Italian Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Ardea Motorcycles

A Brief History of the Italian Marque

In the early twenties the company Officine Meccaniche SAFIU ( Società Anonima Fabbrica Italiana Utensili), headquartered in Cavaria, manufactured tools and automotive parts for Fiat.

The company had a hundred employees and considerable technical equipment for the time which included workshops with lathes and presses, and a foundry.

In 1927, affected by the economic crisis created under the Fascist state, the company diversified by constructing motorcycles. The first model had a 175cc engine and this was soon followed by a 250.

The two engines are similar single cylinder horizontal OHV units, with a combustion chamber believed to have been designed and engineered by Ing. Giulio Cesare Cappa.

The machines had telescopic forks, very rare in the day.

Production continued until 1931 with output probably totalling about three hundred machines; other sources claim only forty-five motorcycles in all, possibly relying on registration records which showed only forty of that marque.

The plant, until quite recently, was still visible from the MI-VA near Varese, exit Cavaria; it is apparently very close to the location of Isotta Fraschini.

Ardea motorcycles were raced by Silvio Vailati, Bruno Martelli and Virginio Fieschi.

Vailati, as well as being a good rider was a good salesman and at his shop in Milan in Via Elvezia imported and sold Sunbeam machines, along with Ardea.

Virginio Fieschi went on to build his own Astoria engines and complete motorcycles. His business had offices and factory in Milan at Coni Zugna and later at Via Astesani.

In 1931 S.A.F.I.U., the parent company of Ardea, failed; the complete warehouse with engines, frames, accessories and moulds were purchased by Silvio Crespi and removed to his workshop in Samarate.

Silvio Crespi worked as a senior engineer at Caproni Vizzola Ticino and sees in the purchase of material failure SAFIU the opportunity to start his own business.

Reportedly the sale price was 100,000 pounds, a figure at the time quite substantial.

Thus the construction of Ardea Samarate motorcycles resumes where it produced between 10 and 15 copies then, in 1934, the production Crespi stops and emigrated to Africa in search of fortune.

Back in Italy, thanks to his son the firm continues to supply spare parts for Ardea motorcycle until 1948, the year of his death.

The logo on the tank of the bike from Varese is formed from the name of Ardea, in red, which overlooks an elegant and streamlined volatile, precisely un'ardea in flight and from this the motto of SAFIU "Volatility Super Altam Ardea Nubem."

In the tenth edition of the Circuito del Lario, July 6, 1930, is entered in the 250 class with a Ardea rider to be designated, it is not known if they are taken off.

Scuza Itanglish

Source: Moto di Lombardia

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