Italian Motorcycles

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Menicucci Motorcycles

A Brief History of the Marque

The factory built some 6000 motorcycles between 1948 and 1965.

This history is prompted by a report of a "Menegucci" motorcycle by Renato Paganini, who now believes that an error in the paperwork led to the 175cc machine in question being incorrectly identified. The following is a translation.

The young Menicucci, known as "Peppino", was a great lover of the mechanical arts and especially of motorcycle engines, means that in the post-WWI period was the most appreciated for its affordability. Thus was born in him the idea of building his own machine, and in 1930 the first Moto Menicucci appeared, equipped with an English JAP engine which was later tuned for improved performance.

Accompanied by his brothers Liborio and Alfredo, the workshop of Giuseppe Menicucci became the center of attraction for motorcycle enthusiasts of Perugia and surrounding areas and Moto Menicucci was swamped with enquiries. In 1933 to cope with the many orders, Giuseppe sought a financing partner that was in P. Buraglini (Pietro?), known throughout Umbria in the motorcycle industry. The motorcycle Menicucci created was named BMP (Buraglini, Menicucci, Perugia) and was equipped with a Menicucci engine.

The BMP ceased production on the outbreak of World War II. German soldiers occupied and commandeered the plant, and after their retreat it was the turn of the British who used it as a vehicle maintenance depot. After the war normality slowly returned and Italy, as in all European countries, needed personal transporation. Giuseppe, Liborio and Alfredo reignited their desire to build motorcycles.

Perugina Logo

In 1948 the new plant was inaugurated with a foundry which also produced building materials for the booming industry. Modern equipment at the FOM (Foundry Workshop Menicucci) allowed the Moto Perugina to be created using many in-house components including the frame, cylinder, crankcases, cylinder heads and wheel hubs.

Under the expert guidance of Menicucci the company employed around 85 machinists, mechanics, and engineers who later gave birth to the engineering industry which flourishes to this day in the region. In November 1952 the first Moto Perugina appeared, a classic 160cc two-stroke, which was fuel efficient with satisfactory performance.

At the Tour of Italy in 1954 the Perugina Sports 160 obtained very good results. The 160 competition version differed from the 160 sport, having an alloy barrel and cast iron cylinder head, pistons by Borgo or Ace, a Del'Orto SS carburetor, a larger tank and power around 10-11hp at 8,000 rpm.

Borgo Pistons

Alloy Pistons

Aluminium pistons first appeared before the Great War in engines by W.O. Bentley (UK) and Borgo (IT).


Sources: Historical Automotoclub Assisano; Renato Paganini

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