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Classic Velocity Blog

A Grand Goodbye

Classic Velocity


Although we have covered Hoffmann in general here before, the flagship Hoffmann Governeur S300 had very bad timing. to say the least. It was the larger displacement successor to the S250, and was part of the continued march of Hoffmann toward larger motorcycles. However, it came at the tail end of the company’s short life in a declining market. Hoffmann was sustained largely by a license to produce Vespa scooters. This funded the small motorcycles it went on to produce. However, they were expensive and often suffered from overheating due to enclosed carbs and intake tracks.

The S300 was introduced in 1953. It produced 17 hp and was good for a top speed of 70mph. It was a flat twin housed in a pressed steel frame, and featured telescopic suspension and shaft drive. It was produced in green rather than the routine black of the prior models. It was a handsome machine but the engine development costs were significant. Unfortunately, Hoffmann also lost the Vespa license in 1953, and were battling a patent infringement suit from BMW. The combination forced the company into bankruptcy, making the S300 a grand finale.