Aermacchi / Harley Davidson 1967 “Ala Blu GT 250” 246cc ohv single frame & engine # 241887
Formerly known as Aeronautica Macchi, the company was founded in 1912 by Giulio Macchi at Varese in north-western Lombardy as Nieuport-Macchi, to build Nieuport monoplanes under license for the Italian military. With a factory located on the shores of Lake Varese, the firm originally manufactured a series of Nieuport designs, as well as seaplanes. After World War II, the company began producing utility three-wheelers and motorcycles as a way to fill the post-war need for cheap, efficient transportation. With the Japanese motorcycle invasion taking hold, Harley-Davidson needed something competitive in the small bike segment. The options: further development of their 165cc two-stroke single or a completely new design — or buy a turnkey business. Aermacchi fitted the bill to a tee: they built a sturdy and competent 250cc bike (derived from Alfredo Bianchi’s futuristic 175cc Chimera of 1955) with good performance and lots of development potential. Better yet, Aermacchi’s parent company, Aeronautica Macchi, wanted to focus on its airplane business, and was keen to ditch its bike operations so in 1960 Harley bought a 50 percent share. The American factory assumed complete control in 1974 but sold Aermacchi to Cagiva in 1978.
The ”Ala Blu Turismo” (Blue Wing) was introduced in 1967. The engine came from the Aermacchi Ala Azzurra 250. That was an air-cooled single-cylinder with pushrods. The cylinder lay almost flat at an angle of 165°. At the left end of the crankshaft was a multi-plate wet clutch and from there the gearbox was driven by gears. It initially had four gears that were shifted by a heel-toe shift on the left side. A 24 mm Dell’Orto carburettor was fitted and the petrol tank held 17 litres. The machine had a backbone frame with a centre tube and an upside down front fork. Rear springing was provided by a normal swingarm with two spring/damper elements. Externally, the machine was very similar to the Harley-Davidson Sprint (also an Aermacchi product), but the Ala Blu lacked the American air filter and the American exhaust. Production of the Ala Blu ended within a year and it’s alleged that only 27 were built. The same year a successor was presented in the form of the Ala Blu GT 250. This machine was almost similar to the Turismo but was standard equipped with five gears. The 250 GT remained in production until 1972, with approximately 700 units produced.
The machine we offer has bore x stroke dimensions of 66 x 72 mm and a compression ratio of 8.5:1. Power delivered is 18 hp @ 6750 rpm. New valves, guides and piston rings have been fitted and the valve seats got sintered inserts. There’s electronic ignition on board and the engine internals have been thoroughly checked and cleaned. Oil has been changed recently so this road-registered Blue Wing is all ready to be ridden by a new owner.