Post-War Unisex Scooter – 1951 Aermacchi Cigno 125

In Italy, Small Displacement, Standard by AbhiLeave a Comment

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Post Listing Update: This Cigno did not meet reserve despite 31 bids up to $4,250 on eBay.


Following the Second World War, Europe was in dire need of cheap, economical transportation. A bevy of companies pivoted to fill the new gap in the market. One of them was Aermacchi, which shifted to making bikes and scooters after producing aviation equipment for years. One of the very first motorized two-wheelers from Aermacchi was the Cigno 125.

Designed by Lino Tonti — who formerly worked for Benelli before later designing the “Tonti frame” — the Aermacchi Cigno (Italian for “Swan”) was produced for less than half-a-decade starting in the early 1950s — before being replaced by the “Ghibli” — and was offered in three different variants; the base “U” model; the “M” sports roadster; and the “N” deluxe model.

The Italian two-wheeler sported an array of interesting features, the most obvious of which is its “tank”. The faux fuel-cell is actually a small storage compartment that can be positioned against the floorboard (a la a traditional step-through scooter), or put in top-tank-style setup, essentially making it a unisex scooter. The Cigno’s actual fuel-cell was located beneath the scooter’s seat.

Propelling the “Swan” was an air-cooled, two-stroke, 123cc single married to a three-speed transmission with a multi-plate dry clutch that reportedly put down 4.5hp and boasted a top-speed of just over 45mph. The Cigno was constructed around a pressed steel chassis, but where the bike stands out is that the drivetrain was mounted to the pivoting rear swing-arm which doubled as the Cigno’s exhaust pipes — a setup reportedly inspired by one of Aermacchi’s aviation designs.

The Cigna also rolled along on a set of 17” spoked rims, making its handling more like that of a small motorcycle than your average scooter. Thanks to its relatively low top-speed, the Cigno’s front and rear drum brakes were more than sufficient to bring the scooter to a stop.

Though the Cigno saw mass production, examples today are surprisingly rare. According to one source there are less than five examples in the US, and the owner of another example that was featured on Bring A Trailer claimed he had his Cigno professionally appraised at $9,600, while a 1950 example from a 2011 Bonhams sale valued the Cigno at between $3,200-$4,500. This particular 1951 example currently has 6,035 kilometers on the odo (3,757-miles). The sale of the scoot includes “some old Swiss documents” as well as a European certificate of origin (title) and bill of sale.

You can find this 1951 Aermacchi Cigno 125 for sale in Peer, Belgium with bidding up to $1,625 (with reserve not yet met)

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