Italian Classics on Display

| 7/8/2009 11:31:59 AM

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1953 Mondial
Fabulous 1953 OHC 125cc Mondial from Guy Webster's collection. 

The California Oil Museum has opened a new exhibit, “Italian Motorcycles: Incredible Classics to Modern Marvels” running now through Sept. 27, 2009. The exhibit is a collaboration of two collectors, Guy Webster and Daniel Shoenewald. Picked from their extensive collections are classic beauties such as a 1959 Moto Morini Corsa, a 1956 Mondial, a 1955 Ducati Silverstone Super, a 1954 Bianchi Tonale, and a 1953 MV Augusta. In the modern selection we will be displaying a ’97 Moto Guzzi Daytona RS, a Ducati 999 Fila, a Donna Karen special ’98 Ducati 748L as well as many others.

1954 Bianchi Tonale
1954 Bianchi Tonale from Guy Webster's collection. 

The motorcycles that come out of Italy are simply unlike any other type of motorcycle made in any part of the world. Regardless of what company or what model, when you see an Italian motorcycle you simply know it for what it is. From the elegant and regal way that the companies handle small details to the overall inventive compact designs, Italian motorcycles stand out from their international counterparts.

Moto Morini
Lovely Moto Morini racer in Guy Webster's collection. 

In the 1950s, streamlining began to play an increasing part in the development of racing motorcycles and held out the possibility of radical changes to motorcycle design. NSU and Moto-Guzzi were in the vanguard of this development both producing very radical designs well ahead of their time. NSU produced the most advanced design, but because of the deaths of four NSU riders in the 1954–1956 seasons, they abandoned further development and quit Grand Prix motorcycle racing. Moto-Guzzi produced competitive race machines, and by 1957 nearly all the Grand Prix races were being won by streamlined machines. Recent years have also seen resurgence in the popularity of several other brands sold in the U.S. market, including Aprilia, Moto-Guzzi, MV Agusta and Ducati. Additionally, the small-capacity scooter is very popular through most of the world. The Piaggio group of Italy, for example, is one of the world's largest producers of two-wheeled vehicles 

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