Chassis # 260033
Engine # 260033
A Matching Numbers Example
Extensive Pacific Northwest Period Racing History
Formerly Of The Guy Webster Collection
Displayed At The Guggenheim's Art Of The Motorcycle Exhibit
Like many of Europe’s now-famous motorcycle manufactures, the story of Parilla begins largely in the rubble leftover from the travesties of World War II. The companies founder Giovanni Parrilla came from a family with deep mechanical background and took to the business of designing and building motorcycles with natural ease. Dropping a single “r” from his name, Giovanni and the newly founded Parilla Moto company wasted no time after the closing of hostilities, producing their first racing variant motorcycle in October of 1946 with the help of accredited designer Giuseppe Salmaggi. Their claimed first post-war Italian racing machine debuted at Lecco in northern Italy, ridden by Nino Grieco.
The 250 cc single-cylinder machine featured a bevel-driven overhead-camshaft, the design of which was borrowed from the British Norton Manx. This is where the similarities ended though, as despite Giovanni being a relative newcomer to the motorcycle world, his design incorporated some very modern and forward-thinking design elements including unitary construction of engine, transmission, and geared primary drive as well as extremely large drum brakes. The engine was placed lovingly in a welded loop-style frame with a single down-tube and contained a girder front fork and plunger-type rear suspension.
Introduced in the late 1950s, Parilla’s new “GrandSport” model was its top-of-the-line offering and was meant to be an off-the-showroom floor, race-ready example. Originally the GS was offered in a 175cc version utilizing Parilla’s “high cam” engine. These bikes found immense success in the hands of American racers such as Ron Grand and Norris Rancourt. Right from the dealer, they came with lightweight alloy rims, a Dell’Orto SS1 carburetor, and Parilla’s hotter X1 cam profile. To appease the American market where bigger is always thought to be better, a 250cc version was released in 1961, the Parilla 250 Grand Sport. This new 250cc offering was introduced in a newly redesigned, diamond-shaped, frame and featured exposed rear springs. The 250cc GS utilized the Dell’Orto SS1 carburetor and X1 cam similar to their 175cc counterparts. Although these 250cc versions are better known here in the United States, it’s believed that only around 50 examples were originally sold with the last being produced in 1963, making them extremely rare machines. Despite their racing success, Parilla as a company could not survive the test of time and unfortunately closed its doors in 1967, leaving a legacy of motorcycle innovation and racing success to their history.
The 1962 Parilla 250 Grand Sport on offer here is a matching numbers example, frame number 260033 and engine number 260033. This is a very rare model here in the United States, with as few as 50 originally imported and far less surviving in such fantastic condition or at all. This 250GS was sold new in 1962 in the Pacific Northwest by Pokes Cycle of Seattle and raced locally in period with photographs showing it competing against Formula 3 Ducatis as well as Aeromacchi machines. According to the current owner and consignor, the bike passed through a number of notable owners including DeBuke, Vernon Pepperdy, Ron Streker, and Todd Fell. This Parilla then ended up in the collection of famed photographer and California-based motorcycle collector Guy Webster.
At some point in the early 2000s, this Parilla was partially restored and the engine was rebuilt. During the restoration the wise decision to keep the top section of the tank in its original paint was made, leaving this unique motorcycle with a beautiful memento to its fantastic past. This very bike was later displayed in the Guigenheim’s “Art of the Motorcycle” exhibit. When this Parilla came to us it had not been started or ran in a few years so it was treated to a full fuel service. The tank and carbs were cleaned and in addition the brakes were adjusted to ensure full operating condition. The operating condition was confirmed but due to the difficulty of starting the bike without a kick starter, extensive testing was not carried out.
As it sits today, this Parilla 250 Grand Sport remains in excellent condition, thanks in part to its early 2000’s restoration and fastidious ownership since. It is in highly correct order, with what we believe to be the bulk of its original and correct components, a monumental occurrence given its rich Pacific Northwest racing history. This Parilla 250 GS currently has no outward needs and would make an excellent addition to any collection surrounding early postwar Italian motorcycles. It could also be easily made ready for the vintage racing circuit with a bit of additional race prep and would make for a strong and unique competitor.
- Engine Size 250cc
- Chassis Number 26003
- Year of manufacture 1962