Montesa Impala Sport 250: 1966-1969 Rider Magazine

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Bultaco Metralla 250 GT

Retrospective: Montesa Impala 250: 1966-1969


October 25, 2008

(This article was published in the October issue of Rider .)

Story by Salvadori • Photography by Steve

Back in the 1960s Spanish were everywhere, haring the pavement, scrambling through the flat-tracking around the ovals.

Ossa and Bultaco were marques in racing circles, and on the street.

As was this Impala 250, a quarter-liter bike some 26 horses, which was a lot in days. That would to a 100-horsepower liter bike—of there weren’t any back The little oversquare ring-ding, a 72.55mm bore and a 60mm could rev to 7,500 rpm, and use of the four gears could this baby howling.

A of history is needed here, a touch of politics. There had a major civil war in Spain in the 1930s, with more half a million …, and by the end in a dour fascist by the rank and of General Franco won out. The war did do one good thing for the Spanish: it the country out of World War II, which entrepreneurs to flourish.

The Spaniards were good at production, and prior to the war had sold to buy things from abroad cars and motorcycles. However, the rest of Europe being to ruins, the Spanish found was nothing to buy in the way of manufactured goods, and now had to make their own.

Montesa Impala Sport

In 1944 two relatively young Pedro Permanyer and Francis decided to go together into the of producing personal transportation like motorcycles. Permanyer to focus on engines, as this was his and let others do the chassis work. a minority partner, leaned doing the entire machine; he

They began production of 98cc two-strokes in a rigid very basic with a engine and three-speed transmission—and in Spain they were an success.

The company moved into a old factory in Barcelona and competed in one of the races on the local Montjuich in 1945—and took the first places in their class. Win on sell on Monday. In 1946 introduced a 125cc version, also sold extremely

In 1949 Montesa won at the International Prix of Barcelona, and the crowd wild. In 1951 the two-strokes did at the renamed Spanish Grand and also at the Isle of Man TT. That year the factory entered two in the International Six Days Trial, being one of the riders, and got a bronze not bad for first time out.

In the factory began the Brio of street bikes, the name as “strength, force, vigor, and these served to pay for the racing

1966 Montesa Impala 250.

In 1954 Montesa a seventh place in the Ultra (125) class at the Isle of Man TT, surprising the sophisticated four-strokes. A few GP races were run, special six-speed gear-boxes, but in Permanyer pulled the plug on all professional competition, wishing to on machines for the public. Bulto to do more than build bikes which were raced; he wanted to build which were good on the

They parted company, but Bulto left with his of the company in cash, and the latest designs, Montesa was in a major

A new design director, Leopold took charge, and in 1962 the 175 Impala, with an all-new engine incorporating an almost cylinder, 60.9mm bore and …. It was still a piston-port but with an alloy head and an cylinder barrel using a liner. Mila wanted to reliability, and so power was limited to horses at 5,500 rpm. drive was now by gears, rather a chain, running power to a gearbox.

A swingarm rear suspension was

To promote them the factory three bikes and six riders on a trip through Africa—where the antelope is found. Impalas both as street machines and models. A 175 Impala Sport appeared, boasting 18 horses at rpm, with abbreviated to enhance its racy image, and the who loved this bike known as Impalistas.

A note on Montesa business practices: The chose to concentrate on the European while the Bultaco folk busy promoting their in the United States, which is why was not a very well-known brand

1966 Montesa Impala 250.

Mila, never a man to on his laurels, decided that a version of the engine was in order, and it out to 72.55mm, bolting it into a Scrambler chassis in 1965. was a highly competitive motocrosser, and the world took it to heart. In the road-going Impala Sport referred to as a turismo model, was with the motor rated at the 26 horsepower at 7,500 rpm, a 30mm Amal 389 carburetor to the thirsty beast.

This was another money-maker—it did well at a low price. The engine, and brakes all worked to enviable and a stock model was good for 100 mph.

A road-racing version was built. Immediately a pair of took one to the Barcelona 24 Hours and out the winner, beating not only the Bultaco but also much bikes like a Triumph and a BMW twin. At this point decided to go back into and show his old partner who was the better

Before long there was a version of the 250, first merely the Montesa Trial, but retitled as the Cota—the word a heraldic coat of arms. The Sport 250 was a minor sales almost 10,000 were over four years, and records show that 700 ever came to the United By 1970 the factory was concentrating on bikes, motocross, trials and and production of the 250 Impala was ceased 1969.

For a few years the only street made by Montesa were and mopeds.

As an afterword it should be that the company was making profits in the 1970s, and Montesa and were vying hammer and for the trophies. In 1980 the Cota won the Trials Championship. But that did not the company from financial and it partnered with Honda in

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