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 Miller Balsamo - records
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Miller Balsamo D2-492-32-19
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 175
Model : records
Production : 1932 -
Category : (R) Racing - Record


175cc Record-Breaker -1932

Off to a flying start

The three Balsamo brothers began building motorcycles in 1921. The marque took an origami bird as its logo and it became one of Italy's outstanding small manufacturers.

Good Breeding Shows

The first models were fitted with Swiss Moser 175cc engines. But in 1928, Miller produced its own power unit, a 175cc four-stroke designed by the engineer Cesare Cappa, best known for his work on the 1922 Fiat Grand Prix racing car. Good breeding shows: in October 1928, the new 175 set up a whole string of world speed records. This model was built successfully in touring, sport and racing versions, which had respective top speeds of 55, 65 and 75 mph, extraordinary performances for their day.

Lightweight Streamliner

Four years later, Miller decided to return to record-breaking. This time, the 175 was fitted with a streamlined fairing, the result of aerodynamic research by Alessandro Marchetti, technical director of the Savoia Marchetti aircraft company, famed builders of flying boats. The results were stunning: the three-piece aluminum fairing designed by Marchetti weighed a mere 22 lb and the records fell like ninepins. Lying flat on the tank, rider Carlo Fumagalli garnered an impressive crop of records, among them 5 km at 87.83 mph, 10 km at 82.64 mph and 100 km at 75.81 mph. Besides its original175, Miller-Balsamo also fitted 350 and 500 English Rudge four-valve engines and 100cc Sachs units. Miller-Balsamo survived until 1959, when it disappeared like so many small Italian hand-crafted marques.


Engine: 175cc air-cooled single-cylinder fourstroke, magneto ignition

Valves: overhead; hairpin valve springs

Fuel System: carburetor

Transmission: 3-speed, chain ftnal drive

Suspension: girder forks (front); rigid (rear)

Brakes: drum (front & rear)

Wheels: wire (front & rear)

Maximum Speed: 90 mph


A real masterpiece in band-beaten aluminum, the three-piece fairing of the record-breaking MillerBalsamo was tailored to fit around its rider, laid down along the tank.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

Please contact me at for conditions and copyright.

© Tous droits réservés
François-Marie Dumas

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