c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350

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Lot 143
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350

US$ 35,000 - 45,000
£ 27,000 - 34,000
Amended
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
· Customer version of Grand Prix title winner
· Rare enlarged 350cc development of the design
· Successful Aermacchi/Harley collaboration
· From the Southwest Superbikes collection

In 1960 Harley-Davidson could see that lightweights were the coming thing, and that its old-fashioned two-stroke tiddlers based on a postwar DKW design were no longer up to snuff. So Milwaukee bought a 50% share in Aermacchi's motorcycle division, providing instant access to the Italian firm's smaller-capacity machines, most notably its outstanding 'horizontal' 250/350cc four-strokes, renamed Sprint in the U.S. But Aermacchi also made two-strokes, which led from the Baja 100 off-roader to world-championship winning road racers like the RR350 seen here.

Aeronautica Macchi, soon shortened to Aermacchi, was founded in 1912 by Giulio Macchi on the shores of Lake Varese, north of Milan, to manufacture seaplanes. A relative latecomer to motorcycle manufacturing, Aermacchi created its first machine, the curious scooter-like Convertible, in the late 1940s. The company's first 'proper' motorcycle, the two-stroke Monsone, appeared in 1950, but it was not until 1956 that Aermacchi's trademark heavily finned 'laydown' four-stroke single made its debut in the sleek, semi-enclosed Chimera 175. The engine type served Aermacchi then Harley-Davidson very well, growing to 250 and 350cc, ultimate example being the Ala d'Oro road racer, continually developed throughout the 1960s, resulting in literally hundreds of national and international race wins, though a world title proved beyond its grasp.

Enter the RR250, a simple and effective design created in 1971 when chief designer William Soncini mated a pair of two-stroke 125cc motocross cylinders to a common crankcase. With its 'sunburst' cylinder-head fins bristling, the air-cooled RR was soon generating headlines. In 1972 Italy's favorite son Renzo Pasolini tallied an impressive three GP victories and the Italian Championship aboard his works RR250. Sadly 'Paso' would lose his life a year later at the Italian Grand Prix in a horrific pileup that also took Finnish great Jarno Saarinen. The analytical Walter Villa joined the team as lead rider in 1974, riding the 250 and a bored-and-stroked RR350, both machines now liquid-cooled and sporting twin front disc brakes. Villa dashed off three consecutive 250 titles and added the 350 crown in 1976, giving Harley-Davidson the only Grand Prix championships it is ever likely to win!

In the U.S., Harley dealerships sold the RR250 and RR350 to card-carrying AMA racers, though seeing the lithe and sleek RRs parked next to hulking FLH Electra Glides and Ironhead Sportsters in the same showroom must have been a shocker. Neither was produced in great numbers, with the 350 being most scarce. Experts disagree on the exact amount made—some claim as few as 26—but in any case the RR350 today is a rare sight indeed. Though its on-track provenance has not been recorded, this example
from the Southwest Superbikes' stable of important competition machines is presented in mechanically as-raced condition, while at some point the fiberglass bodywork was treated to a respray in the original Harley orange-and-black. Not ridden in Southwest's climate-controlled care, the RR350 is sold on a Bill of Sale.

Footnotes

  • Offered on Bill of Sale. As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.

Saleroom notices

  • The frame number is *1F10016H4*
Contacts
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
c.1972 Aermacchi Harley-Davidson RR350
Auction information

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Buyers' Premium and Charges

PLEASE NOTE: THE BUYER'S PREMIUM FOR THIS AUCTION IS AS FOLLOWS:

For MOTORCYCLE property (Lots 101-211) the premium is 15% on the first $100,000 of the bid price and 10% on any amount of the hammer price exceeding $100,000. Buyers are required to pay any applicable import duty, sales or use tax, as the case may be.

For MEMORABILIA property (Lots 1-16) the premium is 27.5% on the first $3,000 of the bid price, 25% on the amount above $3,000 up to and including $400,000, 20% on the amount above $400,000 up to and including $4,000,000, and 13.9% of any amount which exceeds $4,000,000.

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