- Chassis # 63CR5014
- A Purpose Built Example
- Featuring Period Northwest Racing History
- Offered Out Of Long Term Ownership
Aermacchi, or Aeronautica Macchi, started out as an Italian aircraft manufacturer in 1912 when it was founded by Giulio Macchi in Varese. The company originally built Nieuport monoplanes under license for the Italian military until the end of World War II when they began building motorcycles to fill the public’s post-war need for cheap, efficient transportation. The first motorcycle rolled off the production line in 1951 as a scooter/motorcycle hybrid called the “Convertible”. Throughout the years, sales of the scooters were poor and Aermacchi could not compete with Vespas and Lambrettas so they focused solely on producing motorcycles. In 1960, Harley-Davidson purchased 50% of Aermacchi’s motorcycle division and changed the company’s name to Aermacchi-Harley-Davidson. The American manufacturer bought the rest of Aermacchi in 1974 before they sold the rights to Cagiva, another Italian motorcycle manufacturer, in 1978 who then ceased their production two years later.
While under Harley Davidson, Aermacchi tried their hand at motorcycle racing with a 250cc production-volume model called the Ala d’Oro. The model was developed over time and the team placed third at the 1966 350cc World Championship with racer Renzo Pasolini. They placed third again in 1968 with racer Kelvin Carruthers. The following year, Carruthers also competed at the Isle of Man TT for Aermacchi and placed second. Several other riders competed at the 1969 Isle of Man TT on Aermacchi motorcycles, with Brian Steenson and Jack Findlay placing second and third respectively in the Junior TT 350cc category. In 1971, chief engineer William Soncini developed twin-cylinder two-stroke racers of 250cc and 350cc capacity. The 250cc model was rated at 46hp at 11,000rpm and weighed only 250lbs. After Harley-Davidson bought out Aermacchi in 1974, they rebranded the race motorcycles like Harley Davidsons which led the company to victories at the 250cc World Championship in 1974, 1975, and 1976. They also won the 350cc World Championship in 1976, all with the help of racer Walter Villa.
The 1963 Aermacchi-Harley Davidson 250 CRTT is powered by an air-cooled, horizontal single-cylinder 4-stroke engine with a Dell’Orto carburetor putting out 250cc (35 HP) through a five-speed, chain drive transmission. The motorcycle is built on a tubular spine frame with telescopic front forks and a swingarm rear. While there are no concrete production numbers, early Aermacchi-Harley Davidson motorcycles are increasingly scarce and hard to find.
Frame #63CR5014 is especially unique because of its extraordinary racing history. It is a custom-built, early example that was raced throughout the 1960s in California and the Pacific Northwest where it has lived since then. Frame #63CR5014 is equipped with a 250cc long-stroke engine, a Dell’Orto carburetor, and Oldani brakes, all of which are the same specifications that these motorcycles came with from the factory. It also has a period-correct Veglia race tachometer ranging from 2,000 to 10,000 RPM.
In its current condition, the motorcycle is ready to live a new life as either a show bike or a classic racer in races like the Manx Grand Prix on the Isle of Man. As it has sat for an extended period of time, some housekeeping will be necessary to return this example to track-worthy condition but given its careful custodianship, it should be limited to basic servicing. It will need a new chain and the brakes looked over as well as a fluids change and to check the carburetors over. Examples like frame #63CR5014 seldom go on sale and when they do, they are quickly swept up by collectors. This is a true racing motorcycle with the kind of history that other motorcycles only dream of having. It demands respect, and in exchange, it will provide its future owner with a truly vintage experience that cannot be expressed by words or a price tag.