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Lot 149: Velocette 500cc MSS Enduro Scrambler

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

In an initially vigorous post war market  which arguably ran without any significant diminishment until British Motor Corporation's 1959 introduction of the Mini  Velocette's range was seldom without one or more high performance singles, despite that one side of the controlling Goodman family believed their future lay in consumer-friendly, small capacity, horizontally opposed twins, offering a discernible degree of weather protection: i.e. LE, Valiant, Vogue etc. In late 1954 however, and at the other end of the spectrum, the Hall Green factory announced the 500cc MSS series Scrambler, followed in 1956 by a 350cc sibling. Acknowledged as possessing a fully competitive motor, if lacking in outright handling ability, the Scrambler acquitted itself very successfully in many different types of USA competition events. The Scrambler's handling was noticeably improved in 1959 with the substitution of a triangulated rear frame section. In a historical aside it is worth recalling that Eric Cheney raced most effectively during the 1954/55 moto cross seasons on a 500cc Velocette. He was sponsored by Archers of Aldershot, who were of course long-established agents for Velocette. Eric enjoyed innumerable successes on this featherbed-framed machine, a close copy of the ohv Norton scrambler upon which his co-rider, Les Archer, won the 1956 European MX Championship! It is regrettably not recorded if any of Cheney's technical experience was ever incorporated into the Scrambler's specification. It is generally believed that less than 1000 off-road Velocettes, in either capacity, were manufactured between 1955 and the mid 1960s. This is the actual Enduro model Velocette pictured on pages 147/148 in Rod Burris's Velocette Motorcycles  MSS to Thruxton (published by Veloce), wherein the captions allude to the Enduro model's rarity, though it should be noted that in Dave Masters' Velocette  An Illustrated Profile of Models (published by Jenners), the off-road model's combination of Scrambler and Venom components is described as an "Endurance" model. (The "enduro" term was not then widely used within the m/c community). The vendor purchased the ultra rare Velo at the Autokraft Collection Sale, hosted by Brooks at Hendon in 1999, where it machine featured as lot 14. Since then the machine has had very little use, but it is nevertheless taxed and MOT'd until March 2013. Supplied with a VMCC Dating Certificate, plus V948 and V5C.

Lot Details
Auction Important Collectors' Motorcars & Motorcycles
Bonhams, Oxford, UK
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number149
Estimate£7000-£9000
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1960
Condition rating
Registration number511 YUF
Mileage-
Chassis number1982/35
Engine numberMSS 12835 S
Engine capacity (cc)500
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors