Author Topic: Where can a person see and purchase one of the new velorex cars?  (Read 11975 times)

Jim Janecek

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Re: Where can a person see and purchase one of the new velorex cars?
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2012, 03:11:17 PM »
I've found that describing the concept of "microcars" to people, particularly to Americans, is easier when using the "enclosed scooter" analogy.
Yes, many have motorcycle engines, but when Americans think "motorcycles" they think over 1000cc.

I also get lots of Press Release emails from people trying to make/offer 3-wheeled cars for the US market.
Many think that simply removing a wheel makes it a "microcar".
They are also referred to as "cars" in the Press Releases, but buried in the fine print someplace is a line that says in order to be registered for road use, the vehicle should be registered as a "motorcycle".
They are 3-wheeled so as to bypass the normal crash testing and safety standards test that must be done on 4-wheelers.
Unfortunately, some states have passed laws clarifying the difference between an open and an enclosed 3-wheeled motorcycle.
Open cockpits are considered trikes or 3-wheeled motorcycles, while closed cockpits are considered "automobiles" and thus subject to crash and safety testing.
So even if some of these vehicles were actually built and available, they would not be able to be registered in all 50 states.

There are those that complain about Government interference, but I found that these new regulations were lobbied by motorcycle groups that were worried their insurance rates would increase if these enclosed vehicles were lumped in with the motorcycle "class" and not "automobile".

mharrell

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Re: Where can a person see and purchase one of the new velorex cars?
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2012, 06:21:12 PM »
Unfortunately, some states have passed laws clarifying the difference between an open and an enclosed 3-wheeled motorcycle.

Upon registering my Freeway I was delighted to find that the laws of Washington mostly work in my favor.  It's legally a motorcycle, but as it has three wheels, a fully-enclosed cabin (although the law also recognizes partially-enclosed cabins, whatever that might mean in practice), a seat instead of a saddle, a seat belt, and a steering wheel instead of handlebars, I need neither a helmet nor a motorcycle endorsement on my license in order to operate it.  Fair enough by me.
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marcus

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Re: Where can a person see and purchase one of the new velorex cars?
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2012, 07:01:36 PM »
Hearing about the various legislation and classification over in USA has given me the crazy idea (never likely to be fulfilled) of driving my Drum Car on a trip through every State in USA and see how many laws I break!
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Big Al

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Re: Where can a person see and purchase one of the new velorex cars?
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2012, 07:57:28 AM »
Hearing about the various legislation and classification over in USA has given me the crazy idea (never likely to be fulfilled) of driving my Drum Car on a trip through every State in USA and see how many laws I break!

They will just tell you to 'beat it'.
Messerschmitt set, Goggo Darts, Heinkel 175, Fiat Jolly, Autobianchi, Fairthorpe Electron Minor, Borgward, Isuzu Trooper
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Big Al

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Re: Where can a person see and purchase one of the new velorex cars?
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2012, 08:14:44 AM »
Thanks for posting their website Jim. It says they plan to build 60 of them but as you say these things seldom come to fruition. I was mulling over what you said "microcars are generally enclosed scooters" I dont think thats strictly true unless you mean in the sense that many have engines that have been converted to be fan blown like a scooter. Obviously Hienkels were an extension of the Tourist scooter and the schmitt is called a cabin scooter but most other microcars have adapted engines used in motorcycles, Isetta being the prime example, all the villiers powered British ones, Bonds, scootacar, Frisky, Tourette although to be fair some of these units found there way into unsuccessful scooters as well. Berkeley's also used motorcycle engine, excelsior, anzani and Royal enfield none of which are fan blown, they also have big wheels. Powerdrive, Coronet are car like with bike engines etc. Of course the original Velorex used the Jawa motorbike engine with motorbike wheels.  I'm sure there will be others that were more scooterlike too if I thought about it.   No real point to this post, just an excuse to think about microcars whilst I'm supposed to be working!! I'm sure you will come back with something to prove me totally wrong Jim. :D :D

At the risk of controversy I would observe that the best of the core Microcars are the ones based on the enclosed Scooter approach. Britain was late into Scooters, see Peter Agg and Lambretta success, so it is not surprising that the local engine supply was somewhat limited and some of the offerings, as vehicles, not as good. It is interesting that the Scooter based cars were based on Italian ideas but developed as successful in Germany. No one country can claim the prize and of course despite these successes there is always convergent evolution so other machines appeared elsewhere of merit around the same time.

As if to underline the Scooter link when the engine suppliers Excelsior and Villiers failed their Scooterised bike engines become unavailable and the British Scooter manufacturers mostly failed with that, just as the small car manufacturers did. Now Dave Hambliton has pretty much the entire Trojan Works archive of paperwork it will be established if Peter Agg's claim to be behind this failure, allegedly due to his seeking revenge for being twisted out of the Australian small engine market by Villiers, is true. He certainly stood to gain as he was selling Lambretta and badge engineered Heinkels plus misc other items into this very market and the mass death of the opposition did his business a favour.
Messerschmitt set, Goggo Darts, Heinkel 175, Fiat Jolly, Autobianchi, Fairthorpe Electron Minor, Borgward, Isuzu Trooper
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marcus

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Re: Where can a person see and purchase one of the new velorex cars?
« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2012, 08:26:05 AM »
Hearing about the various legislation and classification over in USA has given me the crazy idea (never likely to be fulfilled) of driving my Drum Car on a trip through every State in USA and see how many laws I break!

They will just tell you to 'beat it'.

As Big Jim Parkinson was told to several times during his Rytecraft Scootercar trip across USA! And that gave me the daft idea of using an even dafter vehicle!
Just remember: as one door closes behind you, another slams in your face

Bob Purton

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Re: Where can a person see and purchase one of the new velorex cars?
« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2012, 08:39:03 AM »
There is no controversy Al, its an interesting topic to discuss and our views will by influenced by the car we personally like. I guess as I'm keen on Isettas at the moment I'm thinking motorbike derived engine, a long four stroke unit far removed from the buzzy two strokes associated with scooters. Surley the one thing the big three have inherited from scooters must is the enclosed chain case forming the rear swing arm.

Big Al

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Re: Where can a person see and purchase one of the new velorex cars?
« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2012, 10:50:39 AM »
While I feel the Isetta behaves more as a small car it most definitely has scooter heritage in it. The original engine has a relationship to a scooter engine. That BMW choose to go for there own unit which was to an extent half a bike engine was because that was what was available in house. Interesting the prototype scooter engine did not figure. The Isetta has the benefit of reasonable torque, which strokers of the time did not provide without revs. Clearly a better answer to the sort of use that was expected. The Messerschmitt always appealed to a different buyer I think. They are not as good in town traffic as the Isetta and Treinkel in my opinion - though get thaty gearchange sorted out! Get on an autobahn/bypass and the Schmitt can use its speed. These cars remain the class acts for me. The Scootacar comes closest of the Brits though the others have niches they excel at. Berkeleys are sporting, when they work. Bonds can carry prodigious loads  but got rather large as they got sophisticated and so on.

An enclosed chain and an efficient cooling system was undoubtedly advantageous and again common to the Scooters. Also the styling and ergonomics favour the big three I feel and has a lot in common with Scooters.
Messerschmitt set, Goggo Darts, Heinkel 175, Fiat Jolly, Autobianchi, Fairthorpe Electron Minor, Borgward, Isuzu Trooper
Citroen BX 17TZD & GTI 16v
Held - MG Magnette ZB & 4/44
For sale - Vellam Isetta, Bamby, AC Type 70, Velorex, Church Pod, Reliant Mk5, KR200,  Saab 96, Bellemy Trials, Citroen BXs

AndrewG

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Re: Where can a person see and purchase one of the new velorex cars?
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2012, 05:09:30 PM »
I particularly like that the Velor-x-trike designer previously made the unforgettably-named Jawa PionĂ½r Black Death 140


richard

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Re: Where can a person see and purchase one of the new velorex cars?
« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2012, 06:25:51 PM »
arent you all forgeting the real postwar start of it all ??

LAWRIE BOND'S MINICAR DESIGNED 1948/9 PRODUCTION STARTED 1949 - USING AN OFF THE SHELF MOTORCYCLE ENGINE OF 122CC WHY DOES THIS NOT GET THE RECOGNITION FROM MODERN MICRO ENTHUSIASTS ?
Didnt realise i was SHOUTING but why not for heavens sake ?
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Bob Purton

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Re: Where can a person see and purchase one of the new velorex cars?
« Reply #25 on: June 01, 2012, 10:13:01 PM »
Sorry, not with you old fruit? Who's arguing about what was the first postwar microcar?

Big Al

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Re: Where can a person see and purchase one of the new velorex cars?
« Reply #26 on: June 02, 2012, 07:14:58 AM »
arent you all forgeting the real postwar start of it all ??

LAWRIE BOND'S MINICAR DESIGNED 1948/9 PRODUCTION STARTED 1949 - USING AN OFF THE SHELF MOTORCYCLE ENGINE OF 122CC WHY DOES THIS NOT GET THE RECOGNITION FROM MODERN MICRO ENTHUSIASTS ?
Didnt realise i was SHOUTING but why not for heavens sake ?

I would suggest that rather proves the point. The Bond pre-dated most of the Scooters and their success from 1950. The prototype Minicar was made out of bits nicked from Blackburn, the aeroplane manufacturing version. It had little to borrow ideas from but earlier cyclecars. Take the concept of a Minicar and use the ideas and styling of the later, proven Scooters and you steal a march on your competition who are developing from nothing. From then on Bond were chasing the game, in a sense. No claims of first, last or purity of thought is being made. As so often the folk who have the ideas do not end up making the cash as having shown the way the generalists backed with investment and know how run with the market. All the big three German marques I suggested had backing from larger organisations in some form before full success was really achieved. Even the in house Heinkel did not spring fully formed into production. It was the Heinkel that ultimately disappointed out of the three as it really wanted another round of development to iron out niggles but for various reasons this never happened and it was franchised off to retain the lucrative engine manufacturer. Pity as the design is the best of the lot in principle for me. Yep better than the Messerschmitt. What would the Heinkel have become if it had been franchised to a dynamic firm rather than an Irish job creation scheme?
Messerschmitt set, Goggo Darts, Heinkel 175, Fiat Jolly, Autobianchi, Fairthorpe Electron Minor, Borgward, Isuzu Trooper
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Held - MG Magnette ZB & 4/44
For sale - Vellam Isetta, Bamby, AC Type 70, Velorex, Church Pod, Reliant Mk5, KR200,  Saab 96, Bellemy Trials, Citroen BXs

marcus

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Re: Where can a person see and purchase one of the new velorex cars?
« Reply #27 on: June 02, 2012, 08:40:39 AM »
I agree that Bond was certainly a pioneer of the post Vera Lynne War micro/bubble/scooter/cycle car boom, but I think it is reasonable to think that it might have been inspired vaguely by the pre-War Raleigh Safety Seven, and even that has a basic form which dates back to the very earliest cars, many of which were small three wheelers, often with a single front wheel. Cars like the 1888 Roger Benz, Mr Knight's petroleum tricycle of 1896, the Beeston of 1898, The American Knox Waterless "Old Porcupine" of 1900, then the 1903 La Nef/Larcroix-de-Laville, 1904 Cyklonette and 1910 Phanomobil. The last two, from Germany, had the engine mounted over the front wheel.
Just remember: as one door closes behind you, another slams in your face