A Brief History of the Marque
Made in Belgium by Société pour l'Etude et la Construction de Véhicules Electriques, 614 Chaussée de Waterloo, Bruxelles, from 1941 to 1956
The brothers Maurice and Albert de Limelette founded the company in 1941. After the German invasion in 1940 petrol became very scarce, and Maurice came up with the idea of an electric scooter, which he further developed in correspondence with his brother during a stay in hospital after an accident.
Parts were ordered from various small suppliers, and Albert assembled the first machine which was tested in 1941 and further developed before production commenced in June of 1941. The first batch of 15 scooters sold immediately, and by the end of the following year some 400 had been manufactured. It appears that the Germans had given permission for the production of 500 vehicles, so Socovel recycled the serial numbers.
At wars end they began producing motorcycles. The 125-9 D was powered by a Villiers 125cc engine, and they also produced a single-speed 98cc velomoteur.
In 1949 catalog was expanded to inclued a 200 cc Villiers model with telescopic forks and plunger-style rear suspension, and then in 1951 they added a Jawa-powered model, followed by a 150cc CZ. The cost of the Eastern European engines was considerably lower than that of the Villiers, and allowed a very attractive retail price.
By 1952 the company was thriving, producing 170 motorcycles each week with a workforce of 50 people.
Then disaster struck when Albert de Limenette died. He was the brains trust for the financial and administrative functions. His brother Maurice was a technical man.
Activities continued, and in 1954 the model range consisted of models with 100, 125, and 200cc Villiers engines, 150cc CZ engines, and 250 and 350cc Jawas.
Added to the range in 1956 were JLO 49cc mopeds with swinging arm rear suspension in std and deluxe versions, and a 200cc Maico machine.
By the end of the 50s sales had diminished considerably, possibly due to the influx of cheap cars from Italy and Germany, and Maurice closed the company doors.
His son produced Socovel-Kart gokarts for a short period using remaining stocks from the factory.
Sources: oud.jawa.nl, wikipedia.nl
2. Coventry-Victor has been listed as an engine supplier for Socovel. However, that firm ceased production before the war.
3. André Piron rode observed trials competions on a Socovel.
Wed Mar 21 2007
bex59 at btinternet dot com
We have an original poster advertising this bike. Can you let us know the make and model please
Tue Apr 19 2005
wimlammertijn at hotmail dot com
I have a question. Did Socovel make an electric motorcycle (on a large battery) in those times? Because I saw an electric one, marked Socovel Bruxelles.