Since 2011, the Concorso di Motociclette has been a fixture in the world’s most exclusive and most traditional beauty competition for historic vehicles. At the eighth edition, 30 vehicles were presented in five categories. Once again, when looking back at the history of motorized two-wheelers, in addition to popular classics, numerous exotic rarities, often familiar only to connoisseurs, came into the public. One of the most atmospheric events this year was the Street Run, where the historic motorcycles made their way from the park of Villa Erba across the streets of Cernobbio to the Grand Hotel Villa D’Este on Saturday, to meet the public on the terrace showcase.
Also at the Concorso di Motociclette, this year was the motto “Hollywood on the Lake”. The motorcycles were divided into five classes titled “Golden years for american motorcycles”, “Luxury on three wheels in the 1920s and 1930s”, “New ideas fort he 1950s”, “Winning italy singles” and “New clothes on british and german motorcycles “. A total of 25 historic motorcycles and five classic team bikes in five categories were presented at the Concorso di Motociclette 2018.
The Moto Major from 1948 received the coveted “Best of Show” award. The Moto Major owes its spectacular appearance to an expert in aircraft landing gear. The Italian designer Salvatore Maiorca had developed a wheel suspended by integrated rubber elements and was given the opportunity to realize this invention in a motorcycle. The aerodynamically optimized body and the drive of the Moto Major emerged in the aircraft division of Fiat. The prototype was first presented – by the tire manufacturer Pirelli – at the Milan Spring Fair in 1948. There, the Moto Major caused a lot of interest, but it did not come to mass production. “The Moto Mayor is an amazing motorcycle. All members of the jury agreed to award the title Best of Show to this vehicle, “said jury member Paul d’Orleans. “In 1948, the designer had the idea of a suspension inside the wheels – a terrible idea, after all, he was not a motorcycle designer. But the design of the Moto Major is great.”
The public favorit turned out at this year’s Concorso di Motociclette in Cernobbio, northern Italy, to be a team bike. Visitors chose the Brough Superior SS80 with sidecar built in 1939 as their favorite.
Kessler was able to take the Trofeo Villa Erba. “I have been working on the restoration of this bike since 1987 and I finished it last week,” said Kessler, who participated in the Concorso di Motociclette for the second time. “Unfortunately, I can not compete again because I havn´t got another bike that meets the high standards of this competition.”
Another exceptional specimen was the Thor Model U from 1913. The Aurora Machinery Company took over 1902-1907 engine manufacturing for Indian. William Ottoway created in 1912 a powerful V-twin cylinder which was integrated into the own motorcycle production of the Thor Model U. However, Ottoway joined Harley Davidson a few years later and the Thor Motorcycles production was discontinued.
Behind Indian and Harley Davidson, the Excelsior brand was number three in the US. The Excelsior Model 16-s.C was also used in motorsport.
William Henderson was the first engineer to equip a two-wheeled two-cylinder engine in the United States, such as the 1914 Henderson Model C2 shown here. Henderson motorcycles were exclusively equipped with four-cylinder engines until 1931.
A motorcycle with sidecar was one of the absolute prestige objects in the 20s, because now you could take a passenger with you. Of course, they tried to make this sidecar also correspondingly luxurious and so created real special bodies. The sidecar of the Henderson Model K can accommodate two passengers. The 1921 built motorcycle still has a four-cylinder engine. The Brough Superior SS80 was then considered a status object and so the sidecar had to be luxuriously equipped. The ground chassis for the sidecar Brough moved in Vienna with Adolf Felber. The boat-like form of the sidecar looks downright sporty.
The Miller Balsamo from 1939 by the Italian manufacturer Balsamo is also sporty. The three brothers Balsamo began in 1924 with the construction of sports machines with British Miller technology. The 1939 equipped with a sheet metal frame and large-scale panel machine was equipped with a single-cylinder two-stroke engine. However, the bike hardly found a buyer.
In addition, this year’s Concorso di Motociclette awarded a “Special Prize by the Jury”. The panel honored the oldest motorcycle in the competition, an Indian twin-cylinder from 1907. With this model, the American manufacturer once started the mass production of motorcycles with V-two-cylinder engine.
Also at the Motorcycle Concours this year the sporty racing machines were in the foreground. After the introduction of a world championship series in Motoorad road racing in 1949, the competition originated between English and Italian manufacturers. The greatest successes and at the same time the largest brand diversity of Italian factory-racing machines characterized the 250 cubic class. Together they had the engine concept of the four-cylinder single cylinder with overhead camshaft. Much development work has been invested in the improvement of aerodynamics with different types of panels. As a result, this class of the Concorso di Motociclette offered a variety of elegant forms. These included the 1952 Benelli Bialbero, a 1953 Moto Guzzi Bialbero with aluminum fairing, the Moto Guzzi Monobialbero with front full aerodynamic trim, the successful full-face Mondial Bialbero and the world champion MV Augusta Bialbero.
After the successful kick-off last year, the Concorso di Motociclette 2018, with a special exhibition for concept bikes and prototypes, also created a bridge between the past and the future of the motorcycle. The event on Lake Como thus offers one of the rare opportunities to present the fascinating studies to a broader public. The class victory in this category went to the Moto Guzzi Sogno from the year 2002.