Italian Motorcycles

Fongri Motorcycles

A Brief History of the Marque

Manufactured: 1910-1930*

Founded in Turin by Fontana and Grignani, the firm used their own (or possibly Bradshaw) horizontally opposed twins of 500 and 580cc with three-speed gearbox and chain drive, with the engine mounted longitudinally, and also used the Bradshaw oil-cooled transverse HO Twin. There is no mention of this any currently available literature, but such a machine exists and is shown in the gallery. An early Fongri-built tricycle powered by a V-twin NSU engine was produced, and in the 1920s they built a twin-cylinder 500cc water-cooled model along with a 125cc model.

HO Twin

Horizontally Opposed Twin

Examples include BMW, Zundapp and Douglas HO Twins have conrods running on a common crank, with one on the exhaust stroke and the other on inlet.

In general the motorcycles were very stylish and quite advanced, but apparently not commercially successful in part no doubt as they built many components in-house including gearboxes and engines.

Motorcycle production ceased around 1930.

The firm was also involved in aviation.

* Sources vary, with Henshaw giving dates of 1919-1925, another saying they began "around 1908". Fongri.com, built by someone of the same name as the founder and therefore likely a relative, gives dates of 1910-1930. Moto-collection.org says that the company ceased manufacture during the first war, restarted around 1921 in Milan and stopped in 1922, then in 1924 resumed in Turin with the brothers Grignani and ceased in 1926.

Sources: MC Storico Conti, Henshaw et al

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