Aermacchi Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Aermacchi Models 1950s-1970s

1951-1953 125cc Aermacchi Cigno

1952-1954 125cc Model M Monsone (Monsoon)

During 1954 the Ghibli 125 U was introduced, similar to the Monsone...

Aermacchi Scooters

1956-1961 Chimera 175cc

Introduced at the Milan Show of November 1955, the Chimera was quite a sensation with its relatively powerful horizontal fourstroke engine, sleek enclosed bodywork, and monocross suspension - a system not seen on other production machines until decades later. The machine's designer, Alfredo Bianchi, already had a long list of credits for notable machines penned for Astoria and Parilla, and the success of this one was immediate. Production began in 1956 and continued until 1961.

Chimera 175 1956-1960 172 cc single cyl. 60 x 61 mm, 4-stroke 9¼ h.p. @ 6,500 rpm, Max speed 110 km/h

1957-1964 Ala Bianca

172 cc single cyl. 60 x 61 mm, 4-stroke 9¼ h.p. @ 6,500 rpm

1957-1968 Ala Rossa, S, 175 GT,

172 cc single cyl. 60 x 61 mm, 4-stroke 9¼ h.p. @ 6.250 rpm, (GT 13 h.p @ 7,500 rpm)

1958-1964 Chimera 250

246.2 cc single cyl. 66 x 72 mm, 4-stroke 13.7 h.p. @ 6,500 rpm, 120 km/h

1959-1972 Ala Verde 250

246cc single cyl. 66 x 72 mm, 4-stroke 16-18 h.p. @ 6,500 rpm,

1959-1972 Ala d'Oro 250 "Competizione"

Version 1 246cc 66 x 72 mm, 4-stroke, 26 h.p. @ 9,200 rpm
Version 2 248cc 72 x 61 mm, 4-stroke 32 h.p. @ 10,000 rpm, 200 km/h

1961-1964 Ala d'Oro 250 DS, DS-S

1961 246cc single cyl. 66 x 72 mm, 4-stroke 26 h.p. @ 9,200 rpm, 177 km/h
1964 248 cc single cyl. 72 x 61 mm, 4-stroke 32 h.p. @ 10.000 rpm 190 km/h

1961 Model C Sprint 250cc

The 1961 Model C Sprint was the first product imported to the United States as a result of the agreement between Aermacchi and Harley-Davidson.

A horizontal 250cc four-stroke OHV engine powered this lightweight. It has an alloy cylinder head with 9:1 compression ratio developing a claimed 18 horsepower at 7,500 rpm. It was fitted with a 4 speed gearbox with gearshift on the left, something of a trap for the American rider to get used to prior to the Japanese onslaught.

1961 250cc Sprint Model C

1961 250cc Wisconsin / Sprint 250CH

1963 Brezza SC-150

1963 Brezza

Aermacchi Scooters

1964-1972 Ala d'Oro 350 "Competizione"

1964-1967 Ala d'Oro 344cc 74 x 80 mm, 4-stroke 37 h.p. @ 8.200 rpm, 200 km/h
1968-1972 Ala d'Oro 349cc 77 x 75 mm, single cyl, 42 h.p. @ 8.400 rpm, 210 km/h

1964 Zeffiretto 48N & 48NP

This 48cc machine came as a moped, the 48NP (P for pedals) and without pedals, a no-ped, hence 48N with no P. (Yeah, right!)

The engine is 38x42mm, plain piston-port, CR 8.5:1, with 3 speeds actuated by a hand shift. The 48NP was built until 1965 with much of the production going to the Italian market, whilst the 48N continued on until 1972.

1964 Zeffiretto 48N/48NP

1965 Model M-50 50 cc

The M-50s two-stroke engine developed 2.5 horsepower from 50ccc, delivering power via a thre-speed gearbox. Gear shift was scooter-style via a cable from the handgrip. Built on Lake Varese in the Aermacchi factory this was Harley-Davidson's smallest ever motorcycle

The tiddler weighed 103 pounds, had a 1.6-gallon petrol tank, had reasonable fuel economy and sold for a mere for $225.00.

Around 9,000 M-50 models were produced in 1965.

1965 M-50

1966 Model M-50 Sport

For 1966 only, the rather cute M-50 Sport was offered. It featured a longer sleek tank and dual seat and was powered by another of the company's reliable 50cc two-strokes. Harley-Davidson imported around 10,500 examples of this red and white model which was demonstrated to achieve well over 100 miles per gallon under normal road conditions of the day.

1966 M50 Sport

1967 Model H Sprint 250

The 1967 Aermacchi HD Sprint boasted a new top end giving a much needed boost to the power output. Styling was also overhauled with a larger 5 US gallon tank, a new muffler and tail light. 2000 of these were produced.

1967 Model H Sprint 250

1967-1972 Ala Blu 250cc Turismo and GT

Fitted with a 4-speed gearbox and the engine of the Azzurra, the model was built in small quantities for one year only.

A GT model also appeared with a 5 speed box. The Ala Blu GT 250-M remained in the product lineup until 1972, and in total somewhat more than 725 machines were manufactured.

1967 Ala Blu 250

1968 Rapido Model ML 125cc

For 1968, the 125cc two-stroke was delivered in black and silver livery with a fairly basic electrical system powering headlight and tail lamp, with flywheel magneto ignition.

1968 Model ML Rapido 125

1969 Ala d'Oro 125cc

The development of the 125cc Ala d'Oro began in 1966 with the prototype raced in 1967. It had a with a bore and stroke of 56x50mm and developed 10 horsepower more than its predecessor.

The already attractive machine was further developed through the 1968 season and the first production racers appeared on the dealers showroom floors in 1969.

207 Ala d'Oro 125s were produced.

Ala d'Oro 125 1969-1972 123 cc single cyl. 56 x 50 mm, two-stroke 20 h.p. @ 10.800 rpm.

1969 Ala d'Oro 125

1969 Rapido 125 - Aletta ML 125 Ala d'Oro

Towards the end of 1966 Aermacchi began the development of a 125 two-stroke engine, and a year later the Alleta 125 was displayed at the Milan Show. It was marketed in 1968 as the Turismo 125 and was fitted with a conventional piston-port engine of 56x50mm running on premix, as did almost all two-strokes of the day.

The frame was very similar to that of the Zeffiretto S and the M50/M65S models, with changes made to the rear end of the larger capacity bike.

Production ceased in 1970 after some 560 units had left the factory. A scrambler model Aletta also appeared in 1968, and somewhat more than 600 of these were built. These models were followed, in 1972, by a De Luxe Aletta 125cc, production of which ended a year later. Total De Luxe models - 1014.

The Aletta was marketed in the United States as the Rapido, and numerous changes were made to its appearance for the very different American market. It was a very successful machine, and one of the models was particularly well recieved - the 125 R/C Trail. This machine continued to be produced after the company changed hands and was renamed AMF Harley-Davidson. The HD logo was no doubt a considerable bonus to the sales team.

1970 M-65 Leggero

For the US market the Aermacchi Zeffiretto Sport 48S was titled simply M50S, and mildly restyled with typically high American-style handlebars and the removal of the toolboxes. The following year the larger M65S replaced the 48, with almost identical appearance.

The M-65S continued in the catalogs until 1970 when the Leggero "Mini Cycle" appeared, with a foot-operated gear change rather than hand change. Distribution of this model ceased in 1971.

1970 M65 Leggero

1969 Ala d'Oro 408 "Competizione"

1969 402 cc single cyl., 4-stroke

1969-1972 AMF Harley-Davidson TV-350

344 cc single cyl. 74 x 80 mm, 4-stroke 29 h.p. @ 7,500 rpm, 160 km/h

1970 MSR-100 Baja 100cc

Based on the ML Rapido, the MSR was designed for off-road competition as befits its name. It was very much the same as the road-going SR-100, without lights, and the M in MSR is thought to have denoted Motocross.

Sold from 1970 to 1974, the machine had a 100cc two-stroke engine fed by a Dell'Orto MB-24A carburettor, and tyre sizes of 18" rear and 21" front.

1970 MSR 100 Baja

1971 Bicilindrica 250cc & 350cc Road Racers

The Bicilindrica first appeared at the Modena circuit with Renzo Pasolini aboard for tests. It was developed by Alfredo Bianchi, technical director, ably assisted by William Soncini. Based on the 125 racing engine, it was two top ends on a common crankcase in parallel twin configuration in 250cc and 350cc versions. The barells were of 175cc capacity giving a total volume of just under 350cc. Both Pasolini and Walter Villa had wins on these machines.

1971 Bicilindrica 250/350

1972-1973 AMF Harley-Davidson SX-350

344 cc single cyl. 74 x 80 mm, 4-stroke 25 h.p. @ 7,000 rpm.

1972 MC-65 Shortster

The Shortster had the same engine as the Leggero fitted in a large diameter tubular frame from which the engine hung. Suspension was conventional front and rear, and it had alloy wheels and a dual seat. Quite high handlebars were fitted, along with lights and a speedometer, and an upswept exhaust.

In all, Harley's initial foray into the burgeoning minibike market was a very attractive offering. It was upgraded the following year with a 90cc 4-speed model, termed the X-90.

1972 M65 Shortster

1973-1974 SR 100

A road trail version of AMF's MSR, The SR100 shared its engine, chassis and much of the bodywork with the exception of the front guard and the addition of lights. It also had a high-low rear sprocket changing device allowing a fast change to lower gearing for off-road use.

The lightweight trailbike shared the specification of the MSR with a 100cc engine and Dell'Orto MB-24A carburettor, and tyre sizes of 18" rear and 21"

1973 SR100

1973-1974 X-90 and Z-90

The X90 was based on the MC-65 Shortster, sharing many of its components including forks, wheels and fenders.

The engine was a 4 speed 90cc twostroke of 48x50mm and CR 1:9.22 with oil injection from a separate tank, the oil-pump being driven from the crankshaft.

The Z90 model was a larger machine, featuring a dual seat and lighting, using some electrical components common to the SS/SX models and the frame was similar to the SR100 Baja. This model was still available in some markets well into 1975.

1973 X90 Z90

1973 TX 125

Based on its predecessors the 125cc MLS and De Luxe, the Aermacchi HD TX125 had a revamped and stronger frame with a steel sump guard in place below the engine on the off-road model. Fitted with indicators for the US market, it had a 5 speed engine. The model suffered some criticism for gearbox problems and also body finish, and around 10,000 units were produced.

1973 TX125

1973-1974 SS 350

A development of the Sprint, the OHV 350cc SS was clearly up against it with all of the Japanese and European manufacturers offering a host of options, from Desmo Ducatis to Kawasaki Triples and of course Yamaha's all-conquering RD350. The Aermacchi offering was simply not in the race for although quite attractive it was, by comparison, deadly slow.

The machine offered a robust electrical system by ND with electric starting and a fair chunk of battery to run it, all housed in a new frame. There was a similar model available for off-road work, the SX-350.

1973 SS350

1974 SX125

1975-1978 SXT 125

Developed from the SX125 of 1974, it runs the same frame as the '75 SX175 and an upgraded 125cc engine, with compression increased to 10.8:1 (very high for a twostroke), 12hp (up from less than 10) and a larger Dell'Orto of 27mm choke.

1975 SXT125

1976 SX175

1975-1978 SS 175

A roadgoing edition of the SX175, the SS was powered by one of AMF's last two-strokes, a 175cc engine.

1975 SS175

1977-1978 SST-125

The SST-125 was presented with a five-speed gearbox, alternator, front disc-brake and oil injection. The machine was otherwise very similar to the earlier SS125.

1977 SST125

1975-1978 SX250

1978 SST350

Aermacchi Scooters

Macchi 125N 1951-1954
Macchi 125 U / UL Ghibli 1953-1955
Zeffiro 125E 1955 to 1958
Zeffiro 150-1 1955-1958
Zeffiro 125-2 Series 2 1959-1961
Zeffiro 150-2 Series 2 1959-1961
Brezza 150 1963-1964

Sources: A. Vassiliadis, et al

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