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.
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.
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.
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.