Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Motorcycle Throwback - The 1952 Rumi Competizione
Moto Rumi was a blip on the motorcycle radar in the scheme of things. Here one minutes and gone the next, the company was founded in the earlier part of the 1900's doing absolutely nothing motorcycle related. Mostly manufacturing cast components to the textile machinery industry, it wasn't until after WWII that the son of the company's founder, Donnino Rumi, took over and got the wild hair to build small displacement scooters. It's rumored that the son was, foremost, an artist and, as a fanatic of art and sculpting, taking over the family business was probably not his first choice of occupation.
While the first production motor vehicle to make it out of Rumi's doors was the Rumi "Scoiottolo" in 1952, a 125cc horizontal-twin 2-stroke scooter that was nicknamed the squirrel, Rumi really struck gold with the Rumi Gobbetto Competizione. First introduced at the Milan Motorcycle Exhibition in 1951, the Rumi Competizione featured a similar engine to the 125cc two-stroke put in the Rumi scooters, while the artistic love of its creator shines through and through. The Competizione features a uniquely angular body style with a boxy gas tank and a thin rear end and was immediately nicknamed the "Gobbetto" (Hunchback) because of it.
Little seems to be said about the top speed or the power of the 1952 Rumi Gobbetto Competizione, but the engine of the scooter that it was modeled after was capable of putting out 8 horsepower at 6,500 rpm. This bike was built as a complete factory racer, though the general public surely would have liked to get their hands on it, especially after it won Rumi the Italian National Championship in 1954 going up against many other well known and respected Italian motorcycle manufacturers of the time. The win was followed by three more by Rumi motorcycles at the French Bol d'Or 24 hour races inspiring Rumi to start producing scooters named Bol d'Or after the race along side the expanded motorcycle production line.
Unfortunately, the success and win of the Rumi motorcycle line couldn't keep owner and visionary Donnino Rumi away from his passion of painting and sculpting. The Rumi Gobbetto Competizione stopped being produced in 1955 and, once the 1960s hit, Rumi liquidated his company and ceased all motorcycle and scooter production altogether. No more than 50 of the Gobbetto Competiziones were produced in total.
Now, decades later, the 1952 Rumi Gobbetto Competizione is a hard find. Because it was only produced for a short amount of time and purely for factory racing, it's a beast that can only really be seen winning show awards whenever it actually happens to be entered. But if you do happen to come across one, take a good, hard look. This motorcycle really was the work of an artist.