The Ossa name is an acronym of Orpheo Sincronic Sociedad Anónima, a company in which Ricardo Soriano and Manuel Giró were partners in the 1930s.
Motorcycle production began in 1949 with a 125cc two-stroke machine which had telescopic forks and swinging arm rear suspension - far advanced from most of the competition in concept. The 125A was commercially successful and the profits were invested in development. New models were released which included a 50cc Ossita moped, another success story.
Ossa entered competition with a debut at the 1952 ISDT in Austria.
In 1957 the 125A was replaced with the 125B with a pressed metal frame, hydraulic suspension front and rear, and a more powerful engine. This was followed by the 125C with a tubular frame.
The firm's one and only four-stroke appeared the following year, the 175GT with a Morini engine.
Sales were dwindling throughout the motorcycle industry due to the advent of light cars - Fiat's Bambino in Italy, and in Spain the Seat 600.
At this time, which preceded the beginning of the 60s, the motorcycle industry entered into a deep crisis, due to the increasingly accessible prices of small utility cars of the time, such as the Seat 600.
Ossa had gained a star in 1954 with the appointment of Sandro Colombo, well-known for his earlier work with Gilera. Colombo had developed an engine for Ossa which was continuing to evolve and became the primary focus for the firm's new models. The engines were fitted to the 160T and GT, and capacity was increased for a range of new 175, 230 and 250cc models.
The 250 engine powered the machine that took them to victory at the 1967 Montjuïc 24 hours race. A string of creditable competition results followed.
Off-road models had been developing, and Mick Andrews dominated the trials championships on his Ossa in the early 70s. Ossa released a machine in his honour, the Ossa MAR - the Mick Andrews Replica.(1) In the United States they were also fairing well and another machine appeared with the name Ossa DMR - the Dick Mann Replica.
A machine of some interest during this period is the Yankee 500, an American motorcycle powered by the newly developed Ossa 500cc twin cylinder road-racing engine.
The Ossa motocross range of the 1970s was very well received, with the Phantom models of the '70s appearing regularly in the results at all levels of competition in Europe and the United States.
The marque fell into decline in the 1980s, with the brand changing hands. Limited numbers of junior machines appeared over the following decade.
Ossa re-appeared in 2010 with a new range of modern trials machines developed in association with trials champion Marc Colomer
N.B. 1. Andrews was soon poached by Yamaha, and was instrumental in the development of their TY250. A similar story occurred a few years earlier when Ariel rider Sammy Miller was ignored by the company when he begged them for a new lightweight machine. Bultaco listened, Sammy dominated the field, and Ariel died. The British have something of a history of ignoring the bleeding obvious and staggering off some cliff. Just look at Brexit.
If you have a query about about this page, or have some information to add, please contact us