Last Call: Dutch Treat Edition

The Van Veen OCR 1000 was the Wankel-powered dream of Dutch motorcycle magnate Hendrik Van Veen. The OCR (“Oil Cooled Rotor”) used a repurposed Comotor rotary automotive engine, most famously used in the NSU R080.  NSU and Citroën pulled the plug on their joint rotary project after delivering only 50 engines to Van Veen, though the marketability of the Van Veen was questionable anyway. The engine made it massive, thirsty and somewhat fragile, though most damning was the cost—roughly the same as a new Mercedes 350SL roadster at the time. A total of thirty-eight OCRs were built between 1976–1981, with ten additional “continuation” examples being built from existing factory spares within the last few years. The Van Veen was ultimately a marketing failure, but certainly not an aesthetic one. The high grade of finish on the components is remarkable for such a small production run, and despite some awkward compromises such as the pizza-box-sized radiator, the Van Veen manages to simultaneously be history’s best looking rotary bike and best looking car-engined bike.
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12 responses to “Last Call: Dutch Treat Edition”

  1. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
    dead_elvis, inc.

    That’s just lovely! The tank & seat could have come from a contemporary Guzzi, and those Lester(ish?) mags help seal the deal for me.

    1. Batshitbox Avatar

      Evidently it’s a Moto Guzzi frame.
      -John B. Hege, “The Wankel Rotary Engine: A History”, McFarland 2015

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

        The original prototype had a Mazda engine and a Guzzi frame. The production Van Veen positioned the engine transversely and completely different frame.

        1. HuntRhymesWith Avatar

          OK I need to recreate this, but with a 13B.

      2. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
        dead_elvis, inc.

        The color scheme made me think of this:

  2. DoctorNine Avatar

    Another in a long line of, “Yes, I realize that you CAN do that, but really, SHOULD you?” vehicles.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      I am afraid to click the link to find out this is just a GTA5 screenshot.

  3. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    The other rotary powered bikes were DKWs, Nortons, and Suzuki’s ’74-’76 Guigiaro designed RE5. The styling was toned down for the Mk2 version shown in the German brochure, the instruments were changed for the same ones as the GT750 twostroke.
    The early ‘pure’ versions had a tranverse cylinder containing the instruments
    The DKW Hercules was the ancestor of the Nortons, with it’s single rotor Fichtel & Sachs fan-cooled engine.
    The Norton classic used a twin rotor version of that engine developed by David Garside at BSA
    That was further developed into the Norton Commander which with it’s integrated panniers and Yamaha front end, (wheels/fork off XJ900) was used by UK police.
    That motor was further developed into the ’92 Norton F1
    The rotary thus developed evolved into the Midwest AE series aero engine, still in production today. Used in a variety of light aircraft including Schleicher powered gliders with their foldaway propellors and used in some military drones.
    A much more successful development story than the NSU/Comotor one of the VanVeen, RO80, and Citroen, and rivalling Mazda’s rotary. All more successful than Suzuki’s one-off dead end.

    1. Batshitbox Avatar

      The DKW (made by Hercules, using a Fichtel & Sachs motor) and Suzuki were single-rotor engines, whereas the Norton and Van Veen were twin rotors, with the Norton being the only twin-rotor wankel engine developed specifically for a motorcycle.

  4. Manxman Avatar

    If it passed me on the street I’d swear it was a Kawasaki.