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.