Unrestored Velocette Thruxton Sets World Record At Auction

An unrestored classic motorcycle recently sold beyond all expert expectations when a 1966 Velocette Thruxton set a new world record in England.

Sold by the auction house H&H Classics at their Donington Park Auction a 1966 Velocette Thruxton sold for £20,000, or $37,000, twice the pre-sale estimate, and good enough to set a new world record for an unrestored bike of this type.

The Velocette was the last great British single, outlasting other British marques by almost a decade. The Velocette Thruxton lived long enough to race against the first of the modern Japanese superbikes. But in 1971 Velocette shut down its Hall Green, Birmingham factory and quietly went out of business.

The classic motorcycle was in original condition boasting only two owners from new and has been in storage since the 1970's.

“We are delighted with this result and this new record, Mark Bryan, Head of Motorcycle Department at H&H said, “There were no Brexit nerves evident and 85 per cent of the motorcycles sold.”

Estimated at between £10,000-£12,000, this great survivor of a time when British motorcycles raced successfully, was put to auction with “no reserve”.

According to historians, the Thruxton was a true factory-built cafe racer. Its immediate predecessor, the Venom, had already made a good name for itself in performance circles despite running an antiquated 500cc pushrod motor. In 1961 a works-supported team of riders set the world 24-hour speed record, and in '64 another Venom took a class win at the Thruxton 500-mile endurance race, crown jewel of England's popular and hotly contested Production roadracing series.

That victory gave Velocette a great excuse to hot-rod the Venom and make the resulting 1965 Thruxton an even better race bike.

The engine was upgraded with a flowed cylinder head, bigger valves and a downdraft intake tract. Working through a close-ratio gearbox, the Thruxton put out 40-41 horsepower.

It did not take long for success to find the Thruxton. Another class win in the 1965 500-miler made for a great debut, and in '67 a pair of Thruxtons finished 1-2 in the inaugural running of the Production TT at the Isle of Man. Before production ceased, Velocette made approximately 1100 Thruxtons.

“It is super rare to find a bike in this condition, which is not even on the Velocette Owners Club register!” Mark Bryan noted, “This motorcycle is a very real and rare discovery.”

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