The early years of Moto
Giovanni Parrilla was born in Spain in 1912.
When Giovanni was eight or nine, the
family moved to the region of Calabria to make a better life for themselves. He
was a precocious child who seemed fascinated by mechanical things.
As a teenager and motorcycle terror to his
parents, Giovanni was a enthusiastic rider of two wheels.
After a tour in the military, Parrilla
started work as a diesel injection pump repairman and spark plug vendor in
Milan. Each lunchtime, at an outdoor cafe, Giovanni would muse with his friends
over their passion, the Italian entries in the world motorcycle racing
competition. One fateful day, given the current Italian poor showing; he blurted
out that he could build a better race bike than the other Italian factories. It
sounded a monstrous boast to the others in the group and they quickly bet him
that he could not. No one is certain the amount of the bet, yet to everyone's
amusement, he began.
Giovanni, early in 1946, along with most
other racing fans were in awe of the achievements of the Norton Manx; so he
bought one. He took it apart, measured and studied it, then, when it was
reassembled, he sold it and began his work in earnest.
Mere months later, his first
a local race. A man approached him with a wad of bills expecting to buy the bike
right there. Giovanni declined the sale, yet promised the next one to this
interested buyer. Many years later during the late 50's and 60's, production of
the high-cam 175 and larger Parilla Gran Sports, the Norton classical colors and
graphics were used on Parilla competition models, in honor of Norton's
contribution to the design success of Moto Parilla.
During the following eighteen years, the
Parilla factory produced over one hundred fifty different models. Many basic
transportation style offerings were well know for their reliability and
performance when compared to other Italian makes, yet Giovanni never lost his
interest in producing competition machines.
Racing in the U.S. --
Learn more about the people who raced Parillas around the United States.