Category: Parilla

Little Jewel: 1956 Parilla 175 Turismo Veloce for Sale

1957 Parilla 175 Tourismo R Front

Today’s machine is a very pretty little four-stroke single Parilla 175 Tourismo Veloce. Founded by Giovanni Parrilla With Two R’s in 1946 and built in his Milan workshop that specialized in diesel and injector pump repair, Parilla was a dominant force in small-displacement racing and built well-regarded road bikes until the onslaught of fast, cheap two-stroke motorcycles from Japan hit the market.

1957 Parilla 175 Tourismo L Engine

Many Parillas featured the distinctive “high-cam” engine that used short pushrods to actuate the valves actuated by a chain-driven cam just beneath the head. This kept the valvegear light for performance at higher revs and meant that the head could be removed easily without disturbing the timing. You can easily see the little rubber boots that cover the pushrods on the left-hand side of the engine. 175cc’s was as big as Parillas generally got, although the USA did naturally see a bigger 250cc version.

1957 Parilla 175 Tourismo R Tank

This example has shiny new paint and slightly more patina-d brightwork and metal, although it is overall a very elegant machine. Virtually impossible to find here in the US, this will be a labor of love, as you’ll likely spend a lot of time using GoogleTranslate to order parts from Italy…

1957 Parilla 175 Tourismo Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1956 Parilla 175 Turismo Veloce for Sale

Here for sale a very rare Parilla 175 TV Export high cams

The bike was been restored 5 years ago from the owner’s nephew. 

The bike is in very good conditions, and run very smooth.

Italian papers ready for export

1957 Parilla 175 Tourismo R Engine

Bidding is up to $7,900 at the time of writing and please note that the bike is in Italy. If you plan to run this bike on the road or in Moto Giro events, be sure to check with your local laws before your itchy mouse-finger clicks on that bright, blue “Place bid” button…


1957 Parilla 175 Tourismo L Front

1956 Parilla Lusso Veloce

$_57 (2)

Tad had highlighted another Parilla race bike early, so when I saw this Parilla, I had to take a look. And it looks really nice, but something is missing. No cables? Then I see the head on the description of this 1956 Parilla Lusso Veloce:

$_57 (1)

From the seller

***********************Please note this a PROJECT BIKE*********************************

1956 PARILLA Lusso Veloce 175cc

Most all parts are there, above average sheet metal

Engine turns over, but needs full rebuild.

Have some engine parts, spare cylinder, head and more….

These will be included if buy it now price is reached…………….

Full payment within 14 days of auction end.

BUYER responsible for pickup/shipping arrangements.

I can store the bike for 30 days if need be

Bike has clear title.


The picture sequence of the auction is a little confusing, and any buyer might want to send a question. Is the engine pictured in the frame the same engine that is in pieces on the work bench? When the seller says the engine turns over, do they mean the crank in the case? Is that the before picture and in the frame the after picture?

$_57 (5)

Looking around a little it appears Parilla was a manufacture that had specialized in 2-stoke engines before the Lusso Veloce. They had developed the engine to fill the gap between their offerings to the public and the engines that the company went racing with. The 175cc engine was tuned for both touring and sport models, with the Lusso Veloce offered as the sport, and the Parilla Fox as the touring model.

$_57 (4)

Baseball card number for the 175cc engine: 18hp at 8800 rpm fed by a 25mm SS1 Dellorto giving you 77mpg (touring model?) and a top speed of 86mph. Not bad for 175cc. The Parilla high cam design gave the advantage of short push-rods, allowing you to wind the engine up. Parilla used the design in 175cc, 200cc and the big 250cc Grand Sport. They also offered the North Americans an off road capable Wildcat.

$_57 (3)

The seller says that all the parts are mostly there. But as with any vintage bike, finding those missing pieces might take time, effort and money to locate. That is the fun of owning something different. This 1956 Parilla Lusso Veloce is something different, and if you want to study Italian, nothing like searching for Italian parts to complete this project. BB

$_57 (6)

Vintage Racer:1960 Moto Parilla 250 for Sale

1960 Moto Parilla 250 L Front

From one of our readers comes this very nice racebike, a 1960 Parilla 250 that’s also posted up on Orange County’s Craigslist. There isn’t much information in the listing, but there are some good photos that should give a good idea of what you’re in for.

I’m not a Parilla expert, but this looks like this one’s powered by their “high-cam” 250 that made approximately 26hp and was built for the US. Most countries settled for 175 or 200cc models, but here in the land of “bigger-is-better”, we got an extra large 250cc helping, which came with a side of fries and a large soda.

1960 Moto Parilla 250 R Front

Although it looks like an overhead-cam engine at a glance, it’s not: the chain-driven cam operates the valves via short pushrods you can see on the left side of the engine, where they’re protected by corrugated rubber boots. This configuration allowed the little pushrod motor to rev pretty high and made maintenance easier, since the head could be removed without disturbing the ignition timing.

1960 Moto Parilla 250 L High

Giovanni Parrilla [yes, there is a second “r” in his name] reportedly started the company on a bet, sitting around with his pals complaining about the current state of the Italian racing machinery, “Oh, so you think you could do better?” And he did. After studying the Norton Manx, he built his own single in 1946 and was very successful in racing until Japanese two-strokes dominated the class in the 1960’s, although the company sold bikes in the US as late as 1967.

1960 Moto Parilla 250 L Side

These are pretty rare in the US, and are very collectible. This one appears to be in excellent shape and it looks like a runner, but a bit of history would be helpful. Parts can be scarce for these, but the community surrounding Parilla is close-knit and should be able to help.


1960 Moto Parilla 250 R Rear


1962 Moto Parilla 250 Grand Sport for Sale

1962 Moto Parilla 250 GS L Side

This is the first Moto Parilla I’ve seen come up for sale. Considering how often I see the name bounced around the classic bike community, I was surprised at how few of them were actually made. Giovanni Parrilla [note the second “r” in his name compared to the bike] first displayed his single cylinder creation in 1946, and his small displacement machines found success on both road and track until the rise of the Japanese two-strokes made Parilla’s jewel-like singles obsolete.

1962 Moto Parilla 250 GS Engine Detail

The Grand Sport featured here was powered by Parilla’s “high-cam” engine. Valves were actuated by short pushrods enclosed in rubber boots [see above photo] and a cam set high in the block, and this allowed relatively high revs for a pushrod engine. It also allowed the head to be removed without disturbing the ignition timing. Most countries were happy with the 175cc version but, as always, Americans clamored for more power, so the engine was enlarged to 250cc’s.

1962 Moto Parilla 250 GS R Bar

From the original eBay listing: 1962 Moto Parilla Grand Sport for Sale

From the vintage Italian motorcyle museum of Mr. Guy Webster. This bike is in beautiful museum display condition. It has not been started in years but the motor was rebuilt about 15 years ago when the bike was restored. Despite being restored much of the bike is original unrestored as the bike was already in excellent condition. The motor turns freely and with good compression. 

This bike was one of the key exhibits in the “Art of the Motorcycle” Guggenheim exhibit as can be documented in the photo of the display card. This display document will also go with the bike upon it sale. 

1962 Moto Parilla 250 GS Rear Suspension

That the bike has been beautifully restored, was owned by Guy Webster, and was the exact bike shown the famous Art of the Motorcycle exhibit all count in the “plus” column, although the fact that it is really in display-only condition for me personally counts in the “minus” column. But given this bike’s distinctive looks and history, this would make an excellent addition to the collection of anyone fascinated by small-displacement sports machines.


1962 Moto Parilla 250 GS R Front



1958 Parilla 250 Grand Sport

Giovanni Parrilla decided that Italy needed and Italian designed over head cam engine to race in the country’s many racing events. He was a great fan of what Norton had done with their 500cc OHC engines and decided that this design would be great. By 1947 he had a very capable engine in a fully looped frame and was doing quit well in Italian races. By the 1960’s Parilla was the racing motorcycle to have in Italy, and because of Cosmo Motors in Pennsylvania, US riders could get a single like this 1958 Parilla 250 Grand Sport  for themselves.

From the seller



By 1952 there had been and engine re-design at Parilla and the expensive to make and maintain Over Head Cam had to be moved, but not that far. The High Cam engine in this Grand Sport tried to get the best of both worlds by moving the cam from the cylinder head to the engine case. For a small engine, the higher the engine can rev, the more power you will be able to produce. To make reliable power, the valve train has to be stout, and to keep the valve push rods short, the cam was kept high in the engine case creating a very solid valve train.

There was a lot of small displacement racing in the 1950’s and 1960’s and the Parilla Grand Sport was apparently a popular weapon. They were over the counter racers that had great potential. 26hp would get the rider near 100mph in stock form, and from the factory the engine was fed by the race proven Dell’orto SS1, and tires were mounted on light alloy rims. Remove the lights, and maybe order some performance parts over the counter, and the Grand Sport was a great weekend weapon.

As we have seen with a lot of these small Italian motorcycles, someone has stepped up and taken the time, effort and money to restore them to their original state. But many end up as static displays. I do agree that they are aesthetically appealing, and with their small size look great inside next to other art hanging on the walls. The seller claims to be museum ready and I hope that it is as ready for the road course as well. BB

New York Vintage Motorcycle Show

As an inveterate car and bike geek, maybe the single most difficult thing for me when I moved from Los Angeles to the East Coast was getting used to the lack of easy-access to weird and wonderful car-culture.  I mean, it’s here, but you have to work way harder to find it.

On any weekend in LA, you can drive around and see 1960’s Ferraris parallel-parked with the meter running down in Hollywood, Porsche Carrera GT’s slipping like beads of mercury along the Pacific Coast Highway, Vincent Black Knights and Bimota V-Due’s ticking as they cool at the Rock Store next to a race-prepped 1961 SWB Ferrari 250 that’s been relegated to parking in the dirt.  If you don’t see anything worth seeing on the road, you can just swing by The Garage Company, with its showroom full of well-used classics and a back lot full of works-in-progress, the walls covered with shelves and glass cases full of random bike parts, vintage helmets and racing posters.

The Wednesday-night Ducati bike night in Venice was full of characters of all ages and styles.  They had diverse backgrounds and jobs, strafed the canyons on weekends, and loved to talk about their bikes: modding bikes, riding bikes, bench-racing…  We had a couple of 916 Superbikes, Monsters of all years, the occasional Aprilia RSV, a Kawasaki Z1000 (later traded for a Speed Triple), an old 860GT painted all tricolore-y, and a 1980’s Honda Magna ridden by a guy whose Monster 800 was waiting for a new crank.

I went to a few bike nights in Central Jersey when I got back to the East Coast, looking for the same sort of vibe, the same sort of enthusiasm, a sense of history, but was sorely disappointed. While burnouts, wheelies, neon lighting kits, and chrome spikes screwed into perfectly nice sportbike fairings are amusing distractions, that sort of laughing-at-you thing gets old pretty fast.  And dangerous.

I filed conversations like, “We just got back from a group ride for my buddy’s funeral.  Good guy, but maybe he shouldn’ta run from the cops on that stolen R1.” And, “Yeah, the cops threw down a spike-strip, but I wheelied over it” away for later retelling to my friends.  I worked with a guy who rode his nearly brakeless, battered Yamaha R6 in flip-flops, claiming that wearing protective gear made you more likely to crash: “If you think you might crash, you will crash,” sort of an inversion of my “hope for the best, plan for the worst” philosophy.  I met a bunch of nice guys at those bike-nights, but none I wanted to ride with.

Then I nearly got clipped by some TapOut tank-top, shorts, and cross-trainer wearing jackass blasting through the parking lot and I started thinking, “Maybe this isn’t my scene.”

Which was followed quickly by, “Where hell is my scene, anyway?”

Brooklyn, it turns out.

I managed to trip over a flyer for the New York Vintage Motorcycle Show at the end of the first summer I moved east and have made it a point to show up every year since.  It reminds me that there are people who ride that don’t worship the latest and greatest plastic-bodied road missiles or the most globe-trottingist techno-tourers or pointless, chrome-encrusted cruisers, people who ride even though they don’t have a ton of money and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, rewiring a rattle-can 1970’s Honda twin in the street with a grungy printout of a Haynes Manual they found on the internet.

The photos below don’t include year and model information, since I generally didn’t make good notes.  Or any notes.  Most of the images are from this year, but I threw in a couple from last year as well.

Really nice Yamaha ‘tracker and a Honda CB350 racebike.







Salty old guy on a BMW and a very unconventional two-stroke mongrel that featured on some cafe TV show or other…







Below, we’ve got the world’s least comfortable BMW (yeah, he really rides it like that) and a Yamaha bobber.











Suzuki RG500 two-stroke and a Triumph chopper.







BMW racing sidecar rig and a trio of small-displacement Italians.







A cafe Honda with a very polished tank and a gorgeous custom Triumph chopper.













Vincent twin and a vintage beer-cozy.







Another Triumph and a very cool, very loud Yamaha one-lunger cafe.







Very nice Enfield Bullet and an MV Agusta single.











Nice, clean bobber and a couple guys looking at a very home-brewed cafe.











They run this thing rain or shine in late August: it poured last year, but the turnout wasn’t much different than the previous year.  It happens at the end of August and I recommend it: the vibe is casual and run-what-you-brung.  There’s music, performance art, beer, and a roast pig.  Moto-gear and tchotchke vendors.  Lots of tattoos, skinny jeans, and hipster Grizzly Adams beards.  Gorgeous restorations, ratbikes, and well-used classics ridden in from New York, Pennsylvania, Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

If you’re within two hundred miles of Brooklyn, you should put it in your schedule for next year.


1957 Parilla Grand Sport

When researching a lot of the Classic European Sports Bikes that end up on the shores of The United States, one truth keeps showing up. That truth is that large US importers were the ones who directed the European manufactures on the bikes that they would develop and put into production. This High Cam Parilla Grand Sport is another such “request”.

Parilla was a small Italian company who’s founder,Giovanni Parrilla,  was inspired by the dominant Norton Manx and purchased one to study. A short time later he went racing with his own design. Through the late ’40 and early ’50s Parrilla’s design evolved into High Cam engine. First introduced in 1953 the High Cam started out with about 22hp and would be continually developed until Parilla closed their doors in 1963.

From the Seller

1957 Parilla 175 Grand Sport. This was the ultimate race bike of its’ day. 175cc High Cam Engine with Gear Driven Cams, High Revving and High Compression. This extremely rare motorcycle is completely restored as a race bike. It has no miles on it since its’ complete restoration. It has all of its’ original parts and has matching numbers on the engine and frame, making it very rare. It also has a title from California and could be easily retitled in any state. The price is $12,500.

Cosmo appears to have been the number one importer for Parilla and appears to have also supported many racers. They had requested a larger displacement bike, and in turn Parilla add 25cc to the first Grand Sports and increased output to 26hp and a top speed of 100mph.  This example also has the high cam driven by gears, and improvement over the original chain. Cosmo  offered an Alloy barrels that would allow you to punch the engine out to 250cc.

When ever I dream about owning a Classic Bike that seems to be rarer then you standard Classic I always wonder what kind of parts hell I could be entering. Doing a quick search on eBay, I found this engine case and crank with a starting bid at $900+. Compared to the $200 you can find Triumph cases for or $600  for a /2 BMW, I can see that that owning this bike would be enjoyable, but expensive.