1955 Maserati L/160/T4 Turismo Lusso
1955 Maserati L/160/T4 Turismo Lusso
- Engine: 158cc 4-stroke single cylinder
- Transmission: 4 Speed Manual
- Year: 1955
- Frame #: 3733
- Engine #: 3733
- Registration: 827 UYM
- Exterior colour: Red
- Interior colour and material:
- I acquired this Maserati 160 motorcycle in December 2014 from a Gentleman in Florence, Italy.
- According to the original registration documents that I have for this very rare and fully restored Maserati, it was sold by Fabbrica Candele Accumulatori Maserati on April 30th 1955 to a Signore Giulio Piani of Modena. The price paid was 216,000 Lire and it was registered with the licence MO 33294.
- It appears that this Maserati has been enjoyed by only three Italian owners from new before I acquired it and imported it into England.
- Signore Piani retained the motorcycle for twenty seven years, selling it in April 1982 to a Giorgio Marchesi of Vignola, in the province of Modena.
- In October 1988 the motorcycle was acquired by a Gentleman in Florence, Italy. The Gentleman, an Italian who was educated in Boston, North America, is known in the Italian historic car movement as a distinguished collector of important Alfa Romeo and other Italian cars.
- He registered the motorcycle in his son’s name, and it is believed that he had it restored some time in the early to mid 1990’s by Faralli Restauri who are located close to Pisa. This company specialises more in the restoration of important Italian sports cars rather than motorcycles, but it is presumed that the Gentleman used them to also restore some of his cars.
- The restoration of this matching frame and engine numbers Maserati was clearly executed to an exceptional standard, as even after twenty years of basement storage in Florence the motorcycle is in excellent condition.
- The Gentleman ended up owning two Maserati 160 motorcycles, the other one also having been restored by Faralli Restauri.
- In December 2014 I was contacted by an Italian friend of mine who is also friends of the Gentleman in Florence, asking me if I wanted to purchase both Maserati 160 motorcycles. This I was delighted to do and within a few weeks both motorcycles were in my showroom in Newbury.
- I obtained UK road registration for this motorcycle in August 2015.
Events I have exhibited and participated at with this Maserati:
- Kop Hill Climb, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, September 19th 2015.
- The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride, Central London, September 25th 2016.
A brief history of Maserati motorcycles:
- The sight of a Maserati badge on a motorcycle often confuses people, even those most familiar to the exotic Italian marque.
- Wealthy industrialist Adolfo Orsi from Modena purchased the ailing Maserati company from its founding brothers in 1937, and by then Maserati was producing spark plugs and machine tools as well as racing cars. In 1939 Adolfo relocated Maserati to Modena and expanded the company to produce batteries and bulbs too, a diversification that proved very successful during the war years. The car and parts companies were separated in 1947 and Fabbrica Candele e Accumulatori Maserati (FCAM) was formed.
- After business difficulties in 1953 Adolfo decided to divide his remaining companies amongst his siblings. Adolfo retained the car manufacturing division and his sister Ida took control of FCAM.
- As in most countries after the war car transport was only for the wealthy, and the demand for more economical forms of transport resulted in many motorcycle and scooter manufacturing companies being established. Ida Orsi wanted a piece of the action and to save money on development costs she purchased an existing company in 1953, Italmoto of Bologna. She relocated Italmoto and the production of its 160cc motorcycle to her own factory in Modena and simply replaced the Italmoto badge with a Maserati one. Ida then instructed the design department to come up with a whole new range of motorcycles, the first to be made being a successful 123cc two-stroke known as the L125 T2 which was launched in 1954.
- In 1956 a range of 50cc motorcycles were introduced, topped by the racing orientated 50/T2/SS. These were adored by the young sporty Italians and although popular, their price restricted sales and they therefore sold in limited numbers only. The SS featured a lightweight thin tube frame and semi-circle front spray guard (complete with Maserati badge at the front), plus rear mounted foot rests and cushions on the fuel tank to rest the riders chest upon, therefore reducing the wind resistance of the rider at speed. Performance for a 50cc was fantastic due to the little engine producing a heady 2.82hp at 6,700rpm (maximum revs being 7,300rpm) and it delivered the power to the road through a three-speed gearbox. The 49kg light weight aided a top speed of 70 to 75kph depending on the pilot’s pre-ride pasta consumption.
- Other motorcycles were offered alongside the 50cc, 125cc, and 160cc models such as 75cc, 175cc, and 250cc variants, the latter two being produced in very minimal numbers.
- After 1957 the company experienced financial struggles and FCAM was finally closed in 1960. The Maserati trident would only then be seen on four wheeled vehicles, back where it all began.