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Velorex

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Template:List of Velorex ModelsVelorex is a small three wheeled car produced from the 1950s until 1971 in Czechoslovakia.

HistoryEdit

Since 1936 bothers František (1914) and Mojmír (1924) Stránský, owners of a bicycle repair shop in village Parník near Česká Třebová, started with design of a small and cheap three-wheeled car, inspired by three-wheelers from Morgan Motor Company. In 1943 they built the first prototype using steel tubing wrapped by dural sheet metal and employing parts of bicycles (later of motorcycles). They named the vehicle "Oskar" (kára na ose, car on pivot).

In 1945 the brothers built the first batch of cars, using leather cloth instead of sheet metal as the bodywork. Three vehicles were powered by motorcycle engine ČZ 150 cm³, three with engine PAL 300 cm³ (6 HP) and six with engine Jawa 250 cm³. The price was about 1/4 of the cost of a typical motorcycle.

Car industry of post-war Czechoslovakia was not able to provide sufficient number of vehicles for its citizens, resulting in long waiting periods and quotas. Several models of small cars had been built either by amateurs or in small series (e.g. Kreibich, TRIGA Tripolino, JAB).

In 1950 the Stránský's workshop was transferred under Velo, a small manufacturing company in Hradec Králové, later renamed to Velorex. In 1951 the machinery and six workers were moved into a new plant in village Solnice. In 1951 120 vehicles Oskar 54 were produced, year later 180 and in 1954 eighty workers produced 40 vehicles per month. In January 21, 1954 František Stránský died when a tested prototype crashed. His brother Mojmír refused membership in Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and was fired. In 1956 the name was changed to "Velorex - Oskar" and then just to "Velorex". In 1959 the company produced 120 vehicles per month. In 1961 part of the production moved into a new plant in Rychnov nad Kněžnou. Maximal speed of the cars was 30 km/h.

In 1963 production of newly designed "model 16" started (with motors ČZ 175 and Jawa 350 type 572) and the model was modernized again in 1968. In 1971 production of three wheeled cars stopped and the company switched to production of four-wheeler "model 435-0" with motor Jawa 350 type 572 - 04. Problems in design and manufacturing and inability to compete with higher category cars (including the cheap Trabants) turned the four-wheeler into commercial failure and its production was stopped in 1973. Plans to produce a small car similar to Fiat 500 or a riksha like truck [1] didn't materialize.

Spare parts for Velorex vehicles were produced first in Solnice plant, after 1975 in Rychnov nad Kněžnou. In the middle of 1980s India tried to obtain a license to produce the three-wheelers; the deal failed because the original tooling didn't exist anymore.

StatisticsEdit

Production figures
Model Total
Oskar 54 , Velorex Oskar, Velorex 16/250 2,500
Velorex 16/175 800
Velorex 16/350 12,000
four-wheeler 435-0 1,380

About 1/2 of production was exported into countries of Eastern Bloc (Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, East Germany) - 7,540 vehicles in total. In Czechoslovakia the demand exceeded the supply and the new cars were sold only to the crippled after thorough examination by an official commission. Part of the production was allocated to companies and organizations.

As of 1996 62.5% of the three-wheelers sold on area of Czechoslovakia were still registered. [2] As of 2006 the vehicle can be still seen occasionally and it obtained cult-like status among its owners. Several Velorex clubs exist in the Czech Republic. Rallies are regularly organized in Boskovice (last in 2004) and in Lipnice nad Sázavou, inside the Lipnice Castle (next rally in 2007). Until 2000 only the motorcycle driving license (A) was required, afterwards the B1 license (car from age of 17).

Technical parametersEdit

Velorex was built on a frame of welded steel tubing, with bodywork consisting of vinyl (called "Igelit") stretched over the cage and attached by turnbutton fasteners. Unlike most of other three-wheeler types Velorex had two wheels in the front and one wheel at the back.

Oskar 54 Edit

Data from [3]:

  • designed as a special car for the crippled,
  • two seats,
  • motorcycle engine Jawa 250, two-stroked, one cylinder, forced air cooling, 248.5 cm³, 9 HP with 4,250 rpm,
  • fuel consumption: 3.6 l/100 km,
  • weight: 205 kg unloaded, max 395 kg,
  • length 3.1 m, width 1.4 m, height 1.25 m.

Oskar 16/250 Edit

Data from [4]:

  • designed as a special car for the crippled,
  • two seats,
  • motorcycle engine Jawa 250, two-stroked, one cylinder, forced air cooling, 248.5 cm³, 9 HP with 4,250 rpm,
  • fuel consumption: 3.6 l/100 km,
  • weight: 205 kg unloaded, max 395 kg,
  • length 3.25 m, width 1.38 m, height 1.25 m.
  • tyres with larger dimension than Oskar 54

Velorex 16/175 Edit

Data from [5]:

  • designed as a special car for the crippled,
  • two seats,
  • motorcycle engine ČZ 175 - 505, two-stroked, one cylinder, forced air cooling, 171,8 cm³, 8.5 HP with 4,500 rpm,
  • fuel consumption: 5 l/100 km,
  • weight: 290 kg unloaded, max 490 kg,
  • length 3.1 m, width 1.4 m, height 1.24 m.

Velorex 16/350 Edit

Data from [6]:

  • designed as a special car for the crippled,
  • two seats,
  • motorcycle engine Jawa 350 - 572, two-stroked, two cylinders, forced air cooling, 350 cm³,
  • cruising speed 60 km/h (max 85 km/h),
  • weight: 310 kg unloaded, max 500 kg,
  • length 3.1 m, width 1.4 m, height 1.24 m.

Velorex 453-0 Edit

Data from [7]:

  • four wheeler
  • engine Jawa 350/572, forced air cooling, 17 HP with 4,750 rpm,
  • weight: 385 kg unloaded, max 585 kg,
  • fuel consumption: 6.5 l/100 km,
  • max speed 80 km/h,
  • length 2.89 m, width 1.15 m, height 1.365 m.

External linksEdit

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