1956 Velocette 350cc Solo Viper Motorcycle
|Engine||350cc single-cylinder OHV|
Velocette motorcycles were made by Veloce Ltd, in Hall Green, Birmingham, England. Velocette was a small, family-owned firm, selling almost as many hand-built motorcycles during its lifetime, as the mass-produced machines of the giant BSA and Norton concerns. Renowned for the quality of its products, the company was "always in the picture" in international motorcycle racing, from the mid-1920s through the 1950s, culminating in two World Championship titles (1949–1950 350 cc) and its legendary and still-unbeaten (for single-cylinder, 500 cc machines) 24 hours at over 100 mph (161 km/h) record. Velocette, while small, 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. The Venom and Viper series Velocettes can be traced back to 1955, the two models being of 500cc and 350cc respectively. The single-cylinder Viper was developed from the 349cc MAC and used a bi-metal cylinder with cast iron liner, high compression piston and a light alloy cylinder head. Using the same bottom end as its sister bike the 500cc Venom, the Viper had a lot of chrome plating and was offered in a choice of either Black or "Willow Green" paintwork.