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Benelli Classic Motorcycles

Benelli was established in Pesaro, Italy in 1911. Teresa Benelli, a widow, invested all of the family capital into the business in the hope that it would offer stable work for her six sons: Giuseppe, Giovanni, Francesco, Filippo, Domenico and Antonio ("Tonino").

In the beginning, it was just the Benelli Garage, which repaired cars and motorcycles, but was already able to produce all of the spare parts needed for repairs.

In 1920 the company built its first complete engine in-house, a single-cylinder two-stroke 75 cc model, immediately adapted to a bicycle frame. A year later in 1921, Benelli built its first motorcycle, using their own engine which had by then become a 98 cc model.

Two years after that, using a version specially designed for competitions, Tonino "the terrible" took to the track. He displayed an extraordinary natural talent as a rider and embarked on a very successful career which confirmed the company's exceptional capacity for development and production.

Riding a Benelli 175, Tonino Benelli won four Italian championship titles in five years: in 1927, 1928 and 1930 with the single overhead camshaft (SOHC) version, and in 1931 with the double overhead camshaft (DOHC) version.

Unfortunately, a bad crash during a race in 1932 cut short his brilliant career and on 27 September 1937 Tonino died following a "silly" road accident. As World War II loomed, the Benelli company debuted their four-cylinder supercharged 250cc racing bike. This was intended to compete in the 1940 season, building on Benelli's success in the 1939 Isle of Man TT Lightweight 250 cc race. With the start of the war, the Benelli Four was limited to competition in a handful of Italian domestic races.

In 1989 there was hope of a revival with the backing of Pesaro-based manufacturer Giancarlo Selci. But the time still wasn't right for a real comeback.

In 1995 revival of the brand with the glorious history became a real possibility when Andrea Merloni took charge. Results were fast in coming with the launch of the marvellous Tornado 900 Tre super sport bike in 2002 and the current launch of the TNT, the explosive roadster.

Benelli is now part of motor Group Qianjiang, which is a corporation located in southeast China at Wenling. Benelli Q.J. is located in Pesaro where the previous proprietors based the facilities, keeping the whole workforce previously working at Benelli s.p.a.

Bike Image Description
1935 Benelli Type 4 TN, 500cc 1935 Benelli Type 4 TN, 500cc
1939 250cc Benelli - Double Overhead Cam 1939 250cc Benelli - Double Overhead Cam
1951 Benelli Leoncino Primo Tipo 1951 Benelli Leoncino Primo Tipo

By the end of the 1950's Benelli's range of motorcycles was in need of revision. The 125 Leoncino, offered in both two stroke and four stroke form was facing increasing competition in its class, whilst the 250cc Leonessa fell into a higher tax class compared to the hot 175cc models from rival manufacturers that offered similar performance. These challenges together with a general decline in motorcycle sales necessitated the development of a new model capable of appealing to the broadest possible market.

In response to the changing marketplace, Benelli developed a new 175cc overhead valve single which was unveiled towards the end 1959. The new model, in it's Sport form delivered 12 bhp at 8,000rpm from its over square engine, only 4bhp less than the heavier Leonessa., and was complimented by a touring version delivering 2bhp less. Both models were equipped with a four speed gearbox built in unit with the engine a 60 watt generator and neat touches such as an oil level sight class. The Tourismo adopted a single silencer and normal handlebars to distinguish it from the Sport which featured a "stacked" double silencer, dropped bars and a "jelly mould" fuel tank.

1960s Benelli 350cc Wards Riverside Road Racer 1960s Benelli 350cc Wards Riverside Road Racer
1962 Benelli Tipo Turismo
1960 Benelli 350

This delightful example of the Tourismo varint has been restored to a high standard throughout. Attractively presented in red and black.

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1963 Benelli 125 1963 Benelli 125
1965 Benelli 250cc Vintage Racer Benelli Racer

This machine was race prepared by the the respected Scott Clough Racing group in California. Race modifications by SCR including 11.5:1 Custom JE Piston/ring set, with proper valve pockets, squish band, dome shape etc. Custom copper head and base gaskets, Ported head with added vortex diffuser inside the intake tract like the Paul Dunstall Nortons used. The camshaft was designed by WEB CAM for this engine.. and a Yamaha YZ426F ignition is fitted.

Jetted 30mm Mikuni carb with velocity stack. A new clutch pack has been fitted. Suspension is Japanese Ceriani style 30mm fork with Bultaco triple trees. The rear shocks are NJB adjustable racing shocks. The wheels are Akront alloy front and Excel alloy rear with S&S spokes. Both wheels are shod with 18 inch Dunlop vintage racing tires KR825 front and KR124A rear. The adjustable seat/fender is Dunstall replica and bikini bubble fairing is from Leif Gustofson out of Florida. The brakes are 350 Honda front and 250 Benelli rear with vintage race linings from Metal Frictions Seattle.

1966 Benelli 250 Sport Benelli 250 Sport  
1967/8 Benelli Racing Replica
Benelli Racing Replica

This replica of the 1967/68 season two valve two fifty, as ridden by Grasetti and Provini, is one of the examples built at the beginning of the millennium by Ian Bennett of Bennett engineering. Together with the three fifty version also produced by Bennett Engineering, the machines have proven to be very successful in classic competition and parades, indeed it was a sister machine to this one that was paraded by Pasolini at the TT. Described as being in good condition throughout, it is attractively presented in the correct grey and blue livery Benelli livery.

More Benelli racing info...

1969 Benelli Tornado 650S 1969 Benelli Tornado 650S
1969 Benelli 125/4T 1969 Benelli 125/4T
1971 Benelli Leoncino 1971 Benelli Leoncino 125cc
1972 Benelli T50 Benelli T50
1972 Benelli 650 Tornado S 1972 Benelli 650 Tornado S Benelli Tornado road test
1975 Benelli 2C 1975 Benelli 2C  
1975 Benelli 250 2C Benelli 250 2C A classic piece of Italian design, the 250cc 2 stroke parallel twin 250 2C. This is the 1975 model which features drum brakes, and metal clock housings (later models had more plastic items and obviously disc brakes).
1975 Benelli 50cc Cross 1975 Benelli 50cc Cross
1976 Benelli Quattro
Benelli Quattro

Although the best known de Tomaso era Benelli is undoubtedly the 750 Sei, its smaller 500cc four sibling is arguably the better product. The Quattro was undoubtedly influenced by contemporary Honda practice with regard to the engine design but unlike its Japanese rival was endowed with typically Italian, accurate handling and excellent brakes. Unfortunately, its high price in many of the important export markets, particularly the States, placed it at an undeserved disadvantage despite a top speed of 105mph and a 0-60 time of 5.8 seconds which placed it on a par with the Japanese machines.

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1976 Benellie 125 2C Benelli 125 2C
1976 Benelli 250 2C Cup 1976 Benelli 250 2C Cup
1978 Benelli 250 1978 Benelli 250
1978 Benelli 500 LS Benelli 500 LS 1979
Benelli 500 LS 1979 Benelli 500 LS 1979
1979 Benelli 354 Sport 1979 Benelli 354 Sport
1979 Benelli 504 Sport Benelli 504 Sport
1979 Benelli 354 Sport II 1979 Benelli 354 Sport II
1979 Benelli 750 Sei 1979 Benelli 750 Sei
1979 Benelli 2C Elettronica Benelli 2C Elettronica 250cc, 32bhp.
1980 Benelli Tourismo Benelli Tourismo 125cc
1981 Benelli 350 RS Benelli 350 RS It is a quatro 4 cylinder, 4 carb engine.
1981 Benelli 354 Sport 1981 Benelli 354 Sport
1981 Benelli 654 Sport 1981 Benelli 654 Sport
1981 Benelli 125 Sport Benelli 125 Sport
1981 Benelli 350RS 1981 Benelli 350RS
1981 Benelli 654 Benelli 654
1982 Benelli 125 Super Sport Benelli 125 Super Sport
1985 Benelli 125 Sport 1985 Benelli 125 Sport
1988 Benelli 900 Sei 1988 Benelli 900 Sei
1995 Benelli Racing Evocation
1995 Benelli Racing Evocation

More Benelli racing info....

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Benelli 750 SEI Benelli 750 SEI
  • Engine - 748cc, air-cooled, SOHC, transverse six
  • Top Speed - 114mph
  • Maximum Power - 71bhp @ 8500rpm
  • Gearbox - 5 speed
  • Brakes - Double disc/drum
  • Frame - Tubular twin cradle
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