The day after Vy and I picked up our BMW R1200RS in Spain, we visited one of the suggestions that y’all had for us: the Museo Vehiculos Historicos Valle de Guadalest. Thanks to commenters SilverArrow and yrrah for the recommendation – it was well worth the visit!
As “yrrah” mentioned in his suggestion, the roads into the museum are delightful.
The title of the museum tells you that there’s not just motorcycles here, but 2-wheelers comprise at least 90% of the contents in this small but tightly-packed building. It reminded me of the National Motorcycle Museum in the UK in that all the bikes are so close together that it’s tough to appreciate all the angles of the machinery.
Let’s look at some individual beauties, starting with a Mini Marcelino. It was originally developed in Italy but they were built under license in Spain between 1969 and 1972.
Mototrans was the shortened name of “Maquinaria Y Elementos de Transporte SA”, a Barcelona-based company that merged with Clipper, Spain’s Ducati importer. They ended up building several motorcycles under license from Ducati. This museum had many examples, and most were easily identified by the “FABRICADA BAJO LICENCIA POR MOTOTRANS” under the Ducati logo. This is the “250 24 Horas”, a Spanish evolution of the Mach 1.
Mototrans was eventually bought by Yamaha in 1983. They weren’t the only company in the Iberian Peninsula licensing Ducati’s products. Ducati’s first motorcycle was the Cucciolo, though it was actually a bolt-on motor designed to be attached to motorcycles. According to Ducati Trader, “it was the first new automotive design to appear in postwar Europe“, and it became very popular very quickly.
I don’t want to make it seem that everything in 40s/50s Spain was licensed. Here’s a bike that was built entirely in Spain, the Echasa Model B. Echasa started as a manufacturer of pistols and shotguns but after the war they got into the two-wheel game with bicycles, then bicycles with motors. In 1954 they designed a complete motorcycle that was simply named “Model A”. In ’56 it evolved into the creatively-named “Model B” and got some upgrades like a telescopic fork.
Part of the reason that many Spanish bike designs were licensed is simply because the local products weren’t very good. Per a display in the museum: “At the beginning of the 50s a great variety of new brands appeared in Spain but most of them were not very successful. The models produced were not very reliable, their features were quite modest and they had a conventional design.” One of the less-conventional creations was this three-wheeler from Derlan called the Gavilan 125. Well, that’s not entirely true – the somewhat goofy looking original is up top in blue. The yellow work trike is a Gavilan that’s been modified as a delivery vehicle:
DEMM was an Italian manufacturer based out of Milan. In 1956 they created a moped called the Dick-Dick, and that spawned an entire family of 49cc Dick-Dicks (there’s a phrase I never thought I’d ever type) that included both mopeds and small motorcycles.
I found this little bike quite fascinating. It’s a Soriano Pantera from 1951. Soriano was named after its founder, Soriano Schotz, the Marquis of Ivanrey. His motorcycle company ran from 1942-1952 in Madrid. All of its creations were small city runabouts.
Did you know that the name Derbi comes “Derivado de Bicicleta” (Derivatives of Bicycles)? One of the few Spanish brands that’s still alive and kicking (though it was bought by Piaggio in 2001), Derbi has a long history of impressive small motorcycles. One of their prettiest models from the past was the 74 Gran Sport Linea 70 – this purple was one of the many vibrant colors they offered.
Ducson was a Barelona-based manufacturer that built mopeds and small motorcycles using their own 49cc and 65cc two-stroke motors. This is the S12 Special, which featured the 49cc motor and a four-speed transmission.
Villof started as a DKW automobile repair shop, which may explain why its logo looks similar to the four rings of the Auto Union (which eventually became Audi). Villof was based in Valencia and they existed from 1949-1964. Named after the founder, Vicente Llorens Ferrer, this firm was apparently one of the few manufacturers that made their own carbs as well.
Elig did better than the average Spanish manufacturer, with a production run that lasted from 1953 to 1966. This is from their initial model, a 125 (121cc) two-stroke.
Setter also lasted from 1953 to 1966. Their most popular motor was a 60cc unit used in several different models.
Taber was a short-lived (1952-1955) Barcelona-based firm that, as the museum says, “was not very successful“.
In the early 80s, Montesa was suffering. One of the few ways they prolonged their inevitable sale to Honda in 1982 was by winning some Spanish government contracts. This started as an Enduro HL7 before it was modified for military use.
Rieju was founded in 1934 as a bicycle accessory company – the name came from combining the founders names (Luis Riera Carré and Jaime Juanola Farres). They released their first motorcycle (bicycle with a clipon motor) in 1945, and their first true motorcycle in 1953. This example is from 1955, and it’s from the second series of production.
Kapi was founded by Federico Saldaña Ramos, an infantry captain in the Spanish Army. Their slogan was “More quality for less money”, and they produced a lineup of small cars as well as three nearly identical bikes, all on a 125cc platform. There was a “sport luxury” model, “sport” model, and “utility” model.
Interestingly, the name “Kapi” comes from “Capitan”, Spanish for “Captain”. They apparently used a K instead of a C because it sounded more international.
In 1948, Moto Guzzi established a Spanish subsidiary through an Italian named Oscar Ravá that owned a Lancia dealership in Barcelona. Ravá had his motors built by an aviation company and his frames by a bicycle manufacturer. In 1979, “Moto Guzzi Hispania” split up from Guzzi and evolved into their own company, Motorhispania. It still exists as a manufacturer of what looks to be uninspiring small displacement motorcycles and scooters.
This depressingly ugly scoot is the 110, an evolution of the Ziglo 98.
There are also several French bikes in the museum that are barely-known in the US, such as this Ravat BS4 with a 175cc two-stroke single motor.
Obviously, there’s plenty of well-known Spanish classics like the Bultaco Metralla Mk2 Kit America below, but in this post I wanted to focus on some bikes you may have never heard of. If you want to see more goodies from Bultaco, OSSA, and your other Spanish favorites, click here to check out the rest of the album!
Thus concludes my little tour of this wonderful museum. Our adventures in Spain will continue soon…