Motorbikes, Motorcycle Insurance

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An incredibly rare 1937 Velocette Works 500, which was in a garage fire in Australia when it was new 80 years ago, has been totally rebuilt and will be sold next month.

The bike, among the star attractions in the Charterhouse auction of Classic and Vintage Motorcycles on Wednesday, May 10, is expected to sell for around £40,000.

The motorcycle was made by Veloce Ltd of Birmingham, one of several magnificent motorcycle manufacturers established in the second city.

Velocette was a small family-owned firm but it sold almost as many hand-built motorcycles as the mass-producing giants such as BSA and Norton.

The manufacturer was a dominant force in world motorcycle racing from the mid-1920s through the 1950s, culminating in two World Championship titles in 1949 and 1950 in the 350cc class.

It also set a legendary, and still-unbeaten for single-cylinder 500cc machines, 24 hours at more than 100mph (161km/h) record.

Veloce was a great technical innovator and many of its patented designs are commonplace on motorcycles today, including the positive-stop foot shift and swinging arm rear suspension with hydraulic dampers.

1937 Velocette Works 500 racing motorcycle

Charterhouse’s Matthew Whitney is excited about one of these rare classic motorcycles coming up for sale.

He said: “As an ex-Velocette Works motorcycle it was tragically destroyed by a garage fire beyond recognition when in Australia.

“Thankfully it was more recently rebuilt by Bob Jolly from Australia along with Rod Coleman from New Zealand, both well-known and respected Velocette racers and restorers, using a few rescued parts with the rest of the bike being completed with new machined parts.”

The current owner, a retired Rolls-Royce engineer, flew out to Australia to view and buy the Velocette and bring it back to his home in the West Country where he has other models from the same manufacturer.

Road registered with its V5C document, this throaty racing model makes quite a noise when started.

With the original racing sister Velocette Works 500 in The National Motor Museum at Solihull probably worth a six figure sum, this Velocette tool room copy is estimated to sell for £38,000-42,000 plus Buyer’s Premium of 12 per cent incl VAT.

The sale featuring the Velocette will be held at The Long Street Salerooms, Sherborne, in Dorset. For more information about the Velocette contact Matthew on 01935 812277 or email info@charterhouse-auction.com.

Just in case your beloved motorcycle is in danger of coming to grief in a similar way as this wonderful machine, it’s wise to check that it is adequately covered. Bikesure offers bespoke insurance for all classic motorcycles.