Velorex was a manufacturing cooperative in Solnice
Solnice is a town in the Hradec Králové Region of the Czech Republic....

, Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

. Notable products included a small three wheeled car first named Oskar, later Velorex (produced from the 1950s until 1971), and the Type 562 sidecar
A sidecar is a one-wheeled device attached to the side of a motorcycle, scooter, or bicycle, producing a three-wheeled vehicle.-History:A sidecar appeared in a cartoon by George Moore in the January 7, 1903, issue of the British newspaper Motor Cycling. Three weeks later, a provisional patent was...

. The sidecar is still manufactured in the Czech Republic by Velorexport, the successor to Velorex.


Beginning in 1936, brothers František (1914 - 1954) and Mojmír (1924-2011) Stránský, owners of a bicycle repair shop in village Parník near Česká Třebová
Ceská Trebová
Česká Třebová is city in the Pardubice Region of the Czech Republic.-External links:* *...

, started with the design of a small, cheap three-wheeled car, inspired by three-wheelers from Morgan Motor Company
Morgan Motor Company
The Morgan Motor Company is a British motor car manufacturer. The company was founded in 1910 by Harry Frederick Stanley Morgan, generally known as "HFS" and was run by him until he died, aged 77, in 1959. Peter Morgan, son of H.F.S., ran the company until a few years before his death in 2003...

. In 1943, they built their first prototype using steel tubing wrapped by dural sheet metal and employing parts of bicycles (later, of 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 motorcycle engines ČZ
Ceská Zbrojovka Strakonice
Česká zbrojovka is a Czech firearms manufacturer also known for making ČZ motorcycles. ČZ was established as a branch of the Škoda Works Armament in Strakonice, Czechoslovakia in September 1919.-History:...

 150 cm³, three with PAL 300 cm³ (6 HP) and six with Jawa
Jawa Motors
Jawa is a motorcycle manufacturer in the Czech republic, formerly Czechoslovakia. The name was created after its founder, Frantisek Janecek, bought the motorcycle division of Wanderer in 1929 , by concatenating the first letters of Janeček and Wanderer...

 250 cm³. The price was about 1/4 of the cost of a typical car
Čar is a village in the municipality of Bujanovac, Serbia. According to the 2002 census, the town has a population of 296 people.-References:...


The post-war
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 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
Hradec Králové
Hradec Králové is a city of the Czech Republic, in the Hradec Králové Region of Bohemia. The city's economy is based on food-processing technology, photochemical, and electronics manufacture. Traditional industries include musical instrument manufacturing – the best known being PETROF pianos...

, later renamed to Velorex. In 1951, the machinery and six workers were moved into a new plant in Solnice
Solnice is a town in the Hradec Králové Region of the Czech Republic....

. 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 Czechoslovakia
Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, in Czech and in Slovak: Komunistická strana Československa was a Communist and Marxist-Leninist political party in Czechoslovakia that existed between 1921 and 1992....

 and 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
Rychnov nad Knežnou
Rychnov nad Kněžnou is a town in the Hradec Králové Region of the Czech Republic. It has around 12,000 inhabitants.This is a small town, with a sprinkling of other small towns in the vicinity. The nearest big city is Hradec Králové which is about 32 km to the west...

. The maximum speed of the car was 30 km/h.

In 1963, production of the newly-designed "Model 16" started (with motors ČZ 175 and Jawa 350
Jawa 350
The Jawa 350 is a classic motorcycle, formerly produced by Jawa Motors in Czechoslovakia until 1992 and in the Czech Republic from 1993 until the end of production...

 type 572); and the model was modernized again in 1968. In 1971, production of three-wheeled cars stopped, and the company switched to production of a four-wheeler, the "Model 435-0", which featured the Jawa 350 type 572 - 04 engine. Problems in design and manufacturing, as well as the inability to compete with higher-category cars (including the cheap Trabant
The Trabant is a car that was produced by former East German auto maker VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau in Zwickau, Sachsen. It was the most common vehicle in East Germany, and was also exported to countries both inside and outside the communist bloc...

s), made the four-wheeler a commercial failure, and its production was stopped in 1973. Plans to produce a small car similar to Fiat 500
Fiat 500
The Fiat 500 is a car produced by the Fiat company of Italy between 1957 and 1975, with limited production of the Fiat 500 K estate continuing until 1977. The car was designed by Dante Giacosa....

 or a rickshaw
Auto rickshaw
An auto rickshaw or three-wheeler is a usually three-wheeled cabin cycle for private use and as a vehicle for hire. It is a motorized version of the traditional pulled rickshaw or cycle rickshaw...

-like truck did not materialize.

Spare parts for Velorex vehicles were first produced in the Solnice plant, and then in Rychnov nad Kněžnou after 1975. In the mid-1980's, India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 tried to obtain a license to produce the three-wheelers; the deal failed because the original tooling no longer existed.


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
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 countries (Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

, 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. As of 2006 the vehicle can be still seen occasionally and it has obtained cult-like status among its owners. Several Velorex clubs exist in the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

. Rallies are regularly organized in Boskovice
Boskovice is a town in the Czech Republic.-Location:The town is situated in the Drahanská Highlands, about 30–40 km to the north of Brno, the most important city of Moravia.-History:...

 (last in 2007) and in Lipnice nad Sázavou
Lipnice nad Sázavou
Lipnice nad Sázavou is a village in the Vysočina Region of the Czech Republic. It has about 700 inhabitants.It is where, at the Czech Crown Inn, Czech author Jaroslav Hašek wrote a substantial part of The Good Soldier Švejk before he died in 1923...

, inside the Lipnice Castle. Until 2000 only the motorcycle driving license (A) was required, afterwards the B1 license (car from age of 17).

Technical parameters

Velorex was built on a frame of welded steel tubing, with bodywork consisting of vinyl
A vinyl compound is any organic compound that contains a vinyl group ,which are derivatives of ethene, CH2=CH2, with one hydrogen atom replaced with some other group...

 (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
    Jawa 350
    The Jawa 350 is a classic motorcycle, formerly produced by Jawa Motors in Czechoslovakia until 1992 and in the Czech Republic from 1993 until the end of production...

     - 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
    Jawa 350
    The Jawa 350 is a classic motorcycle, formerly produced by Jawa Motors in Czechoslovakia until 1992 and in the Czech Republic from 1993 until the end of production...

    /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.

Velorex sidecars

Demand for motorcycle and sidecar combinations in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 brought a requirement for Jawa to build a motorcycle capable of pulling a sidecar and Velorex to build a sidecar for it. In response, Jawa built their 354 motorcycle with enough strength and power for sidecar use, and Velorex built the Type 560 sidecar.

In 1974, Jawa built the 350cc Type 634 motorcycle, which was designed even more specifically for use in a sidecar combination in the Soviet Union. The Jawa Type 634 produced 28 BHP @ 5,252 RPM and an impressive 38 Foot / Pounds of Torque @ 3,800 RPM, equal to the original 750cc Triumph Boneville. The electrics were powered by a 6 Volt 75 Watt dynamo as opposed to the Jawa Type 354's 6 Volt 45 Watt dynamo system. In response, Velorex created the Type 562 sidecar, which was stronger than the Type 560, but was also simpler to assemble, thereby improving the production rate which had been a problem in manufacturing the Type 560. Velorex manufactured approximately 290,000 Type 562 sidecars from 1974 to the late 1990s.

In 1986 Jawa replaced the Type 634 motorcycle with the more powerful 350cc Type 638 motorcycle, which originally produced 34 BHP @ 6,500 RPM and 30 Foot / Pounds of torque @ 3,800 RPM, which was also available with the Velorex 562 sidecar attached.

The Type 638 was detuned, from 1988 onwards, to 25 BHP @ 5,252 RPM for European Union emissions considerations. For the Dutch market it was detuned further to 23 BHP @ 5,252 RPM to cater for Holland's unique emissions requirements at that time.

In 1990 Jawa reintroduced the Type 634 engine, now featuring a 12 Volt 228 Watt Magneton alternator, in the Type 638 motorcycle chassis as the Type 632. This proved to be a better sidecar machine than the now detuned Type 638 motorcycle.

In 1990 Velorex produced the Type 710 sidecar and this was marketed with the Type 632 motorcycle attached.

The Type 638 with a disc front brake and Velorex Type 710 sidecar attached was also marketed alongside the Type 632 combination as the Type 639 from 1990.

Jawa motorcycles orientated for sidecar use, as opposed to solo motorcycle use, feature smaller 15 or 16 tooth gearbox sprockets (18 teeth on solo bikes), an attachment on the rear brake cable pivot arm for the sidecar's own brake cable to attach, a left footrest with an attachment for the sidecar brake cable to fit into and modified wiring loom at the rear of the bike with electrical power coupling for the sidecar's lighting and accesories.

An adjustable friction type steering damper was fitted under the headstock on some machines, though this later proved to be unnecessary due to the good handling characteristics of the unit as a whole. This feature was occasionally fitted to the Type 634, Type 638, Type 632, Type 639 and Type 640 machines from 1974 to date.

The Velorex Type 710 featured a more streamlined shape, resembling a jet fighter cockpit with a large forward opening perspex windshield, plus an interior space with plenty of leg room. Stowage behind the now full height backrested seat was 3 times the capacity of the Type 562 sidecar. Because of this the Type 710 was and still is regarded as the best sidecar Velorex ever produced.

Both the Type 562 and Type 710 sidecars share the same chassis, with only the bodywork being different. Both feature either a 16 Inch or 18 Inch wheel with a 160mm. diameter single leading shoe drum brake, which is linked, when fitted to a Jawa motorcycle, to the rear brake mechanism to provide balanced braking.

Both the Velorex Type 562 and Type 710 sidecars were marketed separately worldwide with fitting kits for various foreign motorcycle types including Harley Davidson, Honda, Triumph, etc.

Currently Jawa still sells the 350cc Type 640 combination with the Velorex Type 562 sidecar in Europe and the United Kingdom, this currently being the only large 2 stroke motorcycle to meet current European Union emission regulations.

The cooperative collapsed shortly after the Velvet Revolution
Velvet Revolution
The Velvet Revolution or Gentle Revolution was a non-violent revolution in Czechoslovakia that took place from November 17 – December 29, 1989...

, but the sidecar production facilities have since been privatized and sidecar production has re-started under the Velorexport name.

"New Velorex"

Motoscoot, a motorcycle reseller from the Czech Republic, plans to produce modern three wheeled sport car named "Velor-X-Trike" (initially "New Velorex"). The design was made public in March 2010 and the company expects to assemble about 5 - 10 vehicles per year.

The Velor-X-Trike model has nothing to do with the recent designs by Mojmír Stránský, author of the original Velorex.


  • Ivo Fajman: Velorex: historie, vývoj, technika, současnost (Velorex: history, design, technology, present time), Grada, 2010, ISBN 978-80-247-3274-9. The book was prepared, since 2006, by a group of Velorex entusiasts. Among others it contains catalog of preserved cars.

External links

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