1949 Victoria Gents Bicycle with Nordap (Velmo) front-wheel engine

1949 Victoria Gents Bicycle fitted with Nordap Hilfsmotor Front Wheel engine


I took the above picture during a recent photoshoot by a London magazine of six of my obscure vehicles. Below you can see the Victoria bicycle and Nordap engine before they got married.

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This Victoria started out as just a normal herrenrad (gent’s bicycle). I asked Patrick in Paris to look out for an interesting bicycle for me to mount the Nordap engine. He found this Victoria and restored it for me (above).

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He then adapted a petrol tank, as my Nordap didn’t have one, and fitted it to the handlebars.

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I suppose this is typical of the silly stuff my friends and I get up to 🙂




The company started, like most motorcycle manufacturers, with bicycles. Founders Max Frankenstein Burger and Max Ottenstein started their company ‘Frankenstein Burger and Ottenstein Nuremberg’ in Nuremberg, in 1886. By 1888 they had manufactured 1000 Victoria bicycles. In 1895 ‘ the name became Victoria Fahrradwerke AG,’ abbreviated to ‘Victoria Werke AG’ in 1899 and they made their first motorcycles in 1901, using Cudel and Fafnir engines. With the company’s success, the original founders, being Jewish, were forced out and replaced with Government-approved directors.

With the need, after WW2, for auxiliary engines (a limit was fixed on Germany by the Allies on how many larger-engines vehicles could be made), a 38cc Victoria FM 38 cycle-attachment engine was sold, between 1946 and 1954.



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Velmo-Nordap Front-wheel Auxiliary Engines

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This unusual auxiliary engine unit, made by the Velmo-Motoren GMbH of Hamburg, made its debut at the German IFMA show of 1951. It was shown as an engine mounted in the front wheel hub, with fuel tank over the mudguard.

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However, when it came onto the market a year later, as the ‘Nordap,’ the first model had a separate fuel tank, being a cylindrical tank fitted to the steering head. The ‘saddle’ style petrol tank came later.

The only difference between a Velmo and a Nordap is the name, the Velmo being the name used for export, while the Nordap badge was fitted to those sold in Germany.

The original idea was to provide a German-made unit to compete with the Cyclemaster, which was sold under license in Germany and fitted to German Rabeneick bicycles.

Here’s the Nordap as it was when I first found it…

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You can read more about the German Victoria company, and their motorcycles, mopeds, scooters and cars at

the Online Cyclemaster Museum – PLEASE CLICK HERE


Victoria Motor & Cycle Co


Just for the record, there was also a British company called Victoria Motor & Cycle Co, who had premises at Victoria Works, Dennistoun, Glasgow.

Various addresses are given for the company: 163 West George Street, Craigpark St, 367 Alexandra Parade, 71 Cathedral Street and 78-82 Hanover Street.


The company was registered on 26 April 1899 as Victoria Cycle Co, with name changes recorded: firstly to Victoria Manufacturing Co and again, in 1906, to New Victoria Cycle Manufacturing Co.

Confusingly, the 1897 advert below shows the name as ‘New Victoria Cycle Manufacturing Co,’ so presumably this company name was registered earlier, and both were used by Victoria, with the two names merging later.


[Information with thanks to http://www.bawdeswell.net/victoria/index.html%5D



Well, here it is, after a lot of hassle, the engine has finally been fitted into the wheel correctly. It’s also nearly ready to run, once a few final (very rare!) parts have ben located.






Published on August 30, 2008 at 10:11 am  Leave a Comment  

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