Unless you’re a diehard TT fan, chances are you’ve never heard of the Vindec Special, or the little-known German company that produced it, Köln-Lindenthaler Metallwerke AG — which also reportedly sold products under the “Allright” (or “Allreit”) and “Tiger” monikers.
First introduced at London’s 1903 Stanley Show, the first iterations of the Vindec Special — or “VS” — were powered by 2.75hp Fafnir engines, but within a few years of its introduction the Cologne-based marque opted to switch to a 5hp V-Twin (with atmospheric, overhead, inlet valves) from Peugeot paired with a two-speed hub-gear. Other noteworthy features included the newly developed Bosch high-tension magneto, and a Truffault leading-link front-end.
Existing for only a decade or so after first opening its doors in 1903, information on the VS and its manufacturer are surprisingly hard to come by. This fact is further complicated by the existence of the British manufacturer “Vindec” — supposedly a product of “Brown Bros. London” — which operated from 1902 up to the start of the Great Depression. So despite operating during the same era (under the same name), these are in fact two different outfits.
Though the VS was produced in Germany, the manufacturer had always planned on heavily relying on the UK market for satisfactory sales, styling the model after British-built bikes of the era. In addition to the Brit-inspired aesthetics, the company also called on one William “Billy” Huntington Wells — who went on to have success importing and selling Indian motorcycles in the UK and throughout Europe — to become the UK distributor for the Special.
Even though it debuted in 1903, it wasn’t until 1907 that the Vindec Special really caught the attention of the motorcycling world, when UK distributor Billy Wells brought the two-wheeler to the first ever Isle of Man Tourist Trophy where he finished in second — completing the course in 4 hours 53 minutes — just behind Rem Fowler on his Norton. J.A. Dent also finished 4th at the inaugural TT on a VS.
On a related note; the Graham Brothers of Enfield, Middlesex received a patent in early 1903 for what was called a “wickerwork sidecar”. The Cycle Components Manufacturing Company Limited — the same outfit that produced Ariel bikes — was tasked with making the lightweight sidecars until CMCL acquired the production rights for the sidecar later that same year. These wicker “chair” sidecars became popular additions to the Vindec Special. So, while Vindec specials are very rare finds, examples that do come up for sale are seldom found without the Graham Bro’s designed sidehack.
This particular example is a 1905 model year, and has reportedly traded hands only twice since leaving the factory over a century ago. It was previously paraded and rallied until the turn of the millennium, after which time it’s since resided in storage.
You can find this 1905 Köln-Lindenthaler Metallwerke AG Vindec Special for sale in Canterbury, New Zealand with an unmet opening bid of $10,000