The Linto 500 was the brainchild of the famous Italian engineer Lino Tonti. Having worked for Benelli, Mondial and Bianchi, Tonti had already designed a few Grand Prix racers, perhaps the most famous being the Bianchi 350 and 500 twins campaigned by Venturi, Grassetti and McIntire.
The Linto 500 was the result of joining together two Aermacchi 4-stroke 250 horizontal singles with rod-and-rocker distribution. The prototype was ready in early ’68, and in tests the engine made 61hp @ 9,800rpm – more than the big-single Nortons and Matchless’ that were still the best choice for the Continental Circus privateers. Alberto Pagani rode the Linto to 2nd place in the 1968 500cc East German GP at the Sachsenring, and to 4th at the Italian round at Monza. He finished the season in 5th overall.
The bike’s impressive performance convinced other riders to opt for the Italian twin. In 1969 Lintos were campaigned by the Australians John Dodds and Jack Findlay, New Zealander Keith Turner and Brit Steve Ellis. With MV and Agostini having withdrawn from the race, Alberto Pagani took his Linto to victory in the 1969 Italian 500 GP at Imola, but it was the less well-known Gyula Marzovszky (CH) who fared best in that year’s 500cc World Championship – he finished 2nd to Ago’s MV.
This Linto was bought from one of the three partners of the Rimini Motorcycle Museum, and before that the bike had come directly from Tonti’s family. It was raced by the privateer Armando Toracca in the Italian 500 Championship. Just 24 Lintos were built in total, and this bike has one of the later short stroke engines, thus permitting an additional 1,000rpm with a few more horsepower. The aluminium crankcases house a 6-speed gearbox, while the carbs are modern 32mm Dell’Ortos, the clutch is modified with two additional plates and the brakes are Fontana magnesium drums. It is presented in very clean restored condition and it would certainly prove to be a real head turner at any classic event.