Sunday, December 04, 2011


The San Francisco Arts Commission is mandated by political brokering to include art and exhibitions in public spaces in SF; a small percentage of all large real estate deals is earmarked thus, and SF Int'l Airport, being one of the largest pieces of real estate in town, has a huge collection of art on the walls of its terminals, with the best at the International Terminal.  Each gate has a huge painting (Squeak Carnwath, Enrique Chagoya), and the walkways are dotted with sculptures by the likes of radical ceramicist Peter Voulkos and detritus/horse sculptor Deborah Butterfield.
Among the rotating collections in the pre-boarding area, I was delighted to bump into 'Moto Bellissima', a small collection of Italian postwar lightweight motorcycles, from Bay Area collectors, all of whom have been featured in The Vintagent.
The motorcycle names may not all be 'familiar', as each manufacturer has long since disappeared from the land of the living, but they represent a period when a youngster could aspire to owning an exquisite piece of functional sculpture.  There is simply no equivalent today for an aspiring rider to lay awake at night, fantasizing over the ownership of such a beautiful little machine, and how it would change their life forever.  Because they did, and do still.
1968 Mondial 'Record Sport' 48cc; surely among the loveliest of all lightweights?
The Italians spared no detail on their small machines; note Campagnolo manual disc front brake.
1959 Giulietta Super Sport 50cc; Fratelli Peripoli made mopeds and lightweights
Big name, little bike; Maserati 125cc GTS of 1957
The Giulietta's distinctive tail section
Beautiful lines, lyrical paint job
1965 Moto Morini 50cc 'Corsarino' ('Little Pirate' - Dennis the Menace with a sword!)
1961 Capriolo Turismo, 100cc
1959 Atala Freccia d'Oro ('Golden Arrow'), using a distinctive twistgrip shifter (like a scooter).  Atala had been making motorcycles since 1923!
1969 Itom Astor Super Sport 50cc
Leo Tartarini's ItalJet Mustang Veloce of 1969; good for over 60mph from a 50cc engine


Anonymous said...

That blue Mondial is absolutely stunning!

Dr.Acula said...

I had a 150cc MV Agusta motorcycle when he was 18 years. But the change by a motorcycle Sanglas 400and always remember that litle Italian bike!!
Greetings from

TOsborn said...

Being a "youngster" with a post war lightweight Garelli ('67 KL55), I definately understand what your talking about in reference to owning "and exquisite piece of functional sculpture." It's definately changed my life, being that it's both the first bike I've rebuilt from the ground up, and the first road legal bike I've owned.

Hairy Larry said...

How long is the show going to be up? When I was taking ceramics courses in college I was lucky enough to go on a field trip to the Voulkos studios and watch Peter and my instructors make rather large "plates" on his industrial sized potter's wheels. He was definitely one of a kind. Looks like an awesome collection of bikes.

P. Delli said...

Blue Mondial stunning, yes, but I can remember meself drooling in front of the dealer in Aix en Provence in the mid 60s... Had a std moped, Motobecane, 400FF new, while the Mondial Record was 1750FF, so stunning price as well!!!

adexterc said...

I once had a Guazzoni with a rotary valve and a carb on the side. It was later than these bikes I expect, but I sure wish I could find one now.

Anonymous said...

If you would like to learn more about the show here is a link