Tagged: aermacchi

Little Hog: 1967 Harley Davidson Aermacchi 250 Sprint

1967 Harley Davidson Sprint 250 L Front

I normally don’t post too many Harleys on the site, simply because not many fit within our mission statement, aside from the odd XRTT that shows up for sale. But this little 250 Sprint looks very nice and fits the bill.

1967 Harley Davidson Sprint 250 R Side Rear

When Harley decided they needed a range of smaller displacement bikes to supplement their existing models, it made sense to go to an outside company, rather than try to reinvent the wheel and, by the early 1960’s, they owned a stake in Aermacchi, an Italian builder of small-displacement motorcycles. In the end, the relationship did not work out, as Harley fans never really embraced the little Italian singles: shades of their relationship with MV Agusta. Harley had the savvy to buy a really interesting asset, but lacked the vision to make the relationship work.

1967 Harley Davidson Sprint 250 Cockpit

The Harley Davidson-branded Aermacchi was powered by a 246cc OHV single that produced just 21hp and could push the little bike to a top speed of 76mph. Wet weight was just 270lbs, with good brakes and excellent handling. This was obviously a bit of a joke to the lumbering, muscular behemoths favored by Harley, but many can still be found circling racetracks at vintage events.

1967 Harley Davidson Sprint 250 Engine Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1967 Harley Davidson Aermacchi 250 Sprint TV replica for Sale

All the sheet metal is straight and dent free from a European only TV model found in Italy and mounted on a stock US model 67 H with a few changes outlined here.. The front fork is pre 67 to mount the very rare Ala Verde Road race style front fender.  The handlebars use the early solid mount triple clamp instead of the wobbly rubber mount and the handlebar is the 61/63 low rise European spec bar with attached lever perch’s. Handlebar clamps are first year super rare 61 sprint only aluminum cast and polished type. Exhaust header and muffler are NOS and Saddle is perfect with no defects. Chrome is very nice with some oxidation spots on rear rim and handlebar.

Rims are original Radaelli with painted spokes in very nice shape with vintage Pirelli tires, rideable but not suggested for spirited cornering. Front brake is more powerful later double actuated type. All wiring is stock and unmodified and all electrical is functional. Paint on tank is scratched here and there as it is I believe original as found used from Italy with factory paint . The rest of the paint is matched but the tank is more orange. Toolbox’s are perfect with no battery box rot. Battery is NOS Safa just activated. Overall looks great. The frame paint is very nice factory original. Bike starts on one or two kicks and shifts and stops perfectly. On startup after sitting some time you will likely see a puff of smoke and this is common with the horizontal cylinder configuration and clears up right away. Motor is unmodified. Carburetor filter assembly will tuck vertically into tank pocket but I believe it breaths better and looks cooler as seen. Also includes very rare center stand and retains the original side stand as well.

1967 Harley Davidson Sprint 250 Rear Suspension

In Italy, bikes in this class were built as durable transportation, but here in the US they were used as beaters or starter bikes and often discarded. They’re worth resurrecting: like old air-cooled VW’s, Aermacchis are durable and infinitely rebuildable, but require regular maintenance. Mechanically simple and honest, easy to work on, they make ideal starter classics. With a Buy It Now price of almost $6,000, this is a pricey example, but would make a great introduction to vintage biking for a young person or someone of smaller stature.


1967 Harley Davidson Sprint 250 R Side

Flying the Flag, Sort Of: 1967 Harley-Davidson 350cc Racer for Sale

1967 Aermacchi 350 Race Bike L Front

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.

1967 Aermacchi 350 Race Bike R Rear

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.

1967 Aermacchi 350 Race Bike R Cockpit

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.

 1967 Aermacchi 350 Race Bike Numberplate

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.


1967 Aermacchi 350 Race Bike L Side

Rebadged Racer: 1975 Harley Davidson RR250

1975 Harley Davidson RR250 r side front

When is a Harley not a Harley? When it’s an Aermacchi, like this RR250. At different times during its history, American manufacturer Harley Davidson seemed to recall the perceived benefits of “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” and attempted to rectify a lack of road-racing product by absorbing an outside manufacturer, using the truckloads of cash generated selling leather chaps and vests and protective bandanas.

While they’ve been active and successful in dirt-track racing, they’ve only rarely been competitive in road racing, and a purchase of Aermacchi in the 1960’s attempted to fill that role. Most Aermacchi Harleys you’re likely to come across were Sprints, bikes that handled well and were powered by their outdated, but extremely reliable four-stroke singles, distinctively laid-over for a low center of gravity. But the writing was on the wall and, by the late 1960’s, it was clear that anyone who wanted to compete in smaller classes needed a two-stroke if they wanted to compete in smaller categories of racing or on the street.

1975 Harley Davidson RR250 dash

In 1973, Aermacchi’s two-stroke twins were also rebadged as Harleys and the bikes won three 250cc championships in a row. Variations were raced as late as 1978. Aermacchi’s original two-stroke was based on a pair of dirt bike engines, siamesed together. It shared many internal parts with the Yamaha single on which it was based, keeping running costs for the high-performance machine under control. The bike was lighter than the Yamaha TZ available at the time, and proved to be very competitive.

Water-cooling was added for 1973 and power jumped from about 50hp to 58hp, and the Harley-badged bikes won three 250cc championships in a row.

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Harley Davidson RR250 Daytona Road Race Bike

Motor turns nicely. Overall bike shows little use.
2-stroke water cooled 2 cylinder
No race damage, excellent over all condition
Race #53 raced at Daytona in 1970s, some history.
Has not been run since 1970s.
Dealer owned since new

There are five days left on this auction with a starting bid of $30,000 and no takers so far. The Buy It Now is listed as $35,000 so it’s pretty clear what the seller believes this is worth. It’s unrestored and a bit rough around the edges, but that’s the nature of true racing machines: ten-foot paint jobs and scuffed paint are the norm when the goal is speed.

A cool bike from another, slightly forgotten period of Harley’s racing history. I still hold out hope that they’ll shock me speechless and actually “build” something like this again. Plenty of custom shops are assembling Harley café racers and sporty retros are all the rage. I can’t imagine that a stylish, agile bike based on their new 750 wouldn’t find buyers.


1975 Harley Davidson RR250 L side

1967 Aermacchi 350 Road Racer for Sale

1967 Aermacchi 350 Road Racer R Front

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.

1967 Aermacchi 350 Road Racer Engine2

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…

1967 Aermacchi 350 Road Racer Dash

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

1967 Aermacchi 350 Road Racer Front Brake

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!

1967 Aermacchi 350 Road Racer Right Rear

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…


1967 Aermacchi 350 Road Racer L Front

1968 Aermacchi / Harley Davidson 350cc Sprint Racer

1968 Aermacchi 350 Sprint L Side

Watching riders hang off vintage race bikes like this 1968 Aermacchi/Harley Davidson 350 Sprint is inspiring, and has me dreaming of something like this. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Aermacchi and how they ended up being associated with Harley Davidson, here’s a little recap.

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.

1968 Aermacchi 350 Sprint L Side Engine

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.

1968 Aermacchi 350 Sprint R Side Engine

The seller helpfully describes the build of this track bike in detail. From the original eBay listing: 1968 Aermacchi/Harley Davidson 350cc Sprint Racer for Sale

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!


1968 Aermacchi 350 Sprint R Side

1968 Harley-Davidson Ala Verde

Always looking out for a small, red, sporting Italian single, this Aermacchi offered on eBay caught my eye. What is different from previous small, red, sporting Italian singles we have highlighted here on CSBFS, is that this Italian was made by Harley-Davidson.

After WWII small displacement bikes became popular with returning vets and their growing family. With reparations, or war booty, Harley was able to offer small 2-stoke bikes developed in Germany in the 1930’s and handed over to Harley after the war. By 1960 Harley decided that a 50% stake in an Italian Company named Aermacchi could fill dealerships with single cylinder bikes to take advantage of a need. But dealers had to start stocking a whole new parts catalog and its mechanics had to buy a strange tool, something called Metric. By 1978 the experiment was over and Harley sold Aermacchi to some guys named Castiglioni, who went on to also buy a company name Ducati.

From the seller

            Aermacchi Harley-Davidson is practically new with only 2 miles. This Ala Verde has been restored and was kept on display (inside) the owner’s shop in San Jose,CA This unique motorcycle was sold in limited numbers and it’s rarity is appreciated by collectors of Italian motorcycles. Harley-Davidson began to market the Ala Verde to satisfy the American customer demands of smaller motorcycles featuring a sporty race inspired gas tank, clip on handlebars and a small pexi-glass fly screen

It looks like the Ala Verde, which means “Green Wing”, was offered in two series. First offered from 1959-1967 with a 4 speed, and then again from 1970-1972 with a 5 speed. With the quirk of US titling, this bike is likly a 1967 that was not sold until 1968. The 246cc would give you 19hp and be able to fly you about at 87mph. Can you imagine walking into a Harley dealership and saying “I will take that Electa Glide, and throw that little bike in the saddle bags.”

Today there are many of thes Italian Harley’s being used for what the Italians intended; going fast, as fast as they can. BB

1966 Harley-Davidson replica racer for sale in Marina, CA

1966 Harley Davidson Sprint race replica for sale – mint!

When you mention Harley these days, no doubt most people will immediately think of their line of land yachts cruiser and choppers.  However, did you know that in 1961 Harley purchased Italian motorcycle manufacturer Aermacchi to produce small capacity bikes for the US market?  Not only that, but HD/Aermacchi made some amazing race bikes?  Well, here’s one of them: :


The seller also has several nice classic bikes for sale, but I just wish that he would stop using all caps and use the correct punctuations! Whining aside, I’ve always wanted one of these small capacity HD/Aermacchis – just so that I can show up at the local HD ride out and let them know that HDs hasn’t always been about riding two-wheeled boat anchors cruisers / choppers while dressed up as Jack Sparrow.