The Big Car Database


Velie was a brass era American automobile make 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.


Velie ads bragged they "produce every important part" and were not simply assemblers, a lesson Fordhad taught. However, Velie's first car was assembled from suppliers' components. Velie had sold more than 1000 cars by 1910.

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

The 1911 Velie 40 had a 334 in3 (5473 cc) (4½×5¼-inch, 114×133 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 and one reverse speed). It was a four-seater with a 115 in (2921 mm) wheelbase and 34×4-inch (86×10-cm) hickory artillery wheels, shod in the customer's choice of Hartford or Firestone tires. It was priced at US$1800, which compared against US$1500 for the Colt Runabout and US$1600 for the Oakland 40, but well below even American's lowest-price model, at US$4250 (its highest was US$5250). 

In 1914, a six-cylinder Continental joined electric start and Bosch dual ignition. Velie production averaged about 5,000 cars a year, peaking at 9,000 in 1920. Beginning in 1916, all Velies were powered by a six-cylinder engines; 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. In 1924, Velie began installing Westinghouse electric ignitions in their cars. Added to this in 1925 were four-wheel hydraulic brakes and balloon tires, both still novel.

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

Beginning in 1927, the company produced aircraft. It bought out a general aviation company, moving it to Iowa as Mono Aircraft Inc.. Under this banner, the company produced the Velie Monocoupe, which proved "an instant success". In addition, they provided engines for aircraft, including the Monocoupe 70. Velie's M-5 aircraft engine, produced in 1928, for instance, was 250 cu in (4.1 l) (4.125 by 3.75 in (104.8 by 95.3 mm) bore and stroke), producing 65 hp (48 kW) at 1900 rpm.

Willard Velie died in October 1928, and his son, Willard, Jr., proved unable to keep both the Velie automobile and airplane companies afloat, dropping the car in January 1929. Willard, Jr., also died, in March 1929, and Mono was sold to Phil Ball, a St. Louis business man & one of the backers of Charles Lindbergh. Monocoupes were then produced for several years in St. Louis. The car plant was purchased by Deere.

According to the Official Velie Register, worldwide 230 Velies are known to exist as of 2010.