The history of Harley Davidson and Italian Motorcycle companies is a strange and repeated story. First in the 1960’s and 70’s with Aermacchi and later with MV Agusta, the Milwaukee Company dated a nice Italian girl. The first time around riders in America were lucky enough to get a taste of Italian racing bikes, the second time around not so much. This Aermacchi RR350 offered on eBay now is one such first round Italian racer in Milwaukee Orange.
From the seller
When Harley Davidson bought a stake in Aermacchi in the early 1960’s they were looking for a ready built motorcycle that they could sell to Americans. They were hoping to expand a customer base, looking to sell to people that were looking for a sexy, fast, well handling sport bike. Something completely different. This 350RR was not something that you would find in a HD showroom next to the big bagger’s, but it was something offered to the privateer who wanted to go racing on the weekends.
From the seller
FACTORY BUILT, WATER COOLED, TWIN CYLINDER, 2-STROKE, GRAN PRIX RACER, WHICH IS THE ONLY TIME HARLEY HAD EVER HAD THEIR NAME ON THE WINNING PODIUM IN GP EVENTS WAS WITH THIS MACHINE. MANY MORE OF THE RR250’S WERE BUILT, APPROX. 250 UNITS, WHICH WAS ALSO A RACE WINNER FOR HARLEY.
THIS MACHINE WAS RESTORED A NUMBER OF YEARS BACK OVER INEUROPE, MACHINE IS MATCHING #’S-MOTOR# 350/2C/2T 10027, AND SAME ON THE FRAME. CASE #’S MATCHING #2, AND #20.CERIANI FRONT END, DELORTO CARBS,MENANICLIPON’S,SCARAB FRONT DISK BRAKES,BORRANI 18″ REAR, AKRONT 18″ FRONT.
At first the racing bikes offered from Aermacchi were small displacement 4-strokes, but with the swing in the late 60’s to 2-stroke power, the factory 4’s became screaming 2’s. These later, water cooled bikes were able to generate 70bhp at 11,400rpm. This was enough power to push European rider Renzo Pasolini to within points of the 1972 250cc World Championship, and 3rd in the 350cc.
In 1974 Harley took complete ownership of Aermacchi and for a few short years Harley dealerships had to stock both SAE and Metric tools and parts to service this Italian child. AMA racing did offer a small displacement category, so 250RR did see action on race tracks across America, but the 350RR did not appear to have a class to show off here in the States, so few made the trip from Italy.
With the combined history of Harley Davidson and Aermacchi, any of these Italians would be collectible. Add to that the water cooled 2-stroke power and the imprint that this technology put on racing around the world and you have a bike that interest grows. I will be watching to see where this bike ends up.BB