Lot 325: Maserati 160/T4
Contrary to popular belief, Maserati motorcycles were not manufactured at the eponymous car-maker's Modena factory but by another subsidiary of the Orsi Group parent company - Fabbrica Candele e Accumulatori Maserati (FCAM) - that manufactured spark plugs and other automotive electrical components. Demand for two-wheeled transportation was booming in post-WWII Italy, a state of affairs that FCAM decided to exploit by purchasing Italmoto, a small independent manufacturer in Bologna, in 1953. Production was transferred to FCAM's factory in Modena and the company reconstituted as Maserati Candele, Accumulatori e Moto, producing one of Italmoto's existing designs - a 158cc overhead-valve four-stroke single - while a range of new Maserati-designed models was developed. Renamed the Tipo 160/T4, the 158cc model would remain in the Maserati line-up until motorcycle production ceased in 1959, latterly alongside the company's only other four-stroke model, the 250/T4. A compact lightweight of sporting appearance, the Tipo 160 produced its maximum output of 7.5bhp at 5,500rpm and was good for a top sped of around 65mph. With demand for its traditional products in steep decline, motorcycles soon became MCAM's most important line of business, in particular the 50cc machines of which there were four ranging from a ladies-framed moped to the Tipo 50/T2/SS sports model nicknamed 'Rospo' (Toad). For the first four years Maserati's motorcycle business prospered, enjoying strong demand both at home and abroad. By 1958 there were no fewer than ten different models on offer, and for many enthusiasts there was a special cachet associated with owning a motorcycle that carried the same trident badge as the most potent Formula 1 car of the day, the Maserati 250F. Sadly, Maserati motorcycles were one of the casualties of the Orsi Group's financial meltdown at the end of the 1950s, MCAM being placed in liquidation in 1960. Today Maserati motorcycles of all types are highly prized by discerning collectors, particularly those that already have one of their four-wheeled cousins in the garage. Restored twenty years ago and little used since, this Maserati Tipo 160 was first registered in Venice, Italy and comes with its original Italian logbook and instruction manuals. The machine is in excellent running condition having just had a full engine rebuild.
Motorcycle and Motorcars|
Bonhams & Butterfields, Los Angeles
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