Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas
Chimera Â– 1956
Tomorrow's styling today
Aeronautica Macchi of Italy, had a long, distinguished history of building planes, from trophy racers to WWII fighters that defended Italian honor around the pylon circuits and Â– on the front lines. After WWII, Aermacchi, as the firm became known, searched for a new, peacetime industry since it was no longer allowed to build aviation products because of the war settlements. In 1950, Aermacchi began manufacturing motorcycles, offering economical transportation.
One of Aermacchi's first creations was its Chimera, or "Dream," model. The intriguing body styling was created by well-known car designer Conte Revelli and was made from lightweight cast aluminum, which showed off the firm's roots in aviation technology. The bodywork completely covered the engine and gas tank as well as serving as the rear fender; like Piaggio and Innocenti's brilliant Vespa and Lambretta scooters, the Chimera provided protection from the elements.
The Dream Lives On
But the Chimera was an odd case of too much, too soon: the motoring public simply was not ready for the eccentric cycle, and by 1959, Aermacchi canceled its production. But one element of the Chimera lived on and 'established the Aermacchi legend. The phenomenal four-stroke horizontal single-cylinder engine created by Alfredo Bianchi was carried over into the firm's new line of motorcyles, including the Ala d'Oro, or Gold Wing, and continued on to power Harley-Davidson's great Sprint line in the 1960s.
Engine: 172.4cc (60x61 mm) air-cooled horizontal single-cylinder four-stroke
Power Rating: 13 hp
Valves: overhead valves driven by pushrods
Fuel System: Dell'Orto carburetor
Transmission: 4-speed gearbox
Suspension: telescopic forks (front); swing arm (rear)
Brakes: drum brakes (front & rear)
Wheels: wire laced 18 inch (front & rear)
Weight: approx. 200 lb
Maximum Speed: approx. 60 mph
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