Giovanni Parrilla built his first motorcycle in 1946, dropping his surname’s second ‘r’ to call the machine a ‘Parilla’. Signor Parrilla owned a shop on the outskirts of Milan specialising in the repair of diesel injector pumps and he also held an agency for Bosch sparking plugs.
The first Parilla motorcycle – a 250cc overhead-camshaft single-cylinder racer – was the work of Ing. Giuseppe Salmaggi, who already had the Gilera Saturno to his credit. Giovanni Parrilla was a big Norton fan so the 250-racer’s engine employed a bevel-driven overhead-camshaft just like the British manufacturer’s Manx. There the similarity ended however, for the Parilla was a thoroughly modern design boasting unitary construction of the engine/transmission and geared primary drive. The new power unit went into a welded loop-type chassis featuring a single down-tube, girder front fork and plunger rear suspension. (Later versions had a telescopic fork and swinging-arm suspension). Ridden on its debut by Nino Grieco on 1st October 1946, the Parilla could claim to be Italy’s first new racing motorcycle since the War’s end. Production of road and race (corsa) models began in 1947.
The second generation of Parilla motorcycles – known as the ‘high-cam’ (camme rialzata) – debuted at the Milan Show in 1952 in the form of the Fox roadster. This was a 175cc single, built in Turismo and Competizione versions, which featured a chain-driven camshaft mounted on the side of the cylinder head, the valves being operated via short pushrods.
In 1957, Parilla embarked on a new venture, introducing a range of lightweight motorcycles powered by outwardly similar two-stroke and four-stroke horizontal engines of unitary construction. The first of these was the fully enclosed Slughi model, which debuted at the 1957 Milan Show with production commencing in 1958. Engines were suspended beneath a spine-type frame, with the swinging arm pivoting directly in the gearbox casing. Named after a type of hound (saluki in English), the Slughi featured jet fighter-inspired streamlined bodywork and bore more than a passing resemblance to Aermacchi’s Chimera, which had appeared the previous year. It was sold in the USA as the Ramjet or Ramjet Streamliner. A conventional un-enclosed model followed.
Offered here is an exceptional example of the four-stroke Slughi. The machine has been fully restored and is presented in excellent condition, the bodywork as good as when it left the factory. This beautiful motorcycle is offered from Angelo Parrilla’s private collection; re-commissioning is advised before returning it to the road. The fuel tank has been signed by Angelo Parrilla.
Report by bonhams.com