Before and after WWII, Italy was a haven for street racing. One of those races was the Milano Taranto, reportedly the longest of all the street races and with the added danger of nighttime running. The only entry requirement was a driver’s license and a motorcycle ready to race: a far cry from today’s heavily regulated competitions.
Gilera motorcycles were favored by many riders in those days, and in 1956 the final Milano Taranto was won by Pietro Carissoni in a Gilera 500 Saturno. The beautiful machine we’re looking at here is a smaller racer from the same year, a ‘Milano Taranto’ spec version of the Gilera 175.
It was restored by Hugo Gallina of Vintage Italian Restoration: “Back in 1958, my father owned a 175 Super Sport,” says Hugo. “The same basic motorcycle, but a street version. It was the first bike I sat on as a young kid—my father lifted me from the floor and sat me on top of the tank, and I remember burning my right foot with the exhaust header!”
Hugo never forgot that bike, and now, more than 50 years later, he has his own Gilera 175. It took a few years to restore it, but as these images show, it was worth the effort.
The perfect vintage steed for a leisurely weekend ride in the country, don’t you think?
Images courtesy of Jose Gallina.