1952 Ferrari 125
1952 Ferrari 125
- Engine: 125cc 2-stroke single cylinder
- Transmission: 3 Speed Manual
- Year: 1952
- Frame #: 1107
- Engine #: T 1107 T
- Exterior colour: Red
- Interior colour and material:
VIEWING BY APPOINTMENT ONLY PLEASE.
- We purchased this very rare and very early Ferrari motorcycle in Rome, Italy, immediately after it had been fully restored. The restorer had purchased it in Arezzo, in the Tuscany region of Italy.
- The condition is superb and just as you would expect a recently restored machine to be.
- This is a beautiful and very rare Italian motorcycle from an era when there were many small Italian motorcycle companies producing wonderful small lightweight single cylinder machines.
- This is a very early example with its horizontal rear suspension and would be a wonderful addition to either a motorcycle or car collection, and is guaranteed to be a good conversation starter: "I never knew Ferrari made motorcycles....."!
A brief history of Moto Ferrari, Milano:
While an Enzo Ferrari was making a name for himself producing racing and sports cars in Maranello, a Signore Amos Ferrari was employed at Moto Parilla and was having thoughts about producing his own motorcycles. Perhaps thinking he could capitalise on the recent publicity of his last name by Enzo, Amos left Parilla and with financial assistance from his brother and a friend, he founded his company in Milan in early 1952. The first motorcycle bearing his name was soon launched and was simply named Ferrari 125 and featured a 125cc single-cylinder two-stroke engine. Despite bearing several understandable similarities to motorcycles produced by his former employers Parilla, an exception was the unusual rear suspension which was contained within two horizontal tubes in parallel to the rear swing arm, similar in design to one that had been previously been patented by Gilera. Another unique feature of the motorcycles was the gearbox, which as well as having four-speeds, had the gear selector lever positioned on the left side of the gearbox, whereas nearly all other motorcycles produced in Italy featured the lever on the right.
Due to the rarity of these beautiful Ferrari motorcycles even when new, little was published about them in period and therefore even less information survives today. However, one unsubstantiated story of the company’s launch that has been told a few times over the years stems from the 1952 Milan Motorcycle Show, where it was reported that the racing car manufacturer Enzo Ferrari was branching out into motorcycle manufacture. In one of the halls a red motorcycle could be seen proudly on display and bearing the car makers name, accompanied by company staff who were feverishly taking orders for the 125cc two-stroke machine from excited visitors. Enzo Ferrari soon became frustrated by the unwanted contact from customers seeking to purchase a motorcycle from him and apparently he took Amos and his brother to court and sued them for miss-using his company name, and he won. The result was the Ferrari brothers could continue to use the Ferrari name on their motorcycles but they must clearly precede it with the word Fratelli, meaning Brothers in Italian. Therefore, whereas early Ferrari motorcycles had simply worn the name FERRARI on the sides of the fuel tank and engine casings, after 1953 it seems, FRATELLI FERRARI was displayed instead.
Late in 1952 at the Motosalone di Milano, Ferrari launched a 150cc engined motorcycle that was visually identical to the 125 and available in two versions; Sport Lusso and Super Sport. It is believed that a 160cc version was made available at this time too and as well as their visual similarities to the 125 model, they too had two-stroke engines and four-speed gearboxes.
During 1953, as well as the change of company name from Ferrari to Fratelli Ferrari, there were changes to the price lists which saw the 125 dropped from the range and replaced by a 175cc version (resulting in the 150cc versions being the entry models in the line-up). Here was a motorcycle that was quite different to the other Ferraris in that the 175cc engine was a two-cylinder over-head camshaft four-stroke unit, and the frame was quite different too. Gone was the horizontal rear suspension and in its place were conventional vertical springs, a configuration that was also applied to the 150cc two-stroke Ferraris in 1954.
The Italian motorcycle industry was an extremely competitive market place in the 1950’s as many companies sprung up, all trying to capitalise on the population’s growing desire for motorised transportation as the country recovered from the ravages of the Second World War. With expensive start-up costs, a limited product range, the battle with Enzo Ferrari over the company name, and stiff competition in the showrooms, the company was not profitable enough to continue so in late 1955 Amos called it a day and the doors to La Meccanica Italiana Moto Fratelli Ferrari closed one weekday evening, never to re-open again.