1958 Parilla 175cc Speedster
Frame no. 501409
Engine no. 501409
Giovanni Parilla was a Spaniard who grew up in Italy. He was one of many new motorcycle manufacturers who sprung up after World War II. Part of his technical education came when he bought a Norton Manx and took it apart. The company's approach to styling was distinctive and they have joined other Italian small displacement bikes as favorites of the collector crowd. Based in Milan, it gained broad acclaim with the introduction of the famous high-cam models in 1953 and grew rapidly with a range of machines between 125 and 350 cc. When Parilla decided to enter the growing market in the U.S. for off-road motorcycles, it did so by adapting its road-going models with appropriate changes to the frame, gearing, body work, exhaust system and tires. For maximum performance it based the new 175 cc machine it called a Wildcat on the legendary MSDS/Grand Sport racer which had won its class in the 1957 Motogiro d'Italia. The Wildcat shared most of its running gear with the sport touring model named Lusso Veloce in the Italian market and called Speedster in the United States. With larger Dell'Orto SS25A carburetor the Wildcat produced 13 hp at 8,700 rpm. It gained immediate success in Italy with wins by rider Carlo Ferrero and in America with Joe di Simone racing his 175 to victory in the 250 cc class.
Purchased in March 2007 from long term ownership of over 20 years, the vendor embarked on a 3 year restoration of this Speedster. A Parilla enthusiast in Italy was the source for many components unique to the Speedster. These included the rare and extremely shapely fuel tank which gives the bike its unmistakably handsome profile. Other sources in Europe provided the correct tool boxes and other replacements such as the exhaust system which have become extremely scarce.
Mechanical parts included all new bearings and oil seals, a new piston, cylinder and crankshaft, sprockets and chains along with new fork tubes and new old stock San Remo alloy rims. The original flywheel magneto ignition was replaced by an electronic ignition and generator unit from Power Dynamo. The fuel tank is lined with ethanol-resistant POR-15 and has show-quality paintwork exactly matching the original style and colors. Both frame and engine have matching numbers from the coveted Grand Sport series.