft assembly. Entered in the 1925 Isle of Man TT, the new model K did not fare well, all three entries retiring because of lubrication problems. Its engine redesigned to incorporate dry-sump oiling, the 'cammy' Velo returned the following year to score a memorable victory, Alec Bennett romping home in the Junior race 10 minutes ahead of the second-place rider! Second place in 1927 followed by another win for Bennett in 1928 ensured a healthy demand for Velocette's overhead-cam roadsters and prompted the launch of the KTT, one of the most successful over-the-counter racers of all time. By the end of the 1920s Veloce's range of K-Series roadsters boasted a host of variations on the theme that included Normal, Sports, Super Sports, Touring, Economy and twin-port models. Introduced in 1925, the KSS was the Super Sports version while the KTS tourer employed the same overhead camshaft engine in virtually identical cycle parts, differences being confined mainly to mudguard style and wheel sizes. Introduced for the 1936 season, the MkII version of the KSS/KTS represented a major redesign, featuring many improvements including a new aluminium-alloy cylinder head with enclosed valve-gear, plus the cradle frame and heavyweight Webb forks of the new MSS. In this form the KSS resumed production post-war in November 1946 before being updated, together with the other road models, with (optional) Dowty Oleomatic telescopic front forks in August 1947. Expensive to produce, the KSS was dropped from the range at the year's end. It is not known when its late owner acquired or last used this KSS MkI; accordingly, careful re-commissioning and the usual safety checks are advised before returning it to the road. The machine is offered with SORN receipt and Swansea V5C document.

Lot Details
Auction Important Collectors' Motorcars & Motorcycles
Bonhams, Oxford, UK
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number144
Estimate£6000-£8000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£10000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£11500
Year1934
Condition rating
Registration numberBKL 500
Mileage-
Chassis number5033
Engine number5386
Engine capacity (cc)349
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors