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Italian Motorcycles

Motorcycles Built in Italy

Notes on some of the rarer Italian marques

This page lists brands of which little historical information is currently available. For a more complete listing visit the Italian Index.

A

Abarth
In the mid-1920s Carlo Abarth worked with Castagna designing motorcycle frames before becoming a professional motorcycle racer, winning the European Championship five times. He was also a keen sidecar rider, and famously raced and beat the Orient Express over a 1300km route from Vienna to Ostend. He was associated with Tazio Nuvolari and Ferdinand Porsche.
Abarth built at least one motorcycle with his own name on the tank.
Source: Italian Resources


Accumolli
Manufactured in Turin in 1950, this was powered by a Piaggio engine, alloy bodywork, 12 x 3.00 wheels.
Source: woiweb.com


Adriatica
1973-89
Giuliano and Alvaro Vernocchi ran a GP race team under the name of their agricultural equipment firm Adriatica. They commissioned Dutch engineer Jan Witteveen to build a 250cc tandem twin engine and housed this in a chassis created by Alessandro Strada and Dervis Macrelli.
A later version with a Yamaha engine was ridden by Randy Mamola with considerable success in the 1979 season, limited largely by the lack of adequate brakes for Randy's riding style. This and other issues with Team Adriatica caused him to leave, as discussed in Cycle World, January 1980.
Walter Villa joined the team for the 1980 season.
Sources: ozebook.com, eurospares.com, Cycle World


Ambrosini
Situated in Passignano, Trasimeno, the firm was best known as an aircraft manufacturer. They built the Freccia AZ 150cc from 1951 to 1953, one of which is displayed in the Sciarpetti collection.
See Freccia-Azzurra


Arciero
The chassis for these were manufactured by Italtelai, engines were Franco Morini.
Models included Arciero Eagle, Hawk II, 1978/78 Sea Gull
Sources: myronsmopeds.com, et al.


B

Ballanti
The Ballanti brothers of Bologna were involved with Moto Gori, for whom they built fibreglass components. It is not known if they were responsible for the 1958 Minarelli-powered 50cc moped sold at auction in the Netherlands in 2007. These may also have been marketed as Ballant, with no i. The stylised swallow logo is very similar to that of Bruno Muller who was also based in Bologna at that time.
There was a moped powered by FB Minarelli in 1962.
There is a Roberto Ballanti associated with Ducati in the 1970s, a road racer.
Sources: motogori.it motoclub-tingavert.it et al.


Barbiero

Binassi

Built in Bologna in 1970s, these were 125cc Grand Prix motorcycles. Luigi Rinaudo raced these when a member of the NCR team.

They were highly regarded, and two examples reside in the Poggi Collection.

(Not to be confused with MB, Moto Benassi)


BM
1928-1931, a collaboration between Antonio Baudi and sidecar maker Meldi using JAP OHV 500cc engines. See also Meldi
N.B. Not to be confused with Moto BM.
Sources: Tragatsch p89, et al.


C

Cariani Gimk
Manufactured in Reno Centenese (10 kilometers from both Bondeno and S. Agostino) in the province of Ferrara.
1960s to the early 1980s. Built a variety of models, mostly mopeds with single and 3-speed gearboxes, almost all with the GIMK marque (for gimkana, most likely) and Minarelli engines. Some were very sporty indeed.
Sources: passione50cc.forumfree.it, motoclub-tingavert.it


Carpio
Manufactured 1930-1935
Used 98cc and 124cc Aubier-Dunne and Stainless engines
Source: Tragatsch p101


CCE Design
Trials machines designed and built by Emilio Carra
These were mostly unique machines hand-crafted using a variety of engines from Ossa, Gilera, and Moto Guzzi, and frames using specialist tubing from Mechanical Steel and Columbus.





Cerbiatto cerbiatto logo
Manufactured in Bolgna by M. Ceneri
Late 1940s to early 1950s, these were cyclemotors using Mosquito engines.
Cerbiatto = fawn
Sources: BuyVintage.com


COM
Manufactured by Carbonero & Schoch, Torino, 1926-1928
Built lightweights using 123 and 173 cc single-cylinder engines.
Sources: Tragatsch p106, wikipedia.nl


D

DE-CA
From 1954 to 1957 the firm built 98cc ohv singles and also a 123cc vertical twin, along with a 49cc bicycle clipon engine.
Source: Tragatsch p113


D&C - De Stefani & Conti
Manufactured in the Chienti valley near Tolentino from 1923 to 1926, when Conti bought out his partner and changed the name to Conti.
Their first efforts produced a motor bicycle powered by a Faini engine which was raced with success by Conti, leading to an arrangement with Faini to distribute their machines. 1926 saw the introduction of Della Ferrera engines, and these powered the first Conti motorcycles after the partnership disolved.
Source: motoclubstoricoconti.it


F

Favari
Manufactured in Treviso in the 1920s using Train engines. An advertisement reads:
"Favari-Train - Filli Favari - Fuori Por'a Manzoni, Treviso."


Fit
1950-1954. Built 123c and 14cc lightweights using their own frames and JLO engines.
Source: Tragatsch p 135


G

GAOMA
The firm produced a 65cc scooter named Daino in 1951 with bodywork by Magni of Milan. Later models had 75cc engines, and they remained in production until 1954.
See also Bertoni of Lodi
Source: motoclubstoricoconti.it


GM
Giuseppe Marzotto was a moto-cross competitor before entering speedway, becoming Italian Champion in 1975-1978 & 1983.
The GM500 OHC 4-valve engine first appeared in 1979, entered production in 1980, and achieved worldwide attention in 1983 when Egon Muller won the World Championship, with Erik Gunderson taking the title the following year, again with a GM.
By the turn of the century the Marzotto-designed powerplants were the one to beat, and appeared in long-track, short-track and ice-racing. In 2015 Tai Woffinden won the World Championship using a GM.
Borile fitted a modified and detuned GM engine to their B500 Cafè Racer in the late 1990s.
Sources: national-speedway-museum.co.uk, cycleworld.com, The GM Story


Guia
Manufactured by Officine Ettore Buralli, Vanam, Milano, 1950-1954
Built lightweights with two-stroke engines of 98, 123 and 147 cc. A Turismo model was available with a pressed metal frame, and a Sport with tubular frame.
Sources: wikipedia.nl, Tragatsch p153.


Guizzardi
Manufactured by Fratelli Guizzardi of Torino, 1927-1932
Built light sports motorcycles using their own OHV engines of 124cc and 174cc, and a 174cc OHC engine. The machines were quite advanced for the time.
Sources: wikipedia.nl, Tragatsch p153.


H

Harlette
According to Wikipedia NL the Harlette was built as a 123cc and 173cc two-stroke at the Puch factory in Austria for Harley-Davidson importers in France, Italy and Belgium and were produced from 1925 to 1928, and that in France they were also sold as Harlette-Géco because they were sold to Gerkinet & Co. in Jeumont.
However, Bretti Brothers differ somewhat, telling us that MAS produced the Harlette as a fourstroke in 1930. Further information here: MAS Harlette
Sources: wikipedia.nl, Bretti Brothers, Tragatsch p155.


I

ICEMI
1926-1928, Milano
The firm built motorcycles using their own engines along 175 to 500 cc units from Blackburne and JAP. Production volume was low.
Source: storiadimilano.it


J

Junior
Manufactured by Edoardo Mascagni, 1924-1935
Son of Italian opera composer Pietro Mascagni, Edoardo built motorcycles using his own frames which housed JAP SV and OHV engines of 173 to 499 cc, Blackburne 248 and 348cc OHV engines, and also built his own two-stroke engines of 174 and 346cc. These were quite possibly JAP Aza engines built under licence.
He died in the Abyssinian war in 1935.
Source: Tragatsch p181


L

L'Alba
Manufactured by Giorgio Valeri Alba 1924-1926, these were lightweight motorcycles with German OHV 198cc engines.
Source: motoclubstoricoconti.it


Ladetto
The Ladetto brothers traded under the Ladetto marque from 1923 to 1927 at Via Giacosa N° 19, Turino. They sold components to Alato among others, and possibly built their own motorcycles.
Joined by Blatto, the firm's name became Ladetto & Blatto, reverting to the original name when he left in 1930. The company ceased production in 1932.
Sources: Tragatsch p72, amicidellemotobicisottocanna.blogspot.com


LGM
The company built GP racers including 50cc machines.
LGM was raced in GP events by, S. Zattoni and Ezio Mischiatti in 1978, Massimo de Lorenzi in 1984, and Éric Saul in 1986.


M

Maer

Manufactured in Italy c1977~1983

In 1980 they produced a 125mx in two versions, air-cooled and liquid-cooled. Other models included a 250 Hiro and a 380cc MX500.

Claudio Bissaro was a dealer for Maer 1978-80.

The marque is somehow related to Verona, perhaps from the same area.


Mazzilli
Manufactured by Giorgio Mazzili 1970-1975
Off-road machines of 49cc to 248cc were built, models included the RSC 125 using a Sachs engine and in 1976 the LHS125 enduro.
Prior to producing machines for general sale, in 1956 Giorgio Mazzilli of Milan built a batch of five off-road machines using an Aldbert 175cc 4 stroke engine. Mazzilli rode this motorcycle in many off-road racing competitions and also at the Valli Bergamasche.
Sources: wikipedia.nl, Moto di Lombardia


mb moto-benassi logo

MB
Meccanica Benassi, founded in 1953, built mopeds, light motorcycles and road racers from the 1950s to the 1970s. Models include a 1958 125cc two-stroke with rear suspension. Examples of their road racing machine are featured in the Poggi Collection
The company remains actively involved in light agricultural equipment, cultivators and motor mowers. See www.benassi.it


Meldi
Manufactured by Officine Meccaniche Giuseppe Meldi, Torino, 1927-1947
Limited production of racing motorcycles using 248, 348 and 498cc engines from JAP and Rudge Python.
In conjunction with Antonio Baudo the firm produced BM motorcycles between 1928 and 1931. These are not to be confused with Moto BM of Bologna.
Source: wikipedia.nl et al.


Merli
Manufactured by Medardo Merli Motocicli, Parma, 1929-1931
Built lightweights with 173cc Train two-stoke engines.
Source: wikipedia.nl, Tragatsch p209.


Monterosa
1954-1958
Manufactured 49cc lightweight motorcycles using Itom engines.
Source: wikipedia.nl, Tragatsch


Moto Arnaldi
Arnaldi built some 30 quality motorcycles in Cascina, Pisa during the 1930s. These were also sold in Liguria. Early machines had British engines including JAP, and then when the embargo on English goods was enforced he used German and Italian engines.
A known survivor, possibly the first one built, has a JAP 170cc OHV engine with exposed coil-type valve springs.
Moto Arnaldi Gallery
Source: Renato Paganini


N

Nello
Manufactured 1977 in Bologna.
It is possible the marque was also known as NF and was built 1972-1977.
Source: wikipedia.nl, et al.
NB. Few references to such a marque have been found. 2018.


NP
Nerio Pancaldi has been building specials as a hobby since the early 1960s. Typically he will convert a small Italian OHV engine to DOHC, some of which have desmodomic heads. Several of these are on display at the Moto Poggi museum.


O

OMC

Mopeds built in Budrio, near Bologna.

Source: wikipedia.nl




P

Piarino
Folding scooterette with 50cc CR Motori Italia. Manufacturer unknown
Source: klaus-flechsig.de


R

Ribetti

Recorded as being the first motorcycle to exceed 10,000 rpm, only one example of the 1925 125cc machine survives and is displayed at the Bassella Museum in Spain.



S

Saglietti
Manufactured 1923 - 1924
Giovanni Saglietti, Turin. An established bicycle producer who sponsored a racing team of some 10 cyclists in the mid-1920s.
A surviving example is fitted with a VIS engine by Gazzi, and a photograph exists of Giovanni and his wife with motorised bicycles from around 1950, indicating that the firm may also have produced these.
Source: amicidellemotobicisottocanna.blogspot.com


SAM
Manufactured by Società Automobili e Motori, Via Boccaccio N. 9, Legnano, 1922-1928
Their first model was a three-wheeler named the S.A.M. Vaghi, powered by an 1100cc engine. Also available as a four-wheeler, the marque entered the field with to great aplomb, taking the first three places of the 1923 Milan Cyclecar GP. 1
Subsequently they built only four-wheeled vehicles.
Notes: 1. autopassion18.com says they took 3,4 and 5.
Source: Period literature, wikipedia.it


Snark
The Snark Moped company of Carteret, New Jersey marketed a series of mopeds built by Italvelo & Italtelai. Powered by Minarelli and Franco Morini engines, models included Snark Satellite (1978), Bianchi Satellite and Bianchi Snark, and there were also Benelli mopeds.
The Satellite models, built by Italtelai, were also sold by Arciero and Pacer under their own brands.
Source: myronsmopeds.com


Spaviero
1954-1955
The small company built motorcycles fitted with OHV 98cc parallel twin engines.
Source: Tragatsch p276


Stella
1924-1927
Built by Max Türkheimer, these were fitted with 173cc Blackburne engines.
An Otav catalogue of 1907-08 mentions the Stella engine, implying that it was built by Türkheimer.
See also Astra
There was also a long-established French Stella marque.
Sources: wikipedia.nl, period advertising.


T

Thunder
1952-1954
Thunder Motori Srl, Reggio Emilia built motorcycles using parallel twin engines of 173cc.
Source: wikipedia.nl (NIT)


Totaco

Logo


Manufactured in the early 1950s, these were bicycle attachment engines.
They were also built under license in Denmark by BBE in Esbjerg, 1954.
Sometimes incorrectly spelled "Totako".


V

Vertemati logo

Vertemati
via Brovada, 4, Triuggio (MI) Italy
1997~
The Vertemati brothers Alvaro and Guido built 500cc MX machines in conjunction with Bimota, and then until 2008 with Benelli. There has also been an association with VOR, who bought the rights to early project developments.
Vertemati Moto srl was established in the year 2000.
Sources: vertematiracing.it, facebook.com/vertematiracingteam/


Victory
1950-1955
Motocicli Giovanni Francesconi of Padu built lightweight motorcycles using Villiers 98cc and 123cc engines.
Source: wikipedia.nl


VOR
1996~
VOR Motori, Ronco Briantino, Milan
Associated with the Vertemati brothers, the firm built large capacity motocross and enduro machines. The brand was acquired by Mondial.
Source: wikipedia.nl


Vyrus
Ascanio Rodorigo was a member of the Bimota race team working with Massimo Tamburini on projects which included the Tesi. Rodorigo left Bimota to form his own company, and the Vyrus is the result. It is widely regarded as one of finest sports machines ever built.
Website: vyrus.it



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