Enigmatic 1967 OSSA 175 Sport

A 1967 OSSA 175 Sport is back on the road after a restoration by its original owner.

| July/August 2013

1967 OSSA 175 Sport
Claimed power: 21hp @ 7,500rpm
Top speed: 90mph (claimed)
Engine: 175cc air-cooled 2-stroke single, 60.9mm x 60mm bore and stroke, 11.5:1 compression ratio
Weight (dry): 225lb (102kg)
Fuel capacity/MPG: 4.1gal (15.5ltr)/45-50mpg
Price then/now: $595/$4,500-$8,500

“A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” That’s how Winston Churchill once described Russia. He might just as well have been talking about the OSSA motorcycle company.

Apart from a short list of race wins, the OSSA motorcycle story, at least the part recorded in the public domain, is vague and contradictory. Yet even if only some of the stories are true, OSSA motorcycles patriarch Manuel Giro was clearly quite the adventurer and innovator.

The birth of OSSA

Manuel’s birth year is recorded as 1907, yet he is also credited with a career in the Spanish Merchant Marine before founding the OSSA company, which if true would seem to raise doubts about the timeline of the early part of the OSSA story: How could one man have accomplished so much in such a short period of time?

Until the 1920s, it appears the Giro family was in the textile machinery business in Barcelona. But seeing opportunity in the rapid growth of the movie business, around 1928 the family founded a new company, Orpheo Sincronic Sociedad Anonima (O.S.S.A.), to manufacture movie projectors and associated equipment. In the then Golden Age of Hollywood the company thrived, establishing a reputation for quality and durability in their projectors, many of which are reportedly still in use.

The young Manuel developed a passion for power sports, racing both speedboats and motorcycles. He entered local races, first on a Norton and then a BMW, but according to period accounts he was more likely to crash than finish. About 1930, OSSA partnered with Soriano, a maker of competition outboard boat engines, at first overhead camshaft 4-stroke fours and later sixes. Manuel put one of these (a supercharged 1-liter 6-cylinder that Manuel is said to have designed himself) into his BMW chassis for more power. Though predictably fast in the straights, it seems handling may have been an issue …

11/17/2013 12:07:22 PM

Hi Bob nice work,though have to agree with mondejar I bought a second hand 175 sports se-A here in the U.K back in 1970. Since joining the internet found out more in the last6 years than the previous. Mine purports to be an export model destined for U.S.hence the suffix A. Back then you bought these in kit form to save on purchase tax. From info gleened on ossa models mine appeared to have a euro type rear light and number plate and without tail piece on silencer(U.S. muffler)which would have not met Cali regs. The correct speedo in now on sale via E Bay.co.uk or e bay.com around £87.00. I have contacted the dealer as the one I have is damaged since I crashed in '73. Stood in shed since. I'm also looking for a cylinder and mag cover for the spare engine I'm building as I would like to sell/ partexchange for the 500 yankee motor. and keep the 175 spare motor in a Yamaha framed special. Any info on cylinders/magcover, road model style only please, welcome. Snoop and Vitale Maquinas have them but over £200.00 I'll have to dig deep. cheers Bo in north yorkshire.

10/1/2013 6:26:01 PM

Good night unfortunately this is not an ossa speedometer, it is a bultaco mk2 speedo. Ossa 175 sport speedometer can be found in internet http://www.ebay.com/itm/161119250435?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

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