When the subject of “folding scooters” comes up, most people’s minds will wander to Honda’s Motocompo, but there are a number of other collapsable, small-wheeled scoots that predate the Honda by several decades. The “All American Scooter”, the 1960’s Centaur, or Carnielli Motorcycles’ Motograziella.
Carnielli Motorcycles was originally founded by Teodoro Carnielli in Vittorio Veneto, Italy around the dawn of the 1930’s, but the now defunct marque’s roots go back even further. Teodoro was building Bottecchia bicycles — named after Ottavio Bottechia, the first Italian to win the Tour de France (a feat Ottavio achieved twice) — prior to the first World War, and it was after the conflict once everything settled down that Carnielli first began experimenting with motorized two-wheelers, stuffing various small engines into pedal-powered bicycle frames. When Carnielli finally turned his hobby into a bonafide business it was 1931. Europe was attempting to regain its proverbial footing amidst a global financial crisis and there was more of a need than ever for small, reliable, and affordable means of transportation.
Carnielli Motorcycles first released a myriad of models powered by third-party engine manufacturers including JAP 175 and 200cc mills, as well as quarter and half-liter Rudge Python engines, and 350 and 500cc Kuchen powertrains. By the 1950’s, the company shifted its attention to utilitarian micro-displacement scooters propelled by 50, 75, 98, and 125cc engines from Lambretta, as well as a “sport” model dubbed “the Solitude” powered by an NSU mill. These scooters were then sold under the Vittoria name.
In the 1960s, Carnielli Motorcycles released the Moto Graziella — a nifty little folding scooter powered by a 47cc Sachs engine. Aside from the power plant, every other component on the collapsible scoot was produced in Carnielli’s native Italy, though the MotoGraziella was sold in the German market. The MotoGraziella remained on the market from its debut in the 1960s all the way until the company closed its doors in the 1980s, demonstrating the model’s popularity. The little folder’s design include four rubber protector caps that allowed the two-wheeler to be set down without scratching or damaging whatever it was resting upon.
In the same way that the Motocompo was designed to fit in the trunk of a compact car, so too was the MotoGraziella engineered to be folded up and stowed inside of another larger vehicle – in the MotoGraziella’s case that meant yachts, minivans, and motorhomes. The Graziella also featured bicycle-style pedals instead of traditional motorized two-wheeler-style foot-pegs, and a comically small fuel cell. A factory sticker on the bike suggests that the foldable scoot boasted a top-speed of around 15mph, though obviously the weight of its rider will play a pretty big role in that number.
This particular MotoGraziella is a 1970 model, and not only is in decent condition, but it also includes an array of factory original goodies such as the mini’s original German title/tag and its original tool kit. This example isn’t perfect, but it’s sporting some mighty fine patina and is just a thoroughly quirky little runner with a lot of character.
You can find this foldable 1970 Carnielli Motorcycles MotoGraziella scooter for sale here on Craigslist in West Palm Beach, Florida with a price of $3,650.