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A Special Builder's Notes

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The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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06 July 2024

These Cursed Thoughts....

... that nature gives way to in repose.... as if I didn't have enough on my plate. Inspired by The Great Collector's Raleigh, I spent an idle moment or two on the internet looking at motorcycles. In The Olden Days, in the quiet rural town where I was at school, we thought nothing of a quick trip into town, a whizz around the square and back on a chum's machine, despite being breaking every rule in the book. My first such adventure was on an LE Velocette and I'd always dreamt of revisiting the marque.

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This one was relatively local to me, and according to the owner, just needed some minor attention - a battery, a look at the points and carb - and she would be away.

He wasn't wrong. Not forgetting to put water in the radiator and air in the tyres, Counsel pushed me off up the yard, and away we went.

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Once warmed up, I tried to hand start the engine - it's a MkII with hand change and start levers - but I think the auto advance and retard mechanism might be a bit gummed up - or worn out - as the handle kept kicking back. The throttle stuck halfway open, and the brakes could best be described as 'relaxed', but that was half the fun.

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Tiny 10mm plugs are a novelty.

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The LE is a fascinating piece of machinery, and I knew I had some gen somewhere on the shelves, it was just a case of finding it. I did, and as this article taken from 'Famous British Power Units', produced by 'The Motorcycle' in 1951 attests, there's more to the 'Little Engine' Velocette than meets the eye.

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A shaft drive, water-cooled, horizontally opposed twin was ahead of its time and significantly more expensive than its contemporary competitor, the BSA Bantam, so sales were not in quite the volume Veloce Ltd had hoped for.

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Fortunately, the Met Police came to the rescue after evaluating the bike, and eventually over fifty constabularies across the country adopted the 'Noddy Bike' (as it was unofficially christened) as the vehicle of choice for local bobbies.

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Though the Suffolk skies looked foreboding, a trip to a local vintage rally was a welcome diversion from domestic chores.

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These engines are magnificent.

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Chumley had managed to fit in turning up the new nose cone for the Buick's starter motor.

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I need to dream up a scheme for clamping the flexible joint to its shaft.

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