2007 Shannons Sydney Winter Classic Auction

1955 Velocette Venom 500cc Solo Motorcycle



Passed In


Engine Single-cylinder, 499cc
Gearbox 4-speed manual
Colour Silver & Black
Trim Black


This lot is no longer available

Velocette, a small manufacturer of motorcycles from Birmingham, established a reputation for building high quality, innovative bikes from its inception in 1908.
The 500cc Venom and 350cc Viper sports models introduced late in 1955 formed the mainstay of Velocette production for a number of years. Utilising the ohv four-stroke from the MSS Springer, with bore and stroke measuring 86mm by 86mm the Venom's single had a capacity of 499cc. With an 8:1 compression ratio (this was raised to 8.75:1 on the Clubmans variant) and Amal Monobloc carburettor, new features included redesigned alloy front and rear brake hubs. The new Velocettes certainly looked the part, with chrome mudguards and fuel tank and a very stylish headlamp nacelle containing the speedo, ammeter and light switch. Velocettes were virtually hand crafted in small numbers to the individual requirements of the customer and factory records indicate no more than 537 were made in 1956, the first full year of production. Famously, the Venom claimed the world record for a 500cc motorcycle at the Montlhery circuit in France in March 1961, averaging 100.05 mph for a 24-hour period. The Venom was equally at home in the production racing class, taking out the 500cc class in the prestigious Thruxton 500-mile race for 1964 - to celebrate the achievement, a specially tuned version of the Venom was named after the circuit. Velocette survived only another decade or so, passing into voluntary liquidation in February 1971 but retains a strong following today, with active clubs and specialists supporting enthusiast owners worldwide.