a parilla not aprilla

Giovanni Parrilla began producing motorcycles near Milan, Italy following WWII. Largely imitating Norton single cylinders, Parrilla thought that an Italian bevel-driven single cylinder would well better in Italy then a British single cylinder.

The 246.32 cc (66 X 72 mm) single cylinder engines had a low 6:1 compression because of the low quality of fuel available to Italians after WWII. These bikes produced approximately 15 bhp @ 6200 rpm.

These early bikes utilized fully-welded, loop-style frames with single front down tubes. Plunger rear suspension with adjustable friction dampers and girder forks gave way to dual shock rear swingarms and telescopic front forks.

In 1947, Parilla gained popularity with the production of the Corsa and Sportster bikes. The Corsa was fitted with a 260 mm brake drum on the front and rear, which lead to the bike being nicknamed 'padellone,' which means 'large frying pan.' These 18 hp bike could reach speeds upwards of 90 mph. In late 1947, a dual-cam bike named Bialbero was introduced with 7.8:1 compression. The Bialbero produced 21 hp and could reach speeds of 100 mph.

By 1950 Parilla was producing 250cc and 350cc motorcycles that utilized a six-speed gearbox. These bikes were campaigned in Germany by Hermann Gablenz and Roland Schell. Despite successes by 1962 Parilla was sold to an investment company that went bankrupt in Italy's 1967 recession.

Today, Parillas are still being campaigned in vintage racing classes throughout America and fair well against vintage Ducati singles.

Photos courtesy of Joe Weir of Joe's Sign fame and Streettracker