Phil discovers a hidden gem in Germany…

An Aermacchi DOHC pushrod-based single 350 racer


Aermacchi 350 Factory DOHC pushrod single
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One of the great things that can happen when visiting a collection for the first time is “discovering” something completely unexpected. That was the case in Germany last year when I saw this amazing bike. I had no idea that Aermacchi had made a DOHC version of their classic pushrod single…

Aermacchi 350 Factory DOHC pushrod single
Celestino Piva originally constructed a DOHC adaption of the 250cc pushrod single

During the mid 1960s the head of Aermacchi’s race department, Celestino Piva, constructed his own DOHC adaption of one of the company’s racing 250cc pushrod singles.

It competed successfully in hill climb events and lead to the company’s design chief, Ing. Bianchi, to design official 250 & 350cc bikes in 1968. These were also based on the pushrods motor’s bottom end but with a longer crankshaft and external flywheel.

The 350 had very over square bore/stroke measurements of 78.5x72mm and revved to 11,000rpm (the 250 to 12,000rpm). A five-speed gearbox was used.

Aermacchi 350 Factory DOHC pushrod single
The 350 featured a bore and stroke of 78.5 x 72mm, revving to 11000rpm

Aermacchi 350 Factory DOHC pushrod single
Power output was 42hp but the bike was heavier than the pushrod motor, with the same power

However the maximum output of 42hp was much the same as the pushrod motor and the bike weighed 6kg more. This lead to further development being abandoned.

A much lower frame was fitted to the bike by Swiss Aermacchi importer (and racer) Yves Liengme who ended up purchasing both factory bikes as well as Piva’s machine.

The bike pictured here is the factory 350cc.

Aermacchi 350 Factory DOHC pushrod single
Yves Liengme purchased both bikes and fitted a new, lower frame

Here are a few shots of a 1962 250cc Ala d’Oro DS production racer for comparison.

1962 Ala d'Oro DS Production Racer
1962 Ala d’Oro DS Production Racer

1962 Ala d'Oro DS Production Racer
1962 Ala d’Oro DS Production Racer

1962 Ala d'Oro DS Production Racer
1962 Ala d’Oro DS Production Racer