Today’s Harley-Davidson isn’t exactly a Harley. Looking for a quick way into the sporty middleweight market, Harley purchased 50% of Aermacchi’s motorcycle production operation in the early 1960’s. Rebranded as Harley-Davidsons, they clearly didn’t have much in common with the big v-twins from The Motor Company, other than that classic logo. Aermacchis were mechanically simple, but lightweight and nimble, with a history of racing successes in various forms of competition.
In fact, I’m sure it was a pain for shops and dealers, since they now had to have complete sets of both English and Metric tools! And historically, we know how that usually goes for outsiders who come into conflict with Harley’s entrenched mindset both inside the company and among their legions of dedicated fans: by 1978, they’d sold off Aermacchi.
Over at eBay, you can read a bit more about Aermacchi’s history in the very detailed original listing: 1967 Aermacchi 350cc Racer for Sale
With so much intermingling of parts and specifications, a race bike is often made up of from the best components for the job. So it is with the unquestionably beautiful bike offered here. It consists of a 350cc dry clutch motor in a 1967 Sprint H style frame, an Ala Verde style peanut-shape tank, and a twin-leading shoe front brake. Built to race, the bike was then subject to a comprehensive and complete restoration and since has been meticulously stored and displayed in a prominent Southern California collection. With only shake down miles on the rebuild, the bike will need re-commissioning before returning to the track. I would suggest tires in that.
Although he never rode the bike, it was signed by Mert Lawwill’s, who saw it at a concours event and expressed his appreciation for the quality of the build. Beautiful as it unquestionably is, the bike is ready to start and run or to take pride of place as a museum exhibit, such is the quality of the restoration and build.
These make excellent vintage race bikes, with good parts availability and plenty of tunability. They may lack the manic excitement and outright performance of a two-stroke, but they’re much more durable, meaning less time wrenching and more time riding. So if you’re looking to dip your feet into the vintage racing scene, and a Honda CB is just too pedestrian, this might make a great choice: the Buy It Now price is $9,900 which, while far from cheap, represents a pretty good price, considering the preparation that’s gone into this bike.
This 1968 Aermacchi CRTT replica strikes me as having a very clean look with flowing lines. When the seller says that they had built this to go Land Speed Racing, it both surprised me and explained the slippery look. Built to emulate a road racer, but re-purposed to go as fast as possible on an expansive Salt Flat.
From the seller
This is an Aermacchi CRTT replica newly built from frame up by the legendary craftsman Tom Arnone, transformed from 1968 CRS #6062 to CRTT specifications. (Very few CRS’s were built, even fewer CRTT’s, and most of either model were reserved for factory teams or, in the US, professional racers.)
When I saw the listed location of the motorcycle, I was wondering how does a road racing bike end up in Montana. Then I see that a trip to Bonneville was in this bikes future, it made more sense. Throughout the US, Canada and the World, garages are filled with vehicles that will only ever race on salt, and no other track or drag strip will contain these Land Speed Racers.
More from the seller
The engine is a fresh Ron Lancaster built 250 short stroke, which has only been started, no miles. Carburetor is a Del’Orto SS1, 30mm. Engine covers are factory team issue magnesium. I do not have a “build sheet” on the engine but the purchaser (or prospective purchaser) can contact Lancaster for details, if needed.
Front and rear brakes are ex-factory team Oldanis, magnesium, with correct Borrani wheels, stainless steel spokes. I have been told that only 44 sets of these magnesium Oldanis were ever made, with 32 sets going to the original factory race team bikes. This front brake has been relined and set up by Vintage Brakes. Rear brake linings are new.
Aermacchi first offered the CRTT (Competition Road) in 1961 with a long (under square) stroke motor, with the stroke being longer then the diameter of the piston. This traditionally offered more torque, but fewer peak RPM’s. By the end of production in 1968 the engine became a short stroke, or over square. In 1965 I found that the 250cc engine produced 28hp at 9500 rpm, and at Daytona the CRTT would reach 107mph down the straight. Even though the altitude at Bonneville effects engine tune, with effort and the right gears, I wold imagine that the Daytona top speed could be beat.
In short, what we have here is a race-ready CRTT built from frame up without regard to cost, by an obsessive-compulsive, artistic Italian who is known for his motorcycle builds, and his custom racing bicycles….There has been, literally, no expense spared in building this motorcycle….This bike was being prepared to run at Bonneville in the BUB Trials but reality has interfered with that plan, so it’s reluctantly up for sale.
This 1968 Aermacchi CRTT replica was built to go really fast on the expansive Salt Flats of Bonneville. But it has the DNA of a Daytona road racing victor. Which ever way you go, you will not be shorted by this Italian single from a Milwaukee manufacture. BB
Would you like to jump into Harley Davidson road racing? Want to be able to race twice a weekend? One seller has two auctions which could put you on the starting grid in two different classes. This 1972 XRTT750, and this Italian import RR350. Two bikes that Harley Davidson used to pursue road racing trophies. One home grown, the other gained its orange and black stripes when Harley bought into the Italian company Aermacchi.
From the seller on his XRTT
This is a 1972 XRTT, there was only eleven of them made. The engine was completely redone Carl Patrick. Everything is new, blue printed and balanced and it has never been started.
The seller assumes that you know that the XR was the evolution of Harley’s KR racing bikes from the 1950’s. When Harley had sway with the AMA, they were able to have rules which would give HD flat head engines an advantage over the European OHV engines. But after 1969, those rules were changed, and Harley have to move their valves. The First XR engines had tried and true, but slow, cast iron cylinders and heads. The XR would change their ways and go on to use aluminum, and dominate flat track and dirt track racing in the US. This XRTT is essentially the same bike that would race the ovals, but adding a bigger front brakes, full fairing and duck bill rear section, it transformed into a road racer.
The second auction offered by the same seller is for a 350cc European sized road racer.
The seller describes the smaller imported Harley
This is one of the rarest Harley’s you will ever see. This is a 350 which is very rare, there are only two that exist in the U.S. This just had brakes redone, engine completely rebuilt. As you can see in the videos this has been dyno tuned.
Again the seller missed on telling you that Walter Villa won the 1976 350cc world Gran Prix Championship on a Harley-Davison RR350. With Harley buying controlling interest in Aermacchi in 1974, you could call the RR350 a turn key Harley road racer. They turned the keys on a Grand Prix champion. Not a bad investment, oh, wait, yes it was.
Ocationally we run across automatic collection for sale as a lot on Classic Sports Bikes For Sale. This is a case where the seller has put two great road racing bikes up in separate auction. This gives Italian bikes enthusiast that chance to buy European road racing winners, while not having to compete again American Iron road racing enthusiast. Which are you, RR350, or XRTT750? BB
Looking to get into vintage racing, but don’t want to rescue some barn-find wreck? This very nice Aermacchi might fit the bill. Or you can just park it up in your living room and admire it.
By the early 1960’s Harley Davidson bought a stake in the Italian manufacturer of small-displacement road and race machines. They were looking to expand their model range to include something small and light, with European flair, and Aermacchi’s simple, reliable singles seemed a good fit. But then, as now, the Harley faithful didn’t really take to the idea of something that was actually sportier than a Sportster, and the relationship didn’t really end well…
While outclassed at the time by the escalating small-displacement power wars going on in the late 1960’s, the durable 350 was popular among racers then, and remains so today. This particular bike is extremely nice, and the photos, taken in bright sunlight show it off well.
From the original eBay listing: 1967 Aermacchi 350 Road Racer for Sale
For Collector or Racer. The motor on this 1967 Aermacchi 350 Road Racer has been rebuilt by Aermacchi specialist Feruccio (Frank) Giannini of Giannini Racing (check his web site). Fitted PVL electronic self-generating ignition. Dry clutch, 11:5 TI piston, and high torque cam. Race or show, these road racers still can be found in the winner’s circle. Sold with a Bill of Sale. the stand comes with it.
This motorcycle was recently purchased at Mecum Las Vegas Auction January/2014, but my racing days are over. You can find it in on their web site, lot 328.
I have used Uship or Haulbikes for shipping. Shipping is buyer’s responsibility, buyer pays all shipping. Must be picked up at my home in San Marcos CA
This one might need a bit of fettling, since it looks like it’s been more show than go for a while, but it sounds like the important prep work has been done here: just blow out the cobwebs and go. If you aren’t the fastest bike on the track, you’ll surely be on one of the sharpest-looking bikes: I love that dry clutch peeking out through the slotted cover!
If you’re thinking about going racing and don’t fancy trying to compete with a bunch of don’t-believe-they-can-die 19 year olds on shrieking, 180hp literbikes, this might be a great, hands-on way to get into competition with something you can easily wrench on yourself. Parts and advice should be readily available, as there is a strong internet community that revolves around these. Remember: it’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow!
I’d just fit one of those Vegia white-faced tachs I love so much and try not to think about how goofy my 6’2” frame might look hanging off this at speed…
A full fairing, rear sets, and a racing number are all we need in life. This 1967 Harley-Davidson Sprint replica has all of those, so we are happy, more so because they added a license plate and headlight.
From the seller
Full fiberglass fairing, gas tank and seat. Tank has been sealed with Caswell’s tank sealer. Neverthesless I typically use only non-ethanol fuel with this bike. She is also fitted with clip-on bars and adjustable rear sets. The bike is light weight and handles like a dream.
The bike is track ready and safety wired, yet it is also street legal and has a clear California title plus current registration. The headlight is in the nose of the fairing and there is a side mount tail light/license plate bracket behind the right rear shock. The electrical system is OEM with a new voltage regulator and new battery. Wheels are shouldered Excel alloy rims with stainless spokes. The front brake is a dual leading shoe unit from a 1973 Sprint that stops like a disc with one finger operation. New rear shocks and a gold race chain.
The motor is a 1968 250cc short stroke with around 180 miles on it. It was built with a new top end, piston, valves and guides. Engine work was done by Don Thut, master technician who worked on the Bonneville speed record bikes for Glendale Harley Davidson.
This 1967 Harley-Davidson Sprint is dressed up like a CRTT, with the TT being Time Trial. National championships were fought over short tracks, long short tracks, and road courses. For a couple of weekends a year, you would put a full fairing on your bike and make both left and right turns. You can take this one home and during the week, ride it on the street, and on the weekend take it to the Track. I call that a dual sport. BB
The old chestnut is that “history repeats itself” and in Harley Davidson’s case, it’s certainly true: in recent years, Harley bought boutique motorcycle manufacturer Buell and, after a few years of struggling with that unlikely union, dissolved the brand. What should have been a way for Harley to produce modern, sporting motorcycles was instead seen by “The Faithful” and Harley’s network of dealers as their “red-headed step child” and was shunned. Which is a real shame, since Erik Buell is a maverick in the truest sense of the word, something Harley claims as part of their image.
Back in 1960, an eerily similar situation was unfolding. After the Second World War, Italian seaplane manufacturer Aeronautica Macchi began manufacturing motorcycles to meet the needs of a population hungry for inexpensive transportation. Harley saw the brand as a way to quickly gain access to lightweight, sporting motorcycles they could sell to Americans, and purchased a 50% stake in the company’s motorcycle manufacturing operation. In the mid-70’s, Harley purchased the remaining shares and held on to Aermacchi until they sold it in 1978.
After building, racing, and winning six national championships on 350cc Aermacchis, scoring victories with every vintage club in America and Canada, Giannini Racing is offering this race ready example for sale.
Built from the frame up with all new parts, this classic vintage Aermacchi road racer represents some of the finest workmanship in the country.
Paint and unnecessary parts stripped, lightened, reinforcement and modification welding, fitted with new bushings and tapered steering head bearings, painted with black epoxy enamel.
Internals completely rebuilt with new bearings on the crank, connecting rod, transmission, and camshaft.
New Aries high compression racing piston has been fitted into a re-bored cylinder and fitted with racing rings. Racing cam with longer duration and higher lift, working with lighter lifters and reground valves and seats fitted with R&D valve springs.|
New dry clutch drives a 4-speed transmission with new sprockets and a 530 special Regina racing chain.
A Dellorto vintage square slide carburetor with air stack and factory manifold has been fitted to a matched, ported head with a new cable and Domino twist throttle controlling the fuel delivery.
A specially fitted PVL, variable advance, self generating ignition supplies the spark with a kill switch mounted to the clip on handlebars.
Although these vibey little four-stroke singles aren’t the most refined machines, and lost out in terms of performance to two-stroke competition at the time, they’re stone-axe simple, well-built, and parts for them are readily available.
If you’re looking to get into vintage racing, this could be your ride: it’s ready to go, just add some vintage dinosaur juice. But move quickly: there’s not much time left on this auction!
When ever The Motor Company heads over to Italy, you know two things are going to happen. Harley-Davidson is going to spend a lot of money, and Harley-Davidson will leave Italy with twice as little as they went over with. In recent history the brand from Milwaukee went to MV Agusta, then left. When this 1961 Aermacchi single rolled of the production line, the men in Wisconsin rolled them into showrooms next to the latest Shovelheads. The question is will Harley head to Italy in another 30 years, or have they learned their lesson.
A list from the seller
1961 AERMACCHI 250 CC CUSTOM CAFE RACER STYLE MOTORCYCLE
12 VOLT CHARGING SYSTEM
ENGINE COMPLETELY REBUILT
CUSTOM MADE TANK WITH FUEL GAUGE
CERLANI FRONT SUSPENSION
WORKS PROGRESSIVE REAR SHOCK SUSPENSION
FRONT GRIMECA 190MM FOUR LEADING BRAKE SHOES
ALA ALURRA REINFORCED FRAME
CUSTOM STAINLESS STEEL EXHAUST SYSTEM
ACKRON ALLOY WHEELS WITH STAINLESS STEEL SPOKES
FRONT TIRE PIRELLI MT25 90/90-18MC
REARTIREPIRELLICITY DEMON 3.25-18 MC-52S
Aermacchi started in the world by building air planes, but because of the lack of transportation after the world wars, started making small engines for small motorcycles. By 1960 when Harley Davison walked into the offices of Aeronautica Macchi and bought a 50% stake in the company, this 1961 was what landed up in the same showroom as the other Motor Company Mounts.
Most people do not think of Harley-Davison when they think of small Italian Café racers. But from 1961 until AMF-Harley sold its interest in 1978, you could see 250cc single sitting next to a 74ci potato saying V-Twin. But luckily for those fans of Italy, this 1961 Aermacchi came to these shores. BB
I have been infatuated with 1960’s Italian Motorcycles lately. I really think that era of motorcycles had some of the best styling. That’s part of the reason I’m posting this Aermacchi today. The other reason is it’s a great example of an unrestored classic bike.
1968 Harley Sprint / Aermacchi 250cc This is a great running and looking ORIGiNAL PAINT unrestored bike. These are very popular for the moto giro events. Currently has cafe bars but I will include an NOS set of original handlebars. The bike does have a nice patina and elegantly shows its age. New tires last year with almost zero wear on them and new gel battery this year. This bike is ready to ride and fun to ride. I just have too many bikes and need to thin them out. Also have a 68 Sprint flat tracker that has been beautifully restored that will be listed soon. Will accept personal check that must clear prior to shipping. No warranty. This bike is also for sale locally and the auction maybe ended at anytime. I do have a current NH title. The horn is a reproduction and I do have the original rear carrier / rack.
A great bike for going to a vintage bike get together or to hang out with the hipster cafe racers.
If you were to ask a Aermacchi factory employee what they did there the answer would have seemed a little puzzling until you saw one of these Harley Davidson Branded Italian Motorcycles. What seems even stranger is that a bowling ball manufacturer would buy a motorcycle manufacturer and then hire an airplane manufacturer to build motorcycles. I know I know, that’s not exactly how it happened but it did happen. I’ve had my one these since I first laid eyes on one. These bike aren’t exactly fast and the relationship between HD and Aermacchi didn’t last long. To my eye though the classic Italian design combined with the color schemes of 70’s HD’s always create an undeniable beauty. This one with it’s classic black, AMF logo, red,white and blue stripes really captures the era. The seller is straight the point with shipping offered to the lower 48 states at a reasonable cost. Here it is in his words.
1973 Sprint 350 with 10,328 original miles. This bike looks and runs great. It has both an electric and kick starter. It has a five speed left side shift. There are no dents or dings in the frame, tank and fenders. There is a slight tear, just under an inch long on the left side of the seat, which can be seen in the photos. It has a new battery and starts right away and runs strong.
This beautiful Sprint is all original except the handlebars. However, the original bars and front turn signals are included, along with the original tool kit and owners manual.
The lights, brake lights, horn, turn signals all work. The instrument light bulbs need to be replaced. Always garaged, covered, never dropped or ridden in the rain. It has a clear and current California registration and I have the title in hand.
I’m happy to recommend a door-to-door shipping service to almost anywhere in the lower 48 states for $663 or less. A PayPal deposit of $500 is due within 24 hours of auction’s end. The balance to be paid via check, cash or wire transfer within seven working days of auction’s end.
The 350 cc Sprint has to be one of the best options if you’re looking for one of these. I think these are a perfect around town bike. Just a clean little slice of American, Italian, Motorcycle, bowling ball and Airplane history. The doesn’t have superior speed or collect-ability but it does carry a very unique design. Sometimes that’s good enough to make the decision tot take ownership. Some things to point out though. This bike has electric start and is all original except the bars. If you want a Aermacchi sprint I’ve read that this is the best one to get.
What do you get when you combine the style of Italy, a manufacture in Wisconsin, the money from bowling alleys and a little smoke? You get a 1975 AMF Harley Davidson Aermacci RR250 two stroke. A World Champion motorcycle that dominated for 3 years and then disappeared. The seller says that it is museum quality, and offers a bill of sale from The Chandler Museum, so you get a good idea what the bike has been doing for the last few years.
From the seller
This is one of the only Road Race bike’s that Harley Davidson Won A World Championship with, they dominated until the Japanese caught up on the design, anyone looking knows the history, the bike has compression and spark, compliance fittings are dry rotted as is the tach mount(just a large o ring), does have tech stickers, not sure who raced it but it was raced, comes with the Bill Of Sale From the Chandler Museum, and a title. The front brake calipers are; Motor -Scrab-Mozzi
Walter Villa was the Harley Davidson factory rider who took the RR250 to three consecutive World Titles in 1974, 1975, and 1976, and a 350cc Title in 1976 as well. The first Title coincide with the first year that the RR got its water jackets. First put to work in 1971 the RR250 and its brother the RR350, were Works racers only, no companion bikes offered to the public. The first air cooled short stroke 250’s produced 50hp at 10,000rpm. The engine and transmission design was unique in that you could quickly disconnect the engine, and simply plug in another 250cc unit, or the 350cc unit.
In 1974 Aermacci added the water jacket and the power jumped to 58hp at 12,000rpm. This combined with a light 230lbs was a factor in Walter Villa’s victory. While looking into the RR, I found an interesting way to stop the bike. Unlike this RR250 offered up on eBay, the factory bikes had an internal disk wheel by Campagnolo. Only being able to look from the outside, I am still trying to figure out how this might work.
By 1975 Harley started to offer the RR to privateers, but had poor technical support, and a poor parts supply. It was about this time the Aermacci and Harley started a 500cc two stroke project. The plug was pulled by AMF, the money at Harley during this time, because road racing was not necessary to win AMA National Championship in the US. There was no incentive to put money into a discipline that would not generate money in the showroom.
With the emergence of the Japanese in the two stroke power struggle, and the cash conscious managers at Harley Davidson, this RR250 offered up on eBay is a window into The Motor Company history. With the purchase of Aermacci, the experiment that was Italian bikes in the land of Hogs, this 2-stroke smoke generator did not last long. But while it was on the track, 3 World Titles are not a bad resume. If you are looking for a Vintage racer, you will not find many like this. That is if you see any. BB