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Velie 1912-0101 logo.jpg
ManufacturerVelie Motors Corporation
Body and chassis
Body styleroadster
Enginefour-cylinder four-cycle gasoline
Wheelbase115 in (2921 mm)

Velie was a brass era American automobile brand produced by the Velie Motors Corporation in Moline, Illinois from 1908 to 1928. The company was founded by and named for Willard Velie, a maternal grandson of John Deere.

Velie founded Velie Carriage Company in 1902, which was successful, then Velie Motor Vehicle Company in 1908.[1]


1920 Model 34 Touring

Velie ads bragged they "produce every important part"[2] and were not simply assemblers, a lesson Ford had taught. However, Velie's first car was assembled with many components purchased from outside suppliers.[3] By 1910, Velie had sold more than 1000 cars.[3]

Beginning in 1911, Velie introduced a truck line, and began making a proprietary four-cylinder engine, though some parts continued to come from suppliers.[3]

The 1911 Velie 40 had a 334 cu in (5.47 L) 4.5 in × 5.25 in (114 mm × 133 mm) four-cylinder L-head four-cycle gasoline engine, fired by Splitdorf magneto, producing 40 hp (30 kW), mated to a Brown-Lipe sliding-gear transmission with three forward gears, and one reverse gear).[4] It was a four-seater with a 115 in (2,900 mm) wheelbase and 34 in × 4 in (860 mm × 100 mm) hickory artillery wheels, shod in the customer's choice of Hartford or Firestone tires.[4] It was priced at US$1800,[4] which compared against US$1500[5] for the Colt Runabout and US$1600 for the Oakland 40,[6] but well below even American's lowest-price model, at US$4250 (its highest was US$5250).[7]

1917 Velie Light Six ad

In 1914, a six-cylinder Continental joined electric start and Bosch dual ignition.[3] Velie production averaged about 5,000 cars a year, peaking at 9,000 in 1920.[3] Beginning in 1916, all Velies were powered by six-cylinder engines;[3] in 1926 a straight eight Lycoming engine was also offered. Velie chose to focus production solely on its six-cylinder OHV Model 58 in 1922.[3] In 1924, Velie began installing Westinghouse electric ignitions in their cars. Added to this in 1925 were four-wheel hydraulic brakes and balloon tires,[3] both still novel.[3]

Velie's Royal Sedan body was designed with a raked "A" pillar, which gave its windshield a significant angle from the top to the base.

According to the Official Velie Register, worldwide 230 Velies are known to exist as of 2010. A 1924 Model 58 is running in New Zealand.

Aircraft and aircraft engines[edit]

Velie Monocoupe monoplane

In 1927, the company bought out a general aviation company, moving it to Iowa as Mono Aircraft Inc. and began producing aircraft,[3] Under this banner, the company produced the Monocoupe 70, which proved "an instant success".[3]

In addition, they provided engines for aircraft. Velie's M-5 aircraft engine, produced in 1928, produced 65 hp (48 kW) at 1900 rpm on a displacement of 250 cu in (4.1 l) and a 4.125 in × 3.75 in (104.8 mm × 95.3 mm) bore and stroke.

Production, and development of the aircraft line survived the demise of Velie by a number of years.

Deaths of Willard and Willard Jr.[edit]

Willard Velie died in October 1928, and his son, Willard, Jr. was unable to keep both the Velie automobile and airplane companies afloat,[3] so he dropped the car line in January 1929. In March 1929, Willard, Jr., also died,[3] and Mono was sold to Phil Ball, a St. Louis businessman and one of the backers of Charles Lindbergh. Monocoupes were then produced for several years in St. Louis. The car plant was purchased by Deere.



  1. ^ Vance, Bill. "Velie was quality over quantity", in Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, 18 July 2008, p.E10.
  2. ^ Clymer, Floyd. Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877–1925 (New York: Bonanza Books, 1950), p.92.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Vance, p.E10.
  4. ^ a b c Clymer, p.92.
  5. ^ Clymer, p.63.
  6. ^ Clymer, p.84.
  7. ^ Clymer, p.91.


  • Kimes, Beverly R., Editor. Clark, Henry A. (1996). The Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805–1945. Kraus Publications. ISBN 0-87341-428-4. {{cite book}}: |author= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  • Clymer, Floyd. Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877–1925 (New York: Bonanza Books, 1950).
  • Randy Robertson Velie Webmaster / Director

External links[edit]