Velocette 350 Mac

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A Bit of Background

Famous the world over for its half-litre sports bikes, the Velocette marque also catered for more modest pockets with their pretty 350 singles. Surprisingly torquey and lacking in vibration, the Phil Irving-designed frame gives a safe and pleasant ride. The humble touring Velocettes from Hall Green in Birmingham hardly changed their appearance from the early 1930s to their demise in the early 70s.

The firm made its name with its exotic ohc bikes, winning a string of TTs in the 1920s, and first place at the 1930 Manx GP; the racing KTT also being offered in KSS road trim. Later, the quirky LE and rapid Venom Thruxton became famous, but in some ways the competent MAC epitomised everything rank-and-file riders loved about Velocettes.

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The MAC From Start To Finish

1904: Johannes Gutgemann begins making Veloce motorcycles

1913: The 2-stroke ‘Velocette’ is in production and the name catches on

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1933: The MAC is born! The M-series starts with the overhead valve MOV 250. The MAC 350 follows, offering 75mph from its 349cc high-camshaft pushrod engine, which is equipped with short rocker arms and so vibrates less. The MAC weighs 280lb, has a 4-speed gearbox, and starts life with a Webb (girder-style) front fork. Although no one seems able to explain the meaning of the AC designation, it doesn’t matter. The MAC becomes a firm favourite as a smooth, straightforward, slimline, single-cylinder tourer

1938 MAC which claimed to be 100% original and might actually be so.

1940: Military versions of the MAC, the MDD and MAF are made for the war effort. The MDD has a beefed-up clutch while the MAF sports an up-for-down gearchange which is subsequently adopted across the M-range. Similarly, the pressed-steel front brake drum is dumped in favour of a cast-iron version, first on the WD models and then on the civilian MAC

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1948: When Webb stop making their girder forks, the MAC’s front suspension switches to air-sprung Dowty Oleomatic forks, although the back remains rigid. At this point the 14bhp MAC runs on 19-inch wheels, with 7-inch front and 6-inch sls drum brakes, and weight has crept up to 320lb

1951: Front suspension now changes to Veloce’s own tele forks (developed for the LE) with conventional coil springs and oil damping. In June the engine sprouts a new all-alloy barrel and head instead of the old iron items with wider fins, better cooling and so a raised compression ratio (up to 6.75:1)

1953: The MAC gets a general overhaul. Adjustable rear suspension, a swinging arm and a suitably sprung frame, made of Reynolds 531 tubing, arrive to much acclaim, although the rigid version is still produced alongside the new one for much of the year. The wheelbase grows by over an inch to nearly 54-inches. The saddle changes radically to a stepped dual-seat affair, one which display a prominent gap underneath it. Seat height rises to over 30-inches. The clutch, gearbox and gearing are overhauled, the main and prop stands are improved, and the silencer changes (only for a short period) from a traditional fishtail to a tubular slash-cut pipe. Weight is now 355lb

1954 bike. Fully restored but that seat doesn't really suit it

1954: The MAC is now considered beefy enough to tug a sidecar, so the appropriate lugs are added

1960: Production of the MAC ceases when Veloce run short of resources to develop it any further… having spent £50,000 on the development of the Viceroy scooter, of course!

1957 version

MAC Facts

  • The MAC was in production from 1933 to 1960
  • France ordered 1200 military MACS on the outbreak of WW2. The first shipment of 25 were sunk en route. Oh dear
  • The MAC’s wartime counterpart, the MAF, took its name from M-series, Armed Forces
  • Although the MSS, Venom and Viper all suffered the indignity of being panelled in with plastic in 1959, the MAC alone among Velocette’s singles got to stay naked
  • The seals on the Oleomatic air forks could sometimes fail before a MAC had even rolled off the production line
  • A 1950-era MAC will return a cheery 80mpg at an average speed of 30mph
  • More than 25,000 MACs were made during its production run (compared to less than 3700 Vipers)
  • Velocette sold the MAC in an alternative colour scheme to black and gold in 1954; Willow Green with a chrome tank

    Vital Statistics

  • Built From: 1946 to 1959
  • Engine: 4-stroke OHV single cylinder
  • Bore / stroke: 68mm x 96mm
  • Capacity: 349cc
  • Front tyre: 3.25 x 19, WM2 rim
  • Rear tyre: 3.50 x 19, WM2 rim
  • Front brake: 7-inch sls drum
  • Rear brake: 6-inch sls drum
  • Ignition: Lucas K2F magneto
  • Generator: Lucas dynamo
  • Dry weight: 355lb / 161kg
  • Power: 15bhp @ 6300rpm

    Typical Prices Today (as seen in our Classifieds)

  • 1952, rebuilt but scruffy, T&T, £2250
  • 1955, original, easy starter, good runner £2950 (Trade)

    Noted Quote

    ‘No Velo single should be discounted and the MAC was a fine 350 tourer.’

    Steve Wilson, Velocette Since 1950: The Big Singles

    Club Contacts

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  • Velocette stuff on

    1953 version. Where did 20 years of development go?
    Teenage Real Mart thought Velocettes were French

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