Friday, January 01, 2010


Unless you're in Australia, New Zealand, South America, or South Africa, in which case, enjoy your riding season! Those of us north of the equator are struggling with very thick oil...

This Velocette Venom Clubman was photographed in the winter of 1963 by Gerald Grimes, whose father Leslie Grimes was a noted cartoonist, typically depicting motoring or motorcycling vignettes (for the Motor Cycle), and had a regular gig penning political comics for the Star.

Leslie Grimes' illustrations are the visual backbone of the delightful 'The Motor Cycle Book for Boys', published by Illife in 1928. His color paintings in goache and line ink drawings are distinctive and capture the romance of an era. Motor Cycle magazine intended to publish its 'boy's book' annually (it even says so on the cover!), but sadly, there was only one, and now it's difficult to track down.

While intended as a primer and enticement for 'boys', the content makes for good reading, and the illustrations are excellent. The center spread of motorcycle petrol tanks in full color is worth the price of admission, and this image was used as the endpages of some editions of Erwin Tragatsch's book, 'The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Motorcycle', which is available in several editions nowadays.


John Nienhuis said...

nice pic of the Venom, but it's a mirror image...?!
Best wishes for the New Year,
John Nienhuis from Holland

Jorge Pullin said...

What if you are in Färila?

Happy new year!

Anonymous said...

That Velo must be unique, having
pushrods on the nearside!

Happy New Year

and thank you for excellent reading
(and pics!) on Vintage Essentials!

Mats Munklinde

vintagent said...

Hi John and Mats,
technical problems, the bane of a website host! I've addressed the issue - curiously the photo is reversed on Grimes' site, and he was the owner of the Velo in the photo!
Happy New Year!

Alessandro said...

Hi, I also wanted to thank you for the excellent reading and photos and stories and insights.
A very beautiful blog indeed.
Best wishes!
Alessandro Martin

geraldgee said...

My Velo Clubman (neg upside down in scanner)was a Stevens prototype and had been raced by them at Thruxton,When I bought it,it was full speck and running on castor but I later used for newsreel dispatching and had to detune it as in photo complete with winter screen.The best bike for winter dipatching was my mark five Douglas that could loop the loop and still stay upright.PS nice blog!