These days Bianchi is owned by Piaggio and it makes high-quality racing bicycles, but for 70 years from 1897 Bianchi also made motorcycles. In the 1920s the Milanese firm turned out various single-cylinder and v-twin machines, some of which fared well in competition – during the ‘30s a 498cc OHC single enjoyed racing success with one of the riders being Tazio Nuvolari. In 1959, Bianchi took on Lino Tonti as its research engineer and produced 250, 350 and 500cc machines. The firm competed in grands prix during the 1960s, and the company also produced a scooter as well as a model for the Italian army.
The 318cc Bianchi MT 61 is a rugged all-terrain motorcycle designed and built for the military. (MT stands for Motociclo Tattico, or Tactical Motorcycle 1961.) It has a number of innovative features that allow it to traverse rough ground and deep water, eg. a high mounted air filter, high-level mudguards, a water-resistant engine and electricals, and a snorkel exhaust.
The machine here was built in the early 1960s, probably in 1963 or ‘64 because the owner’s manual was printed in ‘63. However, it was not registered for the road until 1984. It has not been restored but it remains in very good original condition. It comes to sale with its Italian registration document, owner’s manual and a repair book. This very interesting machine will be of particular interest to the growing army of military vehicle enthusiasts and collectors.