Original Gilera 500/4 racer
With Phil Aynsley
This is one of the very few remaining original Gilera 500/4s, rather than a modern replica. Only fifteen were constructed during the decade plus they competed for.
Its original motor is “on the shelf” and another period motor (with providence) is now installed. It was a factory bike, raced in 1957, then retired when Gilera (together with Mondial and Moto Guzzi) quit GP racing at the end of that year.
In 1963 however Gilera returned to competition (using the very same ’57 machines) with the “private” Scuderia Duke team. The factory continued to race the bikes, with a number of podium placings, right up until the end of the 1966 – not bad for a design that traced its beginnings to the pre-war water-cooled supercharged Rondine (1939 Gilera 500 Rondine – Link).
The air-cooled, post-war version first appeared in 1948 and was designed by Ing. Remor (who moved to MV Agusta at the end of 1949 and designed a very similar motor for them), Gilera went on to win the Rider’s Championship in 1950 (Masetti), ’52 (Masetti), ’53 (Duke), ’54 (Duke), ’55 (Duke) and ’57 (Liberati).
Output was over 70 hp at 10,500 rpm and the bike had a top speed of about 260 km/h.