1957 Moto Islo 175cc "Carrera"
Mexico isn't known for its motorcycles but that isn't because Mr. Isidoro Lopez wasn't trying. Enamored with Italian designs, he sourced various components from Italy and had them assembled at his Islo factory in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico. At first, he concentrated on "tortilla bikes," reliable runabouts used by delivery services and salesmen, which quickly gained a good reputation.
But Lopez wanted to go racing, especially in the long-distance city-to-city public-roads spectacles so popular in Italy, like the Milan-Taranto and the Giro d'Italia. With 175cc motors provided by Morini, Lopez and company commissioned the construction of four Carrera models to be completed in time for the 1957 Italian racing season. Outfitted with unique quasi-fairings, the bikes were tidy-looking affairs that seemed up to the task. Unfortunately, logistics pushed the effort back to the '58 season, but by then the Italian government, spurred into action after several spectator deaths at the open-road events, had outlawed the races for cars and motorcycles.
The four factory Carrera racebikes never made it to Italy and were used for at time as display pieces in dealer showrooms and at Moto Islo headquarters. Of the quartet, two have been lost to the mists of time. Of the surviving pair this one, #00356, comes from an extensive private collection of motorcycles and was the subject of a complete ground-up restoration.
- The engine number for this vehicle is 7253-175.