Shortly after World War 2, Spaniard Giovanni Parrilla (two ‘r’s) ran a diesel pump repair and spark plug wholesale business in Milan. Obsessed with motorcycles and racing he acquired a Manx Norton – not to race, but to dismantle, measure and study. Along with employee Guiseppe Salmaggi, the pair soon set to work on the first Parilla prototype – a low-compression (due to the low-octane fuel available) 250 single with a gear-drive cam.
Progress was swift; a 250 Sportster road bike and Corsa racer were introduced in the late 1940s, as was a newly designed 250 Bialbero version. With volume sales of small capacity 2-stroke Parillas to the Italian market and exports of larger 4-strokes to the USA, business was booming and Parilla expanded into a major concern.
This success allowed Parilla to contemplate competeing in World Championship GPs, specifically the 125cc class. And so the 125 Disco Rotante was born. Featuring a horizontal, radially-finned cylinder and very compact magnesium alloy cases with rotary disc-valve induction, the prototype engine revved to 12,000rpm and produced an impressive 23bhp. Other features include a dry clutch and a twin-taper expansion chamber exhaust. Created by Parilla engineer Cesare Bossaglia, this highly advanced motor was the first disc-valve 2-stroke designed and built in the Western world.
A few Disco Rotante prototypes were built but unfortunately none were to compete in Grand Prix. This is one of those prototypes and it came directly from the Parilla factory having been bought, following the firm’s bankruptcy, by the a Mr. Tiano who ran an authorised Parilla workshop in Milan. The bike remained in Tiano’s ownership until five years ago, when it was purchased by the current owner. Consequently this extremely rare machine has had just two owners from new and it comes to sale in good restored condition having participated in classic events in recent times.