A True “Time Capsule” Motorcycle

May 13, 2015 View Comments by

A True “Time Capsule” MotorcycleA Never-started Velocette

Motorcycles are meant to be ridden. As this adage is most certainly true, finding a classic that is intact and exactly as it left the factory is exceedingly rare and intriguing. The 1967 Velocette competition off-road motorcycle in the pictures is just such an exotic.

When I happened upon the singular example in an automotive museum in Nevada, I could not shake my fascination. Of course the bike’s exterior is pristine—it has been crated since new. What’s even more amazing is the fact that it has never been started. Actually, that is likely not 100-percent accurate, as the vast majority of motorcycle manufacturers (past and present) start an engine after the last stage of assembly. But it is claimed that since the initial purchase, this British classic has not been kicked to life.

It’s hard to imagine who possessed the restraint not to enjoy the legendary character of that Velocette on the road or, more appropriately, on the trail. The small, family-owned marque was known for quality products and success in competition through most of the early to mid-20th Century. Velocettes garnered several world championships and land speed records in the era. This 1967 gem was produced just four years before the Velocette factory in Birmingham, England closed its doors for good.

Painstakingly restored vintage motorcycles are wonderful, and are true labors-of-love. However, an original classic that wears the shine of the showroom, as well as all of its original components is somehow surreal. One can argue that leaving a fine machine like this Velocette dormant for nearly 50 years is almost a crime against the nature of motorcycling, but that dormancy makes for a virginal piece of history that is as rare as anything in motorcycling.

The Velocette can be seen at Don Laughlin’s Riverside Automotive Museum in Laughlin, NV.

by Tim Kessel

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