Aermacchi was a fabricator of aircraft for Italy’s war machine during the Second World War. After the defeat of the Axis powers, the company turned its efforts to the production of motorcycles and bikes. In collaboration with Harley-Davidson, many Aermacchi motorcycles found their way to America in the 1960s to meet the growing demand for two-wheeled transport. And this is one of them, a 350cc Sprint now owned by Philadelphia-based Bill Becker.
Rebuilding motorcycles is Bill Becker’s passion. After retiring from a successful 40 year career in architectural design and construction, Becker now turns his energy to what he calls “performance based design”—taking vintage motorcycles, fixing what worked well and improving what didn’t.
“In the process, my bikes take on a more purposeful appearance,” he says. “One which expresses what they were meant to do—go fast and maneuver well. As most designers and artists mature, they learn to become more ‘reductive’ in what they try communicate through their designs … it has the effect of better expressing the purpose of the parts, and giving more power to the overall composition.”
When restoring this 1966 Sprint, Bill modeled it after the Aermacchi racing bikes he’d observed in vintage racing competitions. “I endeavored to make it as lightweight and ‘naked’-looking as possible,” he says. “Everything extraneous has been removed, and all the electrics have been tucked up under the gas tank or seat.” The fittings for the smaller tank, racing seat and lights are custom fabricated from aluminum alloy, and the two-tone red paint scheme reflects the Italian racing motorcycles of the 1960s.
As well as his Aermacchi, Bill also owns a 1975 Norton Commando café racer, a 1973 Yamaha RD350 street tracker, a 1988 BMW K75 and a 1949 CZ—which is currently under construction. It’s safe to say they’re all in very good hands.
All images © Roman Torres/Pixelcraft, used with permission. Thanks to Marc Grossman for the tip.