Monday, June 06, 2005

Bet You Don’t Recognise This…

Capriolo 75 Aeromere in my Parents' driveway, Mayford, Surrey, c1967

Item Number 3 in the “Motorcycles I Have Known and (Sometimes) Loved” series… This machine was, unequivocally, one I loved. A very rare diminutive Italian Job and something I should have definitely hung onto. The story of my life. I’ll save you the suspense now as it’s highly improbable that you’ll ever name this little beast. It’s a Capriolo 75. That is to say a 75cc disc overhead cam four stroke motorbike made by the Italian Capriolo Company. I believe my bike was circa 1961. I bought it in 1967 for £15 after I’d disposed of the wretched BSA Bantam. The Capriolo Company made a range of gorgeous little motorcycles from 1947-1964. They were beautifully engineered and very good looking –a bit like miniature Ducatis. My little 75 sounded really beefy and had much better performance than its horrible BSA predecessor. More importantly it was faster than most of the Moddy Boys on their Lambrettas and Vespas and certainly handled infinitely better than any scooter. I put Castrol R racing oil in its tank and everywhere I went I was accompanied by that sweet smell that evokes images of motorsport. Great stuff! I passed my bike test on this little thing, thus becoming the first person in my 6th form class to hold full driving licences for both car and motorcycle and drove it around for a year in virtually trouble free circumstances. When I did do any maintenance I always used to marvel at how well made it was: the quality of the casting and machining was quite exquisite. I sold it eventually (for the same price I paid for it -for some reason I didn't seem to lose much money in those days) to buy something bigger, namely the Ariel Red Hunter (see here) that at the time I though was more manly. Oh dear, the folly of youth!

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