History Velorex

Velorex was a manufacturing cooperative in Solnice, Czechoslovakia. Notable products included a small three wheeled car first named Oskar, later Velorex (produced from the 1950s until 1971), and the Type 562 sidecar. The sidecar is still manufactured in the Czech Republic by Velorexport, the successor to Velorex.

Beginning in 1936, two brothers František (1914 – 1954) and Mojmír (1924-2011) Stránský, the owners of a bicycle repair shop in the village of Parník near Česká Třebová, began the design of a small, cheap three-wheeled car, inspired by three-wheelers fromMorgan Motor Company. In 1943, they built their first prototype using steel tubing wrapped by dural sheet metal and some bicycle parts (later these would be replaced by parts from motorcycles). They named the vehicle Oskar (“kára na ose,” or “car on axle”).

In 1945, the brothers built their first batch of cars, using leather cloth instead of sheet metal as the bodywork. Three vehicles were powered by 150 cc (9 cu in) ČZ motorcycle engines, three with 6 bhp (4 kW; 6 PS), 300 cc (18 cu in) PAL engines and six with 250 cc (15 cu in) Jawa units. The price was about a quarter of the cost of a typical car.

The post-war Czechoslovakian auto industry was unable to meet popular demand for vehicles, resulting in long waiting periods and quotas. Several models of small cars had been built either by amateurs or in small runs (e.g., Kreibich, TRIGA Tripolino, JAB).

In 1950, the Stránský’s workshop was transferred to Velo, a small manufacturing company in Hradec Králové, later renamed to Velorex. In 1951, the machinery and six workers were moved into a new plant in Solnice. During that year, 120 Oskar 54 vehicles were produced; a year later, 180; and in 1954, eighty workers produced 40 vehicles per month. On January 21, 1954, František Stránský died when a test prototype crashed. His brother, Mojmír, refused membership in the Communist Party of Czechoslovakiaand was fired. In 1956, the vehicle’s name was changed to Velorex – Oskar and then just to Velorex. In 1959 the company produced 120 vehicles per month. In 1961 part of the production moved into a new plant in Rychnov nad Kněžnou. .

In 1963, production of the newly-designed “Model 16” started (fitted with either ČZ 175 or Jawa 350 type 572 engines); and the model was modernized again in 1968. In 1971, production of three-wheeled cars stopped



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Statistics

Production figures
Model Total
Oskar 54, Velorex Oskar, Velorex 16/250 2,500
Velorex 16/175 800
Velorex 16/350 12,000
four-wheeler 435-0 1,380

About half of the production was exported to Eastern Bloc countries (Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, East Germany) – 7,540 vehicles in total. In Czechoslovakia, the demand exceeded the supply and the new cars were sold only to the crippled after thorough examination by an official commission. Part of the production was allocated to companies and organizations.

As of 1996, 62.5% of the three-wheelers sold in Czechoslovakia were still registered.

Until 2000 only the motorcycle driving license (A) was required, afterwards the B1 license

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Velorex was built on a frame of welded steel tubing, with bodywork consisting of vinyl (called “Igelit”) stretched over the cage and attached by turnbutton fasteners. Like most of other three-wheeler types Velorex had two wheels in the front and one wheel at the back.

Oskar 54
designed as a special car for the crippled,
two seats,
motorcycle engine Jawa 250, two-stroked, one cylinder, forced air cooling, 248.5 cm³, 9 HP with 4,250 rpm,
fuel consumption: 3.6 l/100 km,
weight: 205 kg unloaded, max 395 kg,
length 3.1 m, width 1.4 m, height 1.25 m.

Oskar 16/250
designed as a special car for the crippled,
two seats,
motorcycle engine Jawa 250, two-stroked, one cylinder, forced air cooling, 248.5 cm³, 9 HP with 4,250 rpm,
fuel consumption: 3.6 l/100 km,
weight: 205 kg unloaded, max 395 kg,
length 3.25 m, width 1.38 m, height 1.25 m.
tyres with larger dimension than Oskar 54

Velorex 16/175
designed as a special car for the crippled,
two seats,
motorcycle engine ČZ 175 – 505, two-stroked, one cylinder, forced air cooling, 171,8 cm³, 8.5 HP with 4,500 rpm,
fuel consumption: 5 l/100 km,
weight: 290 kg unloaded, max 490 kg,
length 3.1 m, width 1.4 m, height 1.24 m.

Velorex 16/350
designed as a special car for the crippled,
two seats,
motorcycle engine Jawa 350 – 572, two-stroked, two cylinders, forced air cooling, 344 cm³, 11.8 kW (16 HP) with 4750 rpm.
cruising speed 60 km/h (max 85 km/h),
weight: 310 kg unloaded, max 500 kg,
length 3.1 m, width 1.4 m, height 1.24 m.

Velorex 453-0
four wheeler
engine Jawa 350/572, forced air cooling, 17 HP with 4,750 rpm,
weight: 385 kg unloaded, max 585 kg,
fuel consumption: 6.5 l/100 km,
max speed 80 km/h,
length 2.89 m, width 1.15 m, height 1.365 m.