Post-Sale Update: After 46 bids on eBay, this Welbike sold for $11,250.
At the request of the British government, Excelsior developed the Welbike, a tiny single seater that was designed to be dropped into combat situations via parachute-equipped containers, then unpacked and moving on the road within 11 seconds.
Italy, Germany, and America had similar designs – I’ve had the pleasure of featuring the American take on this parachutable-motorcycle before: a Cushman Model 53 that sold for $7,000. In a 2 year period, 3,461 Welbikes were built, though few actually spent time in combat. To fit into the container, the Welbike had no suspension, lights or front brake. Unfortunately, there were flaws in the design that came to light when the bikes were most needed: the weight difference between a soldier and the motorcycle meant they typically did not land near each other, and the bike had tiny tires and barely any power, often making it inadequate for traversing rough terrain. Because of this, many Welbikes were either captured by the enemy before they were even used or abandoned on the battlefield by soldiers who figured they could get to their destination easier on foot.
This example (Frame: 3587, Engine: XXE3852) is complete and running though the seller suggests that the carb and gas tank could be cleaned. It was restored in 1989 and won an award, then spent time in a collection for over 20 years. The seller says that only about 60 of these bikes are known to still exist. The sale include an additional engine and seat plus original literature. Find this Welbike for sale in Dousman, Wisconsin with bidding up to $4,594