Bought on Bike-urious – Never Started – 1970 Indian Velo 500

In Bought on Bike-urious by AbhiLeave a Comment

Two years ago, I featured a very rare Indian Velo that had the distinction of never having been started. The sole photo that the seller supplied suggested that the bodywork had not been well preserved, but thanks to Bike-urious reader Tom W. it’s now a runner!

The one photo in the for sale listing…

Tom left a comment on the original post with some photos of his Velo and I asked if he’d share his experience for my favorite category of post: Bought on Bike-urious!

How it looks now!

From Tom:

“It is hard to know where to start, motorcycles have always been in our family my dad had a BSA with a sidecar fitted when I was younger, so guess motorcycling is in my blood. I have had lots of motorcycles (mostly British) but I can remember at 17 years of age I saw my first Indian. The ‘Chief’ head mounted on a front mudguard had me mesmerized and it’s an image that has stayed with me. I have also always love the look of Velocette motorcycles with their ‘fishtail’ exhausts, I guess I like the unusual!

I have had loads of bikes, but approximately 5 years ago I got my first Velocette…a Thruxton. It was a ‘mare’ to start, I could not get on with it so I sold it. A few years later another came up for sale so silly me went and purchased it…wow, it was some bike. For some reason we ‘clicked’ this time. As my interest in Velocette deepened I saw my first picture of an Indian Velo 500 and thought, “what could be better than a combination of my 2 boyhood bikes?” so for the next months and months I trawled through the web, magazines etc, looking for one for sale whilst picking up a bit of their history.

Finally, I saw one for sale. It had never been started or used, just stored badly in a leaky building for years with several owners who never did anything with it. It needed to be restored (and to be truthful I did not want to restore another bike I would have preferred a ‘ready done one’) but not many are available. It was advertised on Bike-urious and was located in the USA (which is easy-ish as I had imported a few Triumphs from there a couple of years ago). I contacted the seller (Dotler MC Touring USA), and the owner, Peter Hougaard, was so helpful in crating it and sorting out shipping.

When the bike landed at my home…as always it looked worse than in the photos. I took a few camera shots and set about stripping parts for refurbishing. I decided not to make it concourse and to keep it as standard, because I knew if I did concourse I would not ride it and after all…that is what they were made for!

The tank and panels were taken to a painter who said, “I am so busy it will take me 4 months to do.” I left them with him reluctantly.

The chrome work was sent for re-plating – this took 10 weeks due to COVID, but thought my self lucky to get it done at all the way things were.

I took the wheels to have stainless spokes fitted only to receive a phone call a few days later saying the alloy rims had started to crack at the nipple indents and would be unsafe so new rims were fitted.

The hardest part of the restoration was finding someone to restore the rusted rear shock absorbers. I had almost exhausted every contact on the internet but a company in Italy came to my rescue so the shocks were dispatched. When they came back, they were as good as new, a first class job.

The seat base was powder coated and sent for a new cover etc. The engine had never ever been started but the push rod tunnels were rusted, I had to remove the cylinder head to have the push rod tunnels re-chromed, that was all it required (so lucky).

Once I had completed the reassembly I was then ready to get it registered with our Department of Transport, this used to take a week or so but due to this damn COVID they were short staffed so it took nine times as long…so frustrating.

My first road test: the bike took 6-7 kicks to start, it must be the quietest Velocette engine ever built, but that exhaust is so noisy! The bike is smooth, light, and very flexible. The exhaust is quite loud but it’s great when you get used to it…my mate says it sounds so good when he follows behind me.

It’s not quite the perfect bike little, with niggles like the seat is a bit too high, front brake too good (locks the wheel too easy), and the front suspension a bit too soft, but it is a FAB bike to own and ride and of course it looks stunning!

During the course of the restoration I have made lots of friends, some in far flung places who have kindly passed on their knowledge and advice. I have also been in contact with a few previous owners who furnished me with a bit of the bikes’ history.

To date the bike has now covered some 1,100 trouble free miles, it brings a smile to my ‘mush’ every time I take it for a spin, it is also a crowd puller as not many over here have seen or heard of an Indian Velo 500. It is now my ‘Go To’ bike it is so much fun to ride…I just wish it was a VMT (Thruxton engine) as it would have even more…go!”

Tom also owns a Velocette Thruxton and a Egli Vincent – here he is on the latter:

Congrats to Tom on his cool, rare motorcycle, and thanks for sharing!

Have you bought something on Bike-urious! Drop me a line ( and let me know!