Monday, June 23, 2008


Waaay back in November I wrote about a photo shoot with photographer Nick Cedar for Motorcycle Classics magazine... and the July/August issue is finally on the stands, with an article entitled 1933 Velocette: 'The Little Mule'. It's a nice article, written by Margie Segal (who rides her Norton Commando on all our Vintage events), and the photographs of the bike came out beautifully - you hardly mind that the bike is slathered in oil. The story makes me out to be a bit of a nutcase, which of course must be true! A nice touch: they posited a photo of The Mule belting around a corner, above a shot of Noel Pope on a MkIV KTT at Brooklands in 1934 (see last pic)- had I known there would be a comparison, I would have crouched down!

The article is four and a half pages long, and includes a bit of Velocette history, plus a some technical info on the 1933 KTT mkIV Velo, which is a 400cc (cheater) ohc single-cylinder former racer, now roadster (although there hasn't been much of a transition, barring the new numberplate and a mirror).

This bike was one of 4 KTTs imported to the USA from 1929-49, the others included:
KTT102 (a Mk1) imported by 'Oglasud' of New York in Nov. '29,
KTT454 (another MkIV) at Otto Ling &Sons of New York on Dec. 4, '33,
KTT929 (a MkVIII) was sold to Western Motorcycles of Oregon on Apr.4 '48.

KTT 470 was imported to 'Macks' Motorcycles, in Everett, Massachusets, on May 19, 1933. It was sold as an 'engine only', presumably to hot-up someone's dirt racer or even KSS. The chassis in which it is currently installed has no numbers...our local Department of Motor Vehicles had a difficult time wrapping their minds around that, but I explained that racers often used their engine number as the ID for the bike. Which they accepted. And now it's street-legal, using the original factory equipment, plus a dummy taillight and the mirror.

The Mule has become like a second skin to me (albeit a very oily one!), and can be 'thought' in any direction you might need to go, changing lines as necessary to avoid potholes and rough surfaces. Former owner Eddie Arnold built it for Vintage racing in the late 1970's; it's been modified in the engine department with lighter flywheels (7lbs taken off), a home-made cam, 79mm Norton piston (74mm is standard - hence the 400cc), honking great 1 5/16" TT carburetor. Plus, the entire front end is from a MkVIII - with a magnesium front brake and forks with rubber stops and a 'guided' fork spring (which keeps the spring from oscillating/breaking under heavy use, making for more controlled action over bumps).
If you ask nicely, I might let you ride it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read with interest about KTT 470, sold by Macks Motorcycles of Everett MA in 1933...
My dad Erwin (Pop to his friends)Haner,rode for Mack in the 30's and I am fairly sure rode this very bike as it was assembled at the time...Before my fire,I believe I had a picture of him on this very machine as it would have been then...
I grew up in that shop as a boy in the 60's,and 2 of my friends bought Mack out in the early 70's and still operate this shop under the name GP motorcycles in Chelsea MA to this day...
Mack was member #1 of the AMA in the New England area,and sponsored many races and field events over the years...He passed away just shy of his 100th birthday about 7yrs ago...He was one of the best tuners there ever was in that area, and was dealer for many brands over they years through his small shop.
Regards...Rick Haner