1948 Gilera Saturno Competizione 500cc


Gilera Saturno 1948 Competizione 500cc 1 cyl ohv Frame # Engine # 264188

Originally designed in 1938 by the engineer Giuseppe Salmaggi and completed two years later, the half-liter became the most sought after motorcycle by the sporting privateer racers of the time. 

The single unit engine was a departure from the norm of the day: beside having clean lines all the components were easily removable without taking the engine out of the frame. 
That is, with the exception of the crankshaft.

After the Second World War the Saturno road machine was equipped with girder forks in conjunction with an unusual rear suspension system designed by Guiseppe Gilera in 1934.
The system comprised vertical levers compressing horizontal springs enclosed in tubes integrated in the frame. 

The back of these tubes had another set of springs for rebound damping. 
A set of adjustable friction dampers was connected between the rear forks and the back of the tubes containing the springs.

This was quite a sophisticated design since most of the motorcycles of the time had a hard tail. The Gilera Saturno could be had as an “over-the-counter” racer with aluminium fuel tank and aluminium rear mudguard and was named the Gilera Saturno Competizione.
She has a close ratio gearbox, camshaft 10000, valves 44/46 mm, carburettor Dell`Orto SSF35M 35mm, 50 mm exhaustpipe, 1" handlebars. She develops 36HP at 6000 rpm.
When the bike was purchased it had been in a Dutch and in an Italian collection for a long time.

Before the bike was started after a long period of inactivity, various side covers were opened for inspection and all internals appeared to be near new with balanced crank and camshaft. 
The clutch, primary drive, distribution gearwheels and gearbox clusters are all lightened and are in perfect condition. (photographs available)

The bike has been modified for legal road use with the following items added:

  • Smiths Chronometric speedo and rev.counter
  • Kick starter
  • Centre stand
  • Chain guard
  • Exhaust muffler
  • Electrical system with Marelli dynamo, electronic 12 V regulator, SIEM headlamp, taillight and battery.

All modifications can be reversed without any damage or alterations to the original design.
This rare 1949 Gilera Saturno Competizione 500cc OHV is a very well restored and well running Italian superbike but it will take a brave man to exploit its full potential on the road.
Exotic, technically advanced and a beauty to look at.

WHEELS ON REELS - The Gilera Saturno

Classic motorcycle videos selected by the editors of Motorcycle Classics

Like the BSA Gold Star in the U.K., in Italy the Gilera Saturno had a mixture of looks — especially its monolithic single-cylinder engine — performance and slightly mythical reputation that made it the model to aspire to own. And like the Gold Star, a genuine example is a treat to own and ride, if you can find or afford one.

Read more: http://bit.ly/Xu7MRx


(Translated from Italian to English by Google)

Milan, May 30, 2012 - From May 25 to 27 was held the famous Concours d'Elegance Villa D'Este in 2012 , which rewards the most beautiful cars of all time, divided into categories. The popular initiative began in 1929, but only since 2011 coninvolge also motorcycles, with the same rules as cars. On the shores of Lake Como, taking advantage of the spectacular setting of the park of Villa Erba , then ended the second edition of the coveted dedicated to motorcycles from museums and private collections that have, for various reasons, left an indelible mark in the history of motorcycle racing.  

Appointment in 2012 was attended by 35 motorcycles , as well as a special selection of prototypes, all of them submitted to a jury that it is possible to define absolute for levels of expertise and knowledge.

In a scenario prestigious and selective (for some collectors simply because they have been selected for the exhibition is seen as a victory), the first and most coveted prize of the jury, or the "Best of Show" was awarded to Gilera Rondine , the wonderful motorcycle racing in 1939, from the Museo Piaggio, a work of engineering art can revolutionize the racing world just before the Second World War.

The uniqueness of the Gilera Rondine is represented by its engine, rightly regarded as the forerunner of the modern porpulsori plurifrazionati frontemarcia . A project at the time so revolutionary and futuristic to inspire the next massive production of four-cylinder engines in the Japanese line. It is a quadriclindrico of 500 cc with distribution in dual overhead cam, four gears, equipped with technical refinements as the supercharger, the connecting rods and the crankshaft mounted on roller bearings and cylinders tilted forward 30 °. The maximum light comes the incredible figure of 90 hp at 9,000 rpm / min, a performance that allowed the Swallow to win laurels to repeat most of the circuit where he raced and beat the speed record in 1939 to over 274 km / h , with a special version with a full fairing studied in the wind tunnel. The award, retired from Marco Lambri, director of the Centro Stile of the Piaggio Group, will then enrich the enviable track record, this exceptional model.  

A Villa Erba were many other extraordinary motorcycles. In fact, in 2012 the event has been organized numerous exhibitions, and over a seminar on motorcycle design, with models and prototypes created by famous designers and famous manufacturers. For the first time in an exhibition was also Vespa 98, the very first Vespa prototype has always jealously guarded in the Museo Piaggio, the founder of the most famous scooter in the world, sold in over 17 million units worldwide from 1946 to the present. Exclusive as the participation of the first Moto Guzzi built in series  from 1921 to 1924, powered by a single cylinder with two valves opposite distribution.