Bizarre & Fascinating: Velocette LE MkII

This is from the site Bring a Trailer ( ...

This Velocette LE is listed as 1960 MkIII model, though its hand-operated gearshift, leg shield-mounted instruments, interesting pull-start mechanism and 192cc, water-cooled flat twin point to it being a MkII built between 1951 and 1957. The ad is vague on mechanical condition, but the bike does appear to be in good, complete condition. Find it here on Craigslist near Atlanta, Georgia for $12,800. Special thanks to BaT reader Paul C. for this submission.

Velocette 200 LE, 1960

Conceived as reliable, comfortable, easy-to-ride transportation for the masses, the bike was introduced in 1948. Honda would later use a similar marketing strategy with its Cub, albeit with much more success. Advanced engineering meant a relatively high price, and despite becoming the British company’s all-time best-selling product, sales never met production goals and are rumored to have barely covered tooling costs. It’s also  claimed that a large police order accounted for more than half of MkII production, though sales ended with the MkIII in 1970 when the company voluntarily shut its doors.

Velocette 200 LE, 1960

Built around a pressed-steel frame, the LE (for “Little Engine”) utilized rubber motor mounts, felt soundproofing, water-cooling and large capacity silencers, and for the time was considered a very refined, quiet machine to ride. Power came from an L-head, horizontally-opposed twin, initially of 150cc and 6 HP, later upgraded to 192cc and 8 HP for MkII and MkIII models. Interstingly, the engine, 3-speed gearbox, driveshaft, swing-arm and bevel drive box were all built as a single unit. MkIII’s sacrificed much of the earlier bikes’ character for more conventional controls (foot-operated gear change, kick starter), making more powerful but still extraordinarily quirky MkII’s like this bike the pick of the bunch.

Velocette 200 LE, 1960

Good if unconventional looks, interesting engineering and scarcity make for a very compelling bike, though value is difficult to comment on with so few for sale at any given time. Regardless, it looks like a blast to ride–the two wheeled equivalent of a Citroen 2CV.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *