A rare 1960s FIM World Championship Motocross contender,1962 Lito 500cc MOTOCROSS RACER Engine no. 1506
Lot 75
A rare 1960s FIM World Championship Motocross contender,1962 Lito 500cc MOTOCROSS RACER
Engine no. 1506
US$ 50,000 - 70,000
£38,000 - 53,000

Lot Details
A rare 1960s FIM World Championship Motocross contender,1962 Lito 500cc MOTOCROSS RACER Engine no. 1506 A rare 1960s FIM World Championship Motocross contender,1962 Lito 500cc MOTOCROSS RACER Engine no. 1506 A rare 1960s FIM World Championship Motocross contender,1962 Lito 500cc MOTOCROSS RACER Engine no. 1506 A rare 1960s FIM World Championship Motocross contender,1962 Lito 500cc MOTOCROSS RACER Engine no. 1506
A rare 1960s FIM World Championship Motocross contender
1962 Lito 500cc MOTOCROSS RACER
Engine no. 1506
The Lito story is very short. Lito, short for Litoverken A.B of Helsingborg, Sweden, existed only from 1958 to 1965. Yet its impact was huge. The tiny Lito company was founded by a young Swedish motocrosser, Kaj Bornebusch. He was the son of a lithographer who sponsored the effort of designing and building their own race bike. Yet its story is really the story of three Swedish motorcycle brands – Monark, Lito and Husqvarna. Monark of Varberg, which was founded in 1908, specialized in bicycle, motorcycle and moped engineering, hand-built an Albin-engined 498cc single scrambler (weighing 282lb), first with a BSA gearbox then an AMC, that just happened to win the World Championship in 1959 with Sten Lundin riding (and came 2nd the next year) – and then withdrew after the unexpected death of its team manager, Lennart Varborn. Lundin, was, however, given his winning bike. In 1961 Monark merged into Monark-Crescentbolagen, and today belongs to Cycleurope.

The half-a-handful of leftover Monarks was obtained by Lito and Bornebusch, Lundin and designer Nils-Olov "Nisse" Hedlund set about modifying Lundin's bike to Lito's specification which to start with mostly consisted of painting it green and labeling it accordingly. Sten Lundin won the 1961 FIM 500cc Motocross World Championship on his hybrid Lito. The next year Husqvarna hired designer Nils Hedlund to build motors joining Ruben Helmin and Morgan Hjalmarsson with the collective brief to design a Husky "as good as the Monark and the Lito." Husqvarna had early success for both Bill Nilsson and Rolf Tibblin rode the new bike to victory. And Lito closed its door soon after.

Most Litos were built of modified British components: BSA frames, Norton forks and front wheels, etc. and modified Gold Star cylinders and cylinder heads. The first "complete" Lito 500 engine had an 82mm bore x 92mm stroke resulting in a reported 48 horsepower. In parallel in 1960 through 1963, Monark produced frames for Lito together with fuel tanks and some other small components. No more than 35 Litos were assembled with a BSA gearbox and Norton Roadholder, Maico or Ceriani forks and Praenafa wheel hubs, and sold as bespoke "production" racers

By the mid-1960s this rare Lito 500 motocrosser was in Germany and reportedly abandoned in a "secret" collection. Then it came to the USA. The seller reports that the bike has a BSA Gold Star scrambler frame with a Gold Star gearbox. It has a Maico fork and Borrani rims. The Albin engine has a "revised" crankshaft with a 100mm stroke, 79mm Mahle piston and cylinder (the "classic" Norton bore and stroke, and the same as Lundin's championship engine), Rickman/Enfield primary chain case, Amal carburetor, and competition magneto.

This hugely rare "classic golden era" motocrosser presents very well, providing a unique opportunity to the dedicated collector. It is reported to be in very good running shape, starts easily and idles well and is trouble free.

Footnotes

  • Offered on a Bill of Sale.
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