1951 Bianchi Stelvio 250cc Motorcycle Project

Published on 1 August 2023 at 09:16
1951 bianchi stelvio 250cc motorcycle found at an auto jumble

Every now and again something comes along that triggers something in my head. It's quite annoying really, it usually happens when I already have more than enough to deal with. That something compels me to buy stuff that I have absolutely no knowledge of, no experience of and no idea as to it's commercial value. My business brain tells me to walk away but my soul is sometimes stirred to such an extent that the buy me part of my brain overrules the don't be so bloody silly part of my brain. The most recent example of this is as seen above - a 1951 Bianchi Stelvio 250cc single cylinder 4 stroke with more parts missing than I care to count. I fell in love as soon as I saw it and knew that attempts to resist were futile. My gut feel was that it was probably a bit high on the price side, it was late in the day and it hadn't already been snapped up so maybe that was a red flag? Stupidly I found myself speaking to the seller, I suspect he knew from the first words that he had me hook line and sinker, when he told me what he knew of it's history it was job done. I had to have it. There was no option.

It turns out this bike was sold by Bonham's back in 2019, it was part of the Giancarlo Morbidelli collection, it had been part restored for the museum but left unfinished when Mr Morbidelli passed away. His family kept some of the bikes but sold some 300 of them through Bonham's - the biggest personal collection they had ever dealt with. The bike was even more incomplete than it is now, I have no record of who it was purchased by. It ended up back at Bonham's in April of this year and was purchased by the gentleman I purchased it from, it had now gained an exhaust down pipe and silencer, a head light and rather strangely a pair of handlebars from some trial bike or other. Weirdly the price had gone down substantially from it's 2019 hammer price, which was good for me, I did not know what prices it had previously achieved at the time I did the deal. The seller made a goodly bit on it, I was still happy with the price paid although somewhat nervous that I could not find any other example to make a comparison. I have since found a very nice one for sale in Holland at very significantly more than I paid for mine so I feel a bit better now. I have also spoken to my mate Dave Street that has forgotten more about classic bikes than I have ever known and he assures me the engine is worth more than I paid for the whole thing so that's all good. 

What is not so good is that parts for this bike are significantly rarer than fillings for hen's teeth or an honest politician. What few parts there are seem to be in Italy and are at stratospheric prices. The list is long, I am going to have to fabricate a lot of brackets and things, I will have to break the habits of a life time and exercise extreme patience to find the bits I need. Many hours will need to be spent trawling auto jumbles.

The good news is that the engine is not seized, the gearbox works, some bits like the chain are just standard fair, the tank appears to be in very good condition and looks like it will hold fuel. I reckon I can get it running quite easily, I need to find a 6 volt battery from somewhere before I can try it, there isn't one single wire on it at the moment. Fortunately I have a wiring diagram and a service manual in Italian, there are only about 20 wires in total, only about 5 are needed to get it running. I will need to make a throttle cable and a choke cable, I think I may need an ignition advance cable as well, haven't looked that far in to it yet.

It's going to be a long project but one that I shall enjoy and one that should end with a really beautiful and working machine. I will do regular updates, please wish me luck, I think I'm going to need it.  

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