Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

Alessi S.P.A. US

Friday, February 28, 2014

Military Vehicles: The Jeeppone

Moto Guzzi V7 At Moto Show Montreal

Handsome Moto Guzzi V7 Cafe Classic.

(Moto Guzzi is owned by Piaggio).

Started casually shopping for a motorcycle to buy in a year. Visited the Moto show today here in Montreal and was attracted to the Italian bikes including the V7.

KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Royal Enfield (cool retro bikes), and of course the legendary Harley-Davidson all had bikes that appealed to me. I looked around for Triumph and Norton but they were not present. Ideally, I'd like to purchase a used Italian motorbike but they're hard to find as people tend to not sell them. Anyway, Aprilia, Vespa and Ducati all represented Italy at the show.

A review on the V7 here.


Speaking of Ducati, it is now part of the AUDI group since 2012.

Rebuilding The Bugatti 100P

Admittedly, there are a lot of 'whatcouldabeens' surrounding The Bugatti 100P aircraft. by this point, this story should be familiar to Canadians and their own legendary plane The Arrow.

The 100P was the brainchild of legendary designer and engineer Ettore Bugatti known for his work in automobiles.  

However, it wasn't uncommon for Italian designers - free-spirit, free-lancers - to branch out into other fields. Call it the Da Vinci effect. Still, it wasn't that far fetched an idea since Italy had by that time an interesting book of speedy air crafts on their books. 

Bugatti's plan had a lot of ambition especially considering German aircraft engineering was considered ahead of its time. It was hoped the 100p would reach 500 mph thus surpassing the German Messerschmitt which hit 469 mph in 1939.

But it never got off the ground. And now, a group of European engineers - Reve Bleu - are looking to rebuild the 100P. 

"The Bugatti 100P – an art-deco masterpiece – is arguably the most elegant airplane ever designed. It was also the most technologically-advanced airplane of its time. Designed initially to set a world speed record and to compete in the prestigious Coupe Deutsch air race, the plane also met the criteria for a light-weight fighter and might have been the first technology demonstrator. Had it flown in the summer of 1940, it would be seen today as an historically-significant aircraft; elements of the plane’s most notable features, well established by mid-1937, predate the development of the best Allied fighters of World War II."

Interestingly, they're not the only ones looking to do so. Scottish engineer and  John Lawson (as well as Scotty Wilson) also has a Bugatti Project of his own.

As of yet, the plane has not been launched.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Classic Relics Sometimes Experience A Revival

Making sense of Italian automobile and motorcycle manufacturers is a challenge for many reasons. One of those being many of them were simply founded by individuals - freelance serial entrepreneurs - who had a passion and ability to produce their passions for consumption. They weren't always efficient (they probably broke every rule in a business academic book) but no one doubts the brilliance of what was created.

It makes for a confusing landscape to say the least. And when it comes to Italian brands, it's not uncommon for long lost companies to be revived.

For example, Motobi has been brought back by Michael Leeb Trading of Austria.

A little bit of their history here.

"Motobi was established in Pesaro, Italy in 1949, by Giuseppe Benelli, initially trading under the name Moto 'B' Pesaro. This was shortened to Motobi in the 1950s. After a family disagreement in 1948, Giuseppe Benelli, one of the six brothers and an engineer of some talent, decided to go his own way. He stayed in Pesaro, but moved to separate premises. Giuseppe launched the Moto 'B' marque selling small two-stroke motorcycles and scooters. In 1953, Motobi introduced a 200cc horizontal two-stroke twin called the B200 Spring Lasting. Its innovative pressed steel frame and horizontal cylinder layout were to become the trademark for many future Motobi bikes. The B200 motor was a clean, streamlined, very modern appearing unit, which was soon nicknamed the "egg" for its distinctive shape."

Sunday, February 23, 2014

MomoDesign And Lancia Hook Up

And produce the real handsome Delta.

Price tag roughly $30 000 US.

Not bad at all.

A little about Lancia is in order. Lancia was founded in 1906 in Turin by Vincenzo Lancia.

"Lancia is famous for many automotive innovations. These include the 1913 Theta, which was the first production car in Europe to feature a complete electrical system as standard equipment. The first car with a monocoque-type body - the Lambda, produced from 1922 to 1931 also featured 'Sliding Pillar' independent front suspension that incorporated the spring and hydraulic damper into a single unit (and featured on most production Lancias until the Appia was replaced in 1963). 1948 saw the first 5 speed gearbox to be fitted to a production car (Series 3 Ardea). Lancia premiered the first full-production V6 engine, in the 1950 Aurelia, after earlier industry-leading experiments with V8 and V12 engine configurations. It was also the first company to produce a V4 engine. Also, Lancia pioneered the use of independent suspension in production cars, in an era where live axles were common practice for both the front and rear axles of a car. They also developed rear transaxles which were fitted to the Aurelia and Flaminia ranges."

Lancia also has a long, rich tradition of rally racing having anchored 10 championships between 1974 and 1992.

Lancia Urban Bike

Above is Lancia's urban bike. 

"The Lancia Urban Bike is a concept bicycle created by Italian automaker Lancia in collaboration with MomoDesign. Its design is unique, and the bicycle has been designed to provide optimal riding performance and comfort while being minimal in weight. The bike has been described as rustproof, due to its parts being made from carbon fiber, aluminum and magnesium. Its frame is designed to absorb bumps, which abates the need for a suspension system."

Also, the 8-speed gearbox is by Shimano as well as fitted with titanium reinforcement.

More here.

"The Lancia MomoDesign Urban Bike, a hypertechnological bicycle, is a product of the rewarding, ongoing, partnership between Lancia and MomoDesign. Constructed in a limited, numbered series, the new two-wheeler stands out for its beautifully refined design, high technology, and attention to detail with everything at the service of the utmost comfort. These are the winning features that have always been part of Lancia cars, as can be seen in the MomoDesign Ypsilon Sport, the new twin soul (dynamic look and innate elegance) version which further enhances the range in the eyes of the younger clientele, always on the lookout for a sports vehicle at an accessible price" 

Pininfarina, for its part, offers its own urban folding bicycle. Folding bikes go back to 1890s when they were used in the French army.