Sunday, November 26, 2017

1947 Gilera Sport was show's most stunning motorcycle

1947 Gilera Saturno Sport was vintage eye candy at the Long Beach motorcycle show.
"This appeals to me," my brother Phil almost whispered, as we strolled through the busy displays of new motorcycles at the International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, Calif. last weekend.

The object that captured his attention was not a new motorcycle. It was a 1947 Gilera Saturno Sport, displayed among other vintage bikes at one side of the exhibition hall.

I associate the name Gilera with small Italian motorbikes, but this machine was spectacular — and large. The only information displayed with it was that it was "Presented by Marcelo Doffo and Damian Doffo."

1947 Gilera Saturno Sport.
But I've since read that the Saturno Sport was a 500cc single, meant to race against powerful offerings of the day from Norton and BSA.

This Saturno Sport is part of the Motodoffo collection and is normally displayed at the Doffo Winery in Temecula, Calif. Marcello Doffo remembers seeing it as a young boy growing up in Los Surgentes, Argentina. He finally purchased it in 2003 after a three-year negotiation with the original owners.

At the motorcycle show, Phil quickly picked out things of interest on the motorcycle that I would have overlooked in my general awe.

"Lots of handlebar levers; monolithic engine; long — the longer motorcycles are, the more detail you can sneak in," he said. Some of his observations follow in the captions below.

Lots of handlebar levers seem to add "complications" like those of an expensive watch.

Stunning motor/gearbox are one unit but designed to appear separate.

Simple petcock eschews decoration but remains distinctive.

Lever-action friction dampener connects rear swing arm
to horizontal springs hidden in the rear frame rails!

Crown jewel of the motorcycle is its proud tank.

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