1954 CECCATO CORSA 75 RACER
Frame no.: -/-
Engine no.: *0154*
Engine: Single cylinder 4-stroke OHV
Bore & stroke: 45 x 47 mm
Maximum power: 74.75cc
Engine Capacity: 7 bhp [HP] @ 10,500 rpm
Valve: Overhead camshaft controlled by cascade of gears, valves arranged symmetrically with included angle of 90 ° and recalled by needle springs (OHV)
Valves per cylinder: 2
Distribution: A.A.A.42° - R.C.A. 65° - A.A.S. 58° - R.C.S. 36°
Carburettor: Dell O’rto UA 18 BS3
Cooling system: Air cooled
Ignition type: Battery / coil ignition
Lubrication: Forced with oil in the finned cup and coaxial gear pump to the ignition generator
Transmission: Gear primary, chain final
Clutch: Cable operated with multiple wet disk
Gearbox: 4 speed foot-change
Throttle: Cable operated
Frame type: Double tubular cradle frame
Suspension: Telescopic front fork with hydraulic damping
Rear Suspension: Dual Hydraulic shock absorbers
Front Brake: Light alloy drum brakes Ø 120 mm
Rear Brake: Drum
Front Tyre: 2.375 x 20 Inches
Rear Tyre: 2.375 x 20 Inches
Wheelbase: 1,200 mm
Seat: Tail-prolonged upholstered race seat
Top speed: Around 140 km/h (86.99 mph)
Weight: 70 Kg
Few motorcycle enthusiasts outside its native Italy are likely to have heard of Ceccato, though its stylish and well-made products are unmistakably Italian. The company was founded by Pietro Ceccato, born in 1905 in Montecchio Maggiore near Vicenza in northern Italy. He was interested in electronics and mechanics in general, motorcycling and road racing in particular. He started racing on a Moto Vicentini, a company later taken over by Gillet-Herstal. With a 350 Velocette, he attracted more attention and Rudge offered him a 500cc racer to use. That resulted in the Italian championship in 1933. In 1934, Pietro Ceccato quit the racing scene. He sold his house for cash to start production of office materials. The revenue allowed him to purchase a building area in the Alte district of Montecchio Maggiore and start a factory for quality products.
Immediately after the WW-II, he started making air compressors, car lifts and other garage equipment. During the La Construzione period, the Italians were badly in need of cheap means of transportation. Together with Hence Pietro, Pietro Ceccato decided to make motorcycles and started with the Romeo, a sporty sparkling red motorized bicycle, with a 38cc 2-stroke roller engine above the rear wheel, followed by a 48cc engine version in 1948. In 1951, a 49cc 2-stroke moped was introduced as well as a 75cc 2-stroke motorcycle. Soon after they also produced a 100, 125, and later on a 175cc version. All models were tested at Ceccato's own testing track and the first models were mostly sold to their own workers.
At the start of 1953, a 200cc horizontal 2-stroke twin was introduced. This engine looked almost identical to the Motobi Catria. Which one was first remains a question. The factory 's surface area was enlarged and the number of personnel would rise to 700. Since Pietro was such a large local employer and his personnel management was very social, the town district's name Alte was popularly called ‘Alte Ceccato’, which later became the official name.
Pietro's passion for racing saw the entry of four Ceccato's in the Milan-Taranto and Motogiro d'Italia long distance races of 1953. Two 75cc and two 125cc bikes were entered and they did finish somewhere behind the first ranks. That was not enough; to boost sales it was absolutely clear to Pietro that he needed a winner.
The young engineer Fabio Taglioni had just designed an interesting 75cc OHC racing engine at Bologna's polytechnical institute. Contrary to popular belief, this was his first design and not that of the 98cc Ducati Marianna, which followed two years later. Fabio thought that he could make Count Giusseppe Boselli the head of FB Mondial very happy with it. But because Mondial was successful in 125cc GP racing and a 75cc world title did not exist, he was not interested and introduced the young Taglioni to signor Ceccato in the summer of 1953.
This was just what Pietro needed! He and designer Guido Menti started with the construction of the engine. The prototype with open valve springs in a temporary frame, constructed in a hurry, made its first test rounds in the autumn of that year. The chain driven overhead camshaft used camfollowers, which used tiny wheels to follow the cam and produced a mere 6 HP @ 10.400 tpm.
The future of tipo Sport, Super Sport, Sprint, Tornado, or whatever name for this one-and-the-same bike was given, looked bright. Already in November of 1953, Angelo Marelli clocked 115 km/h over the flying kilometer on the Monza racing circuit. By 1954, quite a number of racing bikes had already been built and eventually the power output, with an 18 mm carburetor, would reach 8.5 HP @ 11.000 tpm. Menti and Pietro replaced the chain-driven camshaft by a train of gears. The oil pan got cooling fins and the open hairclip springs were enclosed by a case surrounding each spring.
The frame, especially the rear swing arm, was renewed and that would be repeated a few times more. In 1954, Vittorio Zito finished 7th in the Milano-Taranto race and Eugenio Fontanilli first in the Coppa UCMI, Ghiro 1st in de Moto Giro di Toscane and 11th in the Moto Giro while Carlo Carrani finished first in the Trofeo Cadetti. In 1955 Ghiro finished 4th in Mi-Ta and Pozzoni 2nd in the Giro. In 1954, Ghiro also broke world records on a partially streamlined 75cc model in the 75cc and 100cc class on the Castelfusano circuit near Rome. On the 1 mile with flying start he clocked 134,672 km/h and also set new records for the 1 km flying start and the standing start. Supported by these successes Ceccato also added ohv four strokes to its street bikes.
1956 turned out to be the crown year which Pietro, the founder, would never witness. A few days after the new year had started, he suddenly died of a heart attack. The company was taken over by another family company that did not change the course set out by Pietro. Zito won the Milan Taranto race in the 75cc sports class. From the 32 bikes that started only 17 reached the final finish; 12 Ceccatos from which only 9 finished with the first 10 bikes because Laverda got hold of the 4th position. Ghiro finished first in the Giro after winning all stages. In 1957, Fontanelli finished 2nd. 1957 was the last year of long distance racing on public roads, due to fatal accidents in the Mille Miglia car race of that year.
Due to a serious drop in motorcycle sales, it was decided in 1961 that the production of motorbikes should be discontinued. After the smallest racing classes were abolished and Japanese bikes took over, many Ceccato racers disappeared forever. But since the late eighties, some people did several barn discoveries in Italy and Argentina as well.
This extremely rare Ceccato Corsa is one of the highlights of the Amsterdam Italian Motor Museum, and is restored and presented in beautiful condition. A really “must have” for every museum or collector of Classic Italian Race Motorcycles.
Note: For a similar Ceccato Corsa ‘Racer’ 75cc SOHC see the Collection of the Late Jack Silverman, Aspen, Colorado
Litt: Legend Bike: Volume 9, no. 94, July 2000, page 23 - 26
All the lots in this sale will be sold ‘as is/where is’ and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.