Aeronautica Macchi began as a manufacturer of seaplanes in 1912 on the shores of Lake Varese near Milan, by Giulio Macchi. Following WWII, Macchi shifted focus away from the rather narrow seaplane market to the manufacture of motorcycles. A bid to capture the smaller displacement market, Harley-Davidson acquired a 50% stake in the now Aermacchi company, with the remaining half sold to AMF H-D in 1974. Harley “sold back all” in 1978 to Cagiva to then launch them as a motorcycle manufacturer.
Aermacchi created their “horizontal” 4-stroke single in 1956 first as a 175cc in the Chimera, soon a 250…the race versions usually to be known as the Ala d’Oro (Golden Wing). Using Harley-Davidson investment capital Aermacchi got to work and once they moved up a class (from 250 to 350) – Aermacchi offered the first 350cc engine in 1964 – the new, bigger motor promptly scored 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th places at the Isle of Man (350cc) Junior TT against a bunch of 2-stroke lightweight twins.
After a redesign in 1966, 250cc and 350cc Aermacchi racers were models of reliability. It’s these short-stroke machines, boasting 33 horsepower or more, that are so popular in today’s AHRMA racing, and historic racing around the world.
The matching numbers 350 offered here hails from an extensive and discerning Northern California collector, simply thinning the herd, as it were. An excellent example, the bike sports a custom aluminum gas tank, sculpted by revered artisan, Evan Wilcox. The motorcycle was given a café racer feel with a clip-on hands-down-butt-up stance and presents well, in excellent condition throughout. Once acquired, the machine was thoroughly gone through, but having been on static display for some time, it will need some re-commissioning before it can return to the road or track.