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1968 Motobi 175cc Racing Motorcycle
Engine no. 12837

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 WWI, 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, that 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 1950 Giovanni Benelli left the family firm to set up 'MotoBi', introducing a range of lightweights powered by distinctive egg-shaped two-stroke engines featuring horizontal cylinders. A range of four-strokes was built later but the overall look of the MotoBi engine remained the same. MotoBi was reabsorbed by Benelli in 1962 and sometime later the bikes became re-badged Benellis.

Prepared for historic races in Italy, this 175cc four-speed Motobi was formerly entered by Racing Team Imperiali Roma. It features a Zahid race frame; a special cylinder head with big valves; C3 cams; five-speed gearbox; Fontana front brake; and Ceriani suspension front and rear. There are no documents with this Lot.

Bonhams 1793
101 New Bond Street
United Kingdom
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Bonhams Collectors’ Car department