Excelsior - Welbike (Corgi)
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Excelsior D2-492-06-07
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 100
Model : Welbike (Corgi)
Production : 1940 - 1945
Category : (R) Scooter-Military


100 Welbike - 1944

Scooters from the skies!

During World War II, motor scooters played a significant role as communications and reconnaissance machines, and particularly useful as light one-man transport vehicles which could be dropped by parachute.

Dropping Zone

The brainchild of Colonel J.R.V. Dolphin, the "Welbike" was really more a folding motorcycle than a scooter. Built by the well-known English Excelsior company, this cunning little machine had a rigid tubular frame housing a pressurized fuel tank and a horizontal two-stroke engine. The handlebars folded backwards, the telescopic seat pillar retracted into the frame, and the machine could be fitted into a 15-inch tube that could be air-dropped at the same time as its rider. Within a few minutes of landing, the Welbike was ready for use.

The Answer to Gridlock?

After the war, the Welbike was resurrected as the Corgi by Brockhouse Engineering of Southport, Lancashire. This civilian version was popular with boat owners because it took up little room on deck but gave them added mobility around the docks; however, it had added some extra weight and proved impracticable for normal usage. Bur such folding motorcycles, stored in automobile trunks ready to be put into use in case of gridlock, could become popular as a solution to urban congestion in the not-so-distant future.


Engine: 98 cc (50x50mm) single-cylinder two-stroke

Valves: two-stroke

Fuel System: pressure-fed carburetor

Transmission: open chain

Suspension: none

Brakes: rear wheel drum

Wheels: 12in wire

Weight: 90 lb

Maximum Speed: 40 mph

Preserved in original condition, this Wellbike played a special role in World War II – it was parachuted into occupied France with French government minister Andre Jarrot in 1944.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

Please contact me at info@moto-collection.org for conditions and copyright.

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François-Marie Dumas

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