London to Brighton eligible 1903 Miniature Velox 3.5hp Two-seater Registration no. BS 8596 Engine no. 1327
Surely amongst the rarest of all veteran cars this Miniature Velox - believed to be the only survivor - was built by the Velox Motor Co. Ltd of Parkside Works in Coventry, Warwickshire. The company had commenced motor car production in 1902, its first production model being a 10hp twin cylinder car with shaft drive. In 1903 they offered a four cylinder 10hp model and the Miniature Velox, a two seater with a single cylinder proprietary engine. The Miniature Velox defied convention with its tubular chassis frame, an inverted suspension system, a transversely mounted front engine with primary chain drive to a gearbox mounted amidships and a secondary central chain to a live rear axle. Production was short-lived. Notes on file suggest that only 21 Velox cars were built in total.
This car was first recorded in Veteran Car Club records in 1956 in the ownership of Frank Davis of Swindon who was seeking the help of VCC historian Denis Field in identifying the car. By 1958 Davis had correctly identified the car as a Miniature Velox, referencing Autocar magazine of 27th June 1903 p 756, further references in Motor magazine and finally Peaches Motor Annual of 1903 p.23, as his sources of information. A contemporary advertisement of 1903 claimed "immunity from mud and dust under all conditions" perhaps wildly ambitious? The Miniature Velox could be ordered with a down payment of £35, the balance of £90 being payable when ready for delivery or alternatively twelve monthly payments of £8.
The Miniature Velox without engine and gearbox passed from Davis into the hands of VCC Past President, the late Thomas Love, from whom the vendor acquired the car in about 1970. Engine and gearbox were missing along with other components but sufficient information was available to enable period compatible components to be identified, located, manufactured and fitted by its able new engineer/owner. The bodywork and wings were carefully recreated using period drawings/pictures. Following completion of the long and painstaking restoration the car was reviewed by the Veteran Car Club Dating Committee and awarded Dating Certificate no. 1347. Apart from a short period the car has remained in the present ownership since 1970 (it was sold briefly the sale was regretted and it was bought back) and it has proved itself a capable London to Brighton runner with two up, first taking part in that event in 1973 and then on about 30 or so subsequent occasions.
The Miniature Velox, now powered by a De Dion type engine with atmospheric inlet valve and fuelled by a later Smiths carburettor, is presented in red livery with black upholstery and equipped with brass Lucas oil lamps and a bulb horn and carries a Veteran Car Club dating plate and early AA and RAC badges. Following a period of inactivity owing to the vendor's ill health this London to Brighton eligible car will require the usual careful recommissioning. It is offered with a Swansea V5C registration document and a copy of the VCC Dating Certificate.