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Nothing Runs like a Velie!


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Filed under: Car Restoration by timsweet — 1 Comment

September 28, 2011

I was reading the other day and I came across a car manufacturer that I hadn’t heard of prior and yes it was an American car maker. The maker was Velie.

1911-sadan.jpg?w=250&h=2021911 Velie passenger car

Like some car manufacturers Velie started out as a carriage maker (as in horse and carriage). The owner was Willard Velie and we received his funding from this mother who was the wife of John Deer. Yes that John Deer. It’s not exactly clear if John Deer was is father, but we’ll assume it was so.

Willard created Velie Motor Vehicles Co. in 1908 and produced their first car in 1909. It was a 4 cylinder and sold 1000 units and were sold though John Deer dealerships. The 1909 and 1910 models primarily used existing engine but in 1911 build their own. In that same year the Velie car participated in the Indianapolis 500 and finished 17th out of 46.

velie-racer.jpg?w=454&h=2961911 Racer

That helped keep car production was at 3,500 vehicles a year. By 1914 Velie added a six-cylinder side-valve Continental engine to the mix of power plants. and by 1918 only offered six cylinders. The car became so popular and reliable that a few folks in Louisiana name a town after the car.

In 1918 Velie won the race at Pikes Peak which helped increase production to 9000 a year cars by 1920.

In 1928 they introduced the an 8 cylinder engine a Continental straight eight and were a roll so to speak. (Not to mention their little side business for producing air planes.) However that was not to be, Willard died in late 1928 and Willard Jr. died a few months in 1929 later. That ended the Velie Motor Vehicle Co.

John Deer company bought the plant and well they sold a few tractors now and then.

Thanks for reading


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The most recent Horseless Carriage Club roster lists 23 pre-1916 Velies. There are no doubt a bunch of later ones. There's an affiliated Velie Register, for which the contact is Chuck Hoaglund, 3641 8th Street Ct, East Moline, IL 61244. (309) 755-4906 A couple of years ago the register had a homecoming for the Velie centenary. John Nikodym of Red Cloud, NE has the first Velie ever built, a running, unrestored original.

Gil Fitzhugh, Morristown, NJ

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