Les Diener racing the Eldee Special in the 50s.

The Eldee Special—Les Diener’s home-brewed 50s legacy lives on

The Eldee Velocette or Eldee Special ‘Eldee 2’ 250cc DOHC is one of only two hand built racers made by Australian Les Diener that earned an outstanding place in Australia’s racing history in the 50s and is rapidly earning singular status in New Zealand Classic bike racing in the 21st century ridden by Chris Swallow.

Using the pushrod MOV engine as the basis for the special, Diener designed a double overhead camshaft top end, then made the patterns for the cylinder head and rocker box himself, retaining the original 68mm x 68mm bore and stroke. To drive the camshafts on his home-brewed 250 Diener chose a train of nine spur gears housed in another special casting. The engine and close-ratio Velo’ gearbox were fitted into a duplex cradle frame based on the Manx Norton but much smaller and lighter. Modified BSA forks and wheels were used with a streamlined seat and tail fairing.

The Eldee Velocette quickly became invincible. At the ultra-fast 6.5km Mildura road circuit December 1954, Diener blew away the opposition to win the 250cc race.

The 1956 Australian TT—the official national title – was held at Mildura, on a sweltering hot day with ferocious mid-summer winds. Diener expected tough opposition from the pair of ex-works NSUs to be ridden by the Hinton brothers, Eric and Harry, but the German machines failed to arrive, leaving Les with little opposition. Despite the conditions, he cruised home to win his first national title, recording 186 km/h through the electronic speed trap, the amazing top speed due to the full streamlining he had fitted. The victory was a triumph for his engineering brilliance as much as his skill as a rider.

Les Diener, Velocette, 250 MOV

Portrait of Les Diener racing in South Australia, probably in the late 1940s.

Isle of Man Classic T.T. Junior Race. Bill Swallow aboard Eldee 2, airborne at Ballaugh Bridge during practice, 26 August. A2 Landscape Poster. Photo Credit: Dave Kneen manxphotosonline.com

1-2-3 Eldee: The legend continues

EVERY NOW AND THEN you see a project that takes on a life of it’s own. The story of Eldee is part of NZ’s racing folklore. The twist is that a dedicated bunch of enthusiasts, including our classic man, Chris Swallow, have serious plans afoot… Read more >>

Travel itinerary map, Christchurch to Isle Of Man.

Eldee Isle of Man Classic TT journal

Nick Thomson’s report, November 2014…

Eldee Velocette, front three-quarter, poster, A2, portrait, Craftsmanship, carbon fibre seat, petrol tank and fairing, rider, Bill Swallow, flying swallow mark, publicity photo, photographer, Shaun Waugh, MagentaDot Brands, ram air fairing

The Eldee 2 I.O.M. official launch announcement

JULY 31, 2014, CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND. The V.R.N.Z team is proud to announce the launch of the new Nick Thomson DOHC [1], Dual Ignition Eldee 2, the 250cc lightweight special is equipped and ready for the Isle of Man Classic T.T., August 2014. Our rider, multiple Manx Grand Prix race winner Bill Swallow, will be competing for the new 250cc class Phil Read Trophy (the new Phil Read Trophy… Read more >>



Machining, special casing, Eldee Velocette

Wellington Velo man Nick Thomson continues the tradition of fine mechanics and engineers who have worked on the Eldee Special

View the making of the fine Swiss watch of the Classics. The camshaft drivetrain recreation slideshow >>

Chris Swallow, Eldee Velocette, Race 2, 9 February 2013, Hampton Downs, NZCMRR, Classic Motorcycle racing, HighSide Photography, Phil Purdue, MagentaDot Brands

Chris Swallow racing Eldee 2 at Hampton Downs 2013–14

Click to view the slideshow >>

Les Diener and the Eldee Velocettes

Les Diener, Eldee Velocettes, Old Bike Australasia article,
You’ll find the rich story in this Old Bike Australasia article, click on the thumbnail or the text link to open the pdf in a new window/tab.

Open the Old Bike Australia Eldee Velocette article .pdf

Nick Thomson, Eldee T.T., lightweight, Velocette special, front three-quarter view, portside, wide-angle, worms-eye view, carbon fibre, ram air fairing, aperture, rider, Bill Swallow, publicity photo, photographer, Shaun Waugh, MagentaDot Brands,

July 2014, Race-prep slideshows

View the Race-prep engine Dyno session slideshow >>

View the Race-prep carbon fibre fairing and tank fitting slideshow >>