Mondial (motorcycle manufacturer)

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Mondial Moto
Industry Motorcycle
Founded 1948
Founder(s) Carlo Boselli, Luigi Boselli, Ettore Boselli, Giuseppe Boselli, Ada Boselli
Headquarters Manerbio, Lombardy, Italy
Website mondialmotors.it
Mondial 125 MA of 1952
Mondial 125 cc OHC Racer 1953
Mondial Supersport 200 of 1955

FB-Mondial [1] was a motorcycle manufacturer from Bologna, Italy between 1948 and 1979, known for its Grand Prix motorcycle racing successes during the 1950s. Prior to World War II, it manufactured delivery tricycles. The firm produced some of the most advanced and successful Grand Prix road racers of the time, winning 5 World Championships.

The "F.B." in the name stood for "Fratelli Boselli", after the owners, the Counts Boselli, a noble family from the Milan area. During a time when MV Agusta and Ducati produced economy lightweight 2-stroke motorcycles, mopeds and scooters, Mondial produced high-quality sporting motorcycles. The Mondial factory in Milan was much smaller than the large Moto Guzzi, Gilera or Benelli concerns, and was more of a "boutique" manufacturer, specializing in high-performance, small-displacement motorcycles. Much of the production of each motorcycle was done by hand, which kept output low, with production numbers typically ranging between 1,000 and 2,000 units per year.

In 1949, when MV Agusta decided to produce a 4-stroke motorcycle, they purchased a Mondial 4-stroke motorcycle to use as an example. After the 1957 Grand Prix season, the major Italian motorcycle manufacturers including Gilera, Moto Guzzi, MV Agusta and Mondial announced that they would pull out of Grand Prix competition citing increasing costs and diminishing sales (MV Agusta later reconsidered and continued racing).[1] Mondial had prepared a bike with desmodromic valve actuation (before Ducati) but did not produce it.

The last all-Mondial motorcycle left the factory in 1960. After this, Mondial purchased engines from proprietary makers. In this hybrid form, motorcycles with Mondial frames and ancillary parts, but non-Mondial engines, were produced by the factory for the next 19 years.

Honda[edit]

1964 50cc Mondial Super Sportiva

In 1957, Soichiro Honda approached Mondial owner Count Boselli for purchase of a Mondial racebike, with which the firm had just won the 125 cc and 250 cc world titles. Count Boselli gave Mr. Honda a racing Mondial; Honda used this bike as a standard to which he aspired, in order to compete on a world-scale.

An original Mondial 125 cc racebike is the first bike on display when entering Honda’s Motegi Collection Hall.

Revival[edit]

The rights to Mondial were purchased by newspaper tycoon Roberto Ziletti in 1999. Ziletti was an avid motorcyclist in his youth, and his dream was to own a prestigious motorcycle company.

In 2000 Ziletti asked Honda to supply engines for the new Mondial (the Piega 1000) from their race-winning RC51 superbikes. A deal was made because Mondial had supplied Soichiro Honda with that 1957 racebike. This was the first time Honda has ever allowed a firm to use its engines for their production vehicles.[citation needed]

The end[edit]

Mondial Piega

In 1999 Roberto Ziletti attempted to revive the marque. Ziletti's father died, leaving him in charge of the Lastra Group. Mondial's difficulties occurred when Lastra acquired Mitsubishi Corp.’s worldwide graphic arts division, leaving Roberto Ziletti insufficient time to resolve Mondial’s problems. He had spent more than 11 million Euros on the company, and after failing to farm Mondial out to a Swiss company, the Arcore factory was placed in the hands of the Monza bankruptcy court in July 2004, with around 35 Mondial Piega 1000s in various states of completion. To place this in perspective, Lastra Group had a turnover exceeding 500 million Euros in 2004. In interviews in March 2005 a south Georgia motorcycle dealership, stated that the courts had arranged to sell Mondial to their American firm, Superbike Racing, on February 28, 2005, and that they would continue the marque. However, the Monza courts sold Mondial Moto SPA to another buyer on July 27, 2005: Biemme, another motorcycle firm located in Meda (near Milan) and owned by Piero Caronni (the same man who bought from Rimini bankruptcy court the remains and the production right from Bimota for the then defunct Bimota V Due), renamed itself as GRUPPO MONDIAL S.R.L. and continues offering the Piega 1000s to the market.

Racing history[edit]

FB Mondial racing
FB Mondial 125 Bilancerino of 1955
FB Mondial 125 GP of 1956

MotoGP World Championship[edit]

Year Champion Motorcycle
1949 Italy Nello Pagani
1950 Italy Bruno Ruffo
1951 Italy Carlo Ubbiali
1957 Italy Tarquinio Provini
Year Champion Motorcycle
1957 United Kingdom Cecil Sandford

MotoGP World Constructors champions[edit]

  • 125 cc class
    • 1949, 1950, 1951, 1957
  • 250 cc class
    • 1957

Isle of Man Tourist Trophy[edit]

  • Ultra Lightweight TT (125 cc)
Year Champion Class Motorcycle
1951 Isle of Man TT Northern Ireland Cromie McCandless Ultra Lightweight TT (125 cc)
  • Lightweight TT (125 cc)
Year Champion Class Motorcycle
1957 Isle of Man TT Italy Tarquinio Provini Lightweight TT (125 cc)
  • 250 cc class
Year Champion Class Motorcycle
1957 Isle of Man TT United Kingdom Cecil Sandford Lightweight TT 250 cc

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b Title: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Motorcycles, Editor: Erwin Tragatsch, Publisher: New Burlington Books, Copyright: 1979 Quarto Publishing, Edition: 1988 Revised, Page 260, ISBN 0-906286-07-7

External links[edit]