Monday, November 7, 2011
Motorcycle Throwback - The 1949 Moto Major
Every now and then in our search for classic motorcycles we come across something that makes us take a step back and just look. Those bikes that make you gaze in a mixture of awe and wonder while you try to decide to hate it or love it. One of our favorites was the 1930 Henderson. But we recently stumbled across the 1949 Moto Major 1939, which rivals even the most beautifully ugly motorcycles out there.
The 1949 Moto Major 350 was built by a Torinese engineer by the name of Salvatore Majorca right after the end of the Second World War. Majorca's intentions were to engineer a motorcycle that was artistic completely. From the body to the engine, the design was meant to be pure functioning artwork.
The frame and body of the motorcycle is shaped and forged to make the motorcycle on streamline form with only the handlebars and wheels protruding from it. Even the rider becomes a part of the motorcycle once in the riding position. The front section of the framework wraps around the front of the rider to not only provide safety from flying debris and possible accidents but also works to make the motorcycle more aerodynamic as well.
But it may be what is under all that frame work that makes the 1949 Moto Major a breakthrough motorcycle for its time. Though it appears that the body hides the suspension, if you were to remove the body you flat out wouldn't find suspension. At least not in the traditional sense of the term. The 1949 Moto Major gets its smooth ride through special rubber cylinders that are placed between the hub and wheel rim. Just by looking at the design of the wheels on the Moto Major, it's obvious that this motorcycle was nothing like any other built during its time (or our time for that matter).
Unfortunately, like the 1934 BMW R7, the public never got the chance to ride the 1949 Moto Major; Majorca's dream of bringing combined art and engineering to the roads was squashed by the low economic standing or the general public after WWII. After all, all of this design and technology didn't come with a small price tag. So the 1949 Moto Major 350 was limited to one lonely but beautiful model, which still remains today. But with custom motorcycle builders always looking for new ideas, maybe it's time to take a page out of the 1940's and bring back a modern Major.