Italy: The first stop of the day was Grignasco, a little town where Mario Carlone lives. Mario not only came with Sergio Chrisrina and Bruno Baccari's family to Parilla Days, but was one of the major supporters of the first Parilla Day in Modigliana in 1996. When we got to Mario's place, we couldn't have been prepared for the depth of the collection we were to see. Mario collects all things with two wheels and has one of the most complete collections of unrestored motorcycles of all years and makes that I have ever seen.
Next came possibly the biggest shock of the trip. Mario invited us to his place of business. "The Works" (as I call it), is a shop nearly a quarter block square full of CNC machines dedicated to the task of making metal negative moulds for the purpose of receiving molten metal of various types that produce rough casting of items for nearly all applications. One of those applications just happened to be the crank cases, heads and barrels for the Parilla family racing go karts. It's a small world, I'd say.
Next morning after two 1mm slices of ham on a dry bun called breakfast, we head out in the VW and drove to Varese to visit Ariete. This is a factory that makes reproductions of rubber parts for many makes of Italian and British bikes. The stuff isn't cheap, but the parts can't be told from original. They make handlebar grips and footpeg rubbers and a few other items for Parilla. I bought a pair of bar grips for $25, since I was there and could eliminate the middleman. Arno had a big list to be filled for his cammy Parillas and got what he needed.
Next stop was Monza, which is just North of Milan. We visited Ruggero Libanore, Italy's premier vintage tank maker. This cheerfull 100lb. fellow with the voice of a 7 footer, has been making tanks since the 40's and knew my Parilla well. He even showed me some pictures of the very bike starting the Milano Taranto in 1953. I had not seen these photos, and I also learned that the DOHC Parillas from the 50's were totally different from the 40's ones in every detail. Apparently they made only four examples, which three were recorded as destroyed. We dug around in Lebanore's old bike stash and discovered two complete early OHC Parillas and a third engine, and no, they are not for sale.
Now that the Italian errand agenda was complete, we headed the 300km down to Modigliana, to Bruno Beccari's house. All this time, Bruno was tracking our progress and when we arrived, he had arranged for many of the Parilla fellows to be on hand for a big noisy Italian style dinner. Mario and Sergio showed up and we all had a great time.
Today is the big day, and one of the main reasons to come to Italy. The Imola Scambio is Europe's biggest swap meet. It is said that there will be 40,000 people attending, with one quarter of them being foreigners. It is nearly six miles around the actual tarmac of the F1 track at Imola. The meet was so big, that it took seven hours to make it around the track. We went back for another round Sunday to see if we could turn up some items for Parillas. In both of the two days, I'd say only two Parillas were for sale among the bazillions of Ducati and Guzzi bikes and parts. In all cases, the Parillas were high-cam 175s, and I noticed two 125cc, 2-stroke motors suitable only as boat anchors (nothing else Parilla). It came home pretty clearly that when it comes to Parilla parts, we have it made, comparatively speaking, to the situation in Europe. It came to me just how valuable Avery's chat line is to all interested Parillisti. Guys, I am speaking globally about this. The chat line really is your life line.
With three days left before the return fight, Bruno, Adelmo (his father), and I began rummaging around in the Parilla museum downstairs. We easily gobbled up the remaining days comparing cammy tuning tips, checking photos, stories, and talking rides and drives.
Two items of note that I've discovered is that there are no more Brevetti clips in Italy of the 31mm and 28mm sizes. Even Sergio has no plans to make more of them, because of the minuscule return for the time. Brevetti, I have learned, is Italian for clip (duh). The other story is that the Parilla factory made one hundred, 5 speed gear clusters. Ten of them were sent to the U.S. and the other 90 were robbed of two of their shifting forks for other projects. The incomplete clusters were sold as scap along with everything else when the factory went into receivership.