Friday, April 9, 2010


While technically not a garage per se, John Goldman's warehouse-cum-architectural office houses an incredible collection of Italian lightweight motorcycles, a testament to what a few years of focus on a specific target will yield.  An architect by day, with a specialty in contemporary church design, the rest of his life (and his home!) is filled with his passion for rare racing and road machinery.

John's passion is F.B. (Fratelli Boselli) Mondial  machines, and while seeking an example of every machine made by this upstart little company, he has come up with several unique ex-Works racing bikes, which rank with NSU's works 'Fox' racers as probably the most beautiful motorcycles ever made.

Mondial made its reputation in 1948 by building a 125cc dohc racer, which began winning races and setting world speed records straight off the drawing board.  As most 125cc motorcycles and racers were single-cylinder two-stroke machines, the twin-cam Mondials completely outclassed the competition.

With the introduction of the World Championship racing series in 1949, Mondials won every single GP race in 1949, 50, and 51, securing three titles in easy succession.  It took that long for rivals like MV Agusta, Morini, and Benelli to design and develop their own multi-cam and multi-cylinder exotica for the small capacity racing classes, after which things were not so easy for the tiny FB Mondial factory.  Changes in design staff (that initial engine was designed by Drusiani) and stiff competition meant a second place in the 1952 World Championship, with MV Agusta winning.  The #77 Mondial in these photos is believed the 1951 World Championship bike, ridden by Carlo Ubbiali, who was the winningest rider ever in the 125cc and 250cc championships, with 9 World Titles, all on MV Agustas, barring this solitary Mondial 125.

It took another 5 years before Mondial was back on top of the podium, with a new engine designed by Drusiani, who had left to work on his own machine - the Moto Comet - but returned after that venture failed.  The 1957 season saw first place in both the 125cc and 250cc World Championships, and the machine pictured with the 'Dustbin' fairing is one of the 1957 ex-Works 125cc dohc machines, ridden either by Sammy Miller or Cecil Sandford to 4th or 6th place, respectively, in that year's GP World Championship.  This machine is coming up for auction at the Bonhams sale at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering on May 8th.  It is believed to be the only correctly restored 1957 Works Mondial in existence, and I'll write another post about this amazing motorcycle.

Mondials aren't John's only obsession, and his Moto Rumis have been featured in my previous post from the MotoConcorso Italiano.  The street model Turismo Velocita with the chrome tank is a one-year-only first year production machine, and extremely rare.  Rarer still beside it is a 'Gobetto' racer, perhaps the only original and correct and running example in the world.  

A look at the timing side of the Gobetto motor shows an oil line to the magneto chain!  And one wonders why old race bikes are covered in black paste after a hard race...  Note also the unique cloverleaf pattern bolt heads on the engine plates; this design is unique to Rumi, and is a precursor to the 'torx' bolts now common in the auto industry.  Motorcycle engineers usually had novel ideas roving in many directions....

The library is a study of beauty, and John is selling two of these machines so he can access his books again!  The 1952 Moto Guzzi 250cc Airone, and the 1954 Mondial 160cc Sport Lusso will both come under the hammer at the Bonhams auction in a few weeks' time, and will be slightly more affordable than the 'Dustbin' GP bike!  Both very fine restorations.

While the downstairs of his loft is half-devoted to his architectural office, John's mezzanine is his home, and of course houses yet more Mondials, even in his bedroom.  My favorite is this late 60s original-paint 50cc two-stroke hotrod, with Gieger-esque tank and total-overkill Campagnolo mechanical disc brake.  Cooler than cool.

Thanks for sharing John!