1955 Motobi 250cc Gran Sport Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 720133 Engine no. 720133

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 655N
1955 Motobi 250cc Gran Sport Racing Motorcycle
Frame no. 720133 Engine no. 720133

Sold for £ 18,400 (US$ 25,303) inc. premium
1955 Motobi 250cc Gran Sport Racing Motorcycle
Frame no. 720133
Engine no. 720133
• One of an estimated 70 made
• 2nd in class in the 1955 Milan-Taranto race
• Restored by Giancarlo Morbidelli

The now-defunct Italian manufacturer Motobi is closely related to Benelli. Italy's oldest surviving motorcycle manufacturer, Benelli was founded in Pesaro in 1911 by the six Benelli brothers, starting out as a general engineering firm repairing cars and motorcycles before turning to the manufacture of automotive and aircraft components in WWI. The firm diversified into the field of powered transport immediately after hostilities ceased, offering a two-stroke 'clip-on' power unit for attachment to a bicycle, and it was this 98cc engine, installed in a purpose-built set of cycle parts, which was used for the first proper Benelli motorcycle of 1921. Within a few years the firm was actively engaged in competitions, taking the first steps along a path to Grand Prix glory that would see Benelli established as one of Italy's foremost racing marques post-WW2.

In 1949 the eldest of the six Benelli brothers, Giuseppe, left to found his own company: Moto 'B' Pesaro, later Motobi. The latter's first design was a 98cc single-cylinder two-stroke lightweight with horizontal engine, a layout that would characterise its offerings from then onwards. In the early 1950s a new range of all-aluminium engines was introduced whose profile resembled that of an egg or rugby ball, and this style was deliberately retained when Motobi switched to overhead-valve four-strokes towards the decade's end. Six years after Giuseppe's death in 1957, Motobi merged with Benelli and its models continuing to be manufactured, although often with 'Benelli' on the tank.

One of an estimated 70 made, this rare, two-stroke, twin-cylinder Motobi was ridden by Benito Mariani to 2nd in class and 8th overall in the 1955 Milan-Taranto race (see photographs and Motobi advertisements on file). Mariani's was one of seven Motobi works entries in the '55 Milan-Taranto, one of which, ridden by Silvano Rinaldi, won its class and came home 7th overall. In a remarkable display of speed and reliability, Motobis filled the first five places in the 250cc category. Restored by Giancarlo Morbidelli, this beautiful Gran Sport would – following re-commissioning – be an ideal mount for the 2020 Moto Giro d'Italia.

Footnotes

  • 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

  • Please click the link to view the walkaround video of Lot 655: click here
Contacts
1955 Motobi 250cc Gran Sport Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 720133 Engine no. 720133
1955 Motobi 250cc Gran Sport Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 720133 Engine no. 720133
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For Motorcycles (Lots 301-703) the Buyer's Premium will be 15% on the first £500,000 of the Hammer Price of each Lot, and 12% on the balance thereafter, VAT at the standard rate is payable on the Premium by all Buyers, unless otherwise stated.

Payment Notices

For payment information please refer to the sale catalog.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Lot symbols
N NOVA declaration

MOTORCYCLES
If purchased by a UK resident, this machine is subject to a NOVA declaration, whilst the responsibility of submitting the NOVA rests with the Buyer to do so, Bonhams will facilitate the process by engaging an agent (SHIPPIO) to undertake the NOVA and C88 (customs) application if applicable on the Buyer's behalf. A fee of £125 + VAT to do so will be added to the Buyer's invoice.

CARS
If purchased by a UK resident, this machine is subject to a NOVA declaration, whilst the responsibility of submitting the NOVA rests with the Buyer to do so, Bonhams will facilitate the process by engaging an agent (CARS) to undertake the NOVA on the Buyer's behalf. A fee of £250 + VAT to do so will be added to the Buyer's invoice.

App