Lot 140 - 1957 12922 500 Grand Prix Replica

Lot 140 - 1957 12922 500 Grand Prix Replica

Lot 140 - 1957 12922 500 Grand Prix Replica

Lot Number 140
Odometer reading 0 miles
Estimate £90,000 - £100,000

The Gilera family started in business in 1909 at Arcore near Monza, Giuseppe Gilera's first machine being a 317cc side-valve single.  At the end of the First World War, the company was Italy's main motorcycle supplier thanks to war contracts. In 1936 Gilera bought the 1934-1935 Rondine, a four-cylinder 499cc supercharged and water-cooled road racer designed by Carlo Gianni and Pietro Remor. Count Bonmartini, a wealthy financier, had backed the Rondine racer (originally in sohc form) and engaged Piero Taruffi and Amilcare Rosetti as riders. Gilera developed the design, gaining many race successes and world speed records until the outbreak of war in 1939. That season it was regarded as the fastest of European road racers with Dorino Serafini beating the supercharged BMWs at the German Grand Prix. Superchargers were banned post-war so, in 1948, Remor designed a new 50 bhp/125mph air-cooled dohc four (claimed weight under 300lb). It became the dominant marque in the 500cc world championships of the fifties, taking the titles in 1952-1955 (Geoff Duke) and 1957 (Libero Liberati). It is likely that Duke would have won the 1956 title for Gilera but for a six month ban imposed by the FIM.

Duke joined the Gilera Team in 1953 and quickly established rapport with the family-run factory. He persuaded Gilera to lower the machine and improve suspension and streamlining, in effect, 'Nortonising' it. Duke had won the 1951 (500cc) and 1951 and 1952 (350cc) world championships for Norton and was used to the qualities afforded by the Featherbed framed Manx models.  Among Gilera's many classic victories, the one that stands out most is Glaswegian Bob McIntyre's Senior Golden Jubilee Isle of Man TT win in 1957 when he was the first to lap the Mountain circuit at more than 100mph. And, on the fourth of eight laps, (301.84 miles) he increased speed to lap at 101.12mph on the dustbin faired model.

Manufactured by the now famous and hugely respected engineer, Mark Kay of Meccanica Verghera Ltd, this immaculately presented 500cc Grand Prix replica was built for the current owner in 2000 and has not turned a wheel since. Kept in dehumidified conditions and in 'as new' condition, this exceptional example sports 499cc dohc transverse four cylinder engine with a 10.5:1 compression breathing through four 26mm Dell Orto SS1 carburettors with two float chambers.

The crankcase is a single one-piece cast magnesium unit with silver- plated needle roller big end bearings. Using wet sump lubrication, all oil is shared by the transmission which happens to be a bespoke Meccanica Verghera Ltd. It has a five-speed cassette loading gearbox with right foot change (one up, four down)  with wet multiplate clutch and chain final drive. The suspension is hand-made telescopic fork with internal springs (damping to be modified by Maxton Engineering) with 4" travel and a rear swinging arm with Hagon Girling lookalike rear units giving 3" movement. This all sits in a tubular twin downtube in Reynolds 531, bronze welded by Barber Frames. Retardation is through Meccanica Verghera 250mm four leading-shoe drum at the front and 220mm twin leading-shoe to the rear. Factory figures quote a top speed of 160mph with 56bhp at a maximum rpm of 10,000.
Inspection is highly recommended as no amount of words will do the bikes produced at these workshops justice.

Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Buyers are advised to inspect the car in person or use a professional to carry out this service.

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