Aermacchi / Harley Davidson 1972 350 TV 344cc ohv single frame & engine # 191192
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 divest 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.
In 1969 the new GTS was brought out with bore x stroke dimensions of 74x80mm, giving 344cc. This model had a four speed gearbox and developed a maximum power of 25hp@7,000rpm. For model year 1971 a more sporty version was presented, the 350TV. This machine had a five speed gearbox and came to 30hp @7,200rpm. A larger 30mm Dell ‘Orto carb was fitted and the TV’s top speed was near to 160km/h, with a dry weight of only 135kg. The TV was sold from the end of 1970 till mid-1972. The road-registered TV we present here is fitted with two-leading shoe front brake, clip-ons and speedometer plus rev counter. She has been well-restored and runs fine.