Vintique Motors is thrilled to present this 1955 O.C.M.A. Devil 160 Raid!
The long-established Northern Italina firm, O.C.M.A., short for Officine Costruzioni Martinelli di Bergamo, was a manufacturer of gears supplying Fiat and Ansaldo prior to WWII. After perceiving the growing demand for affordable and efficient personal transportation during Italy’s recovery, the company began producing motorcycles in 1953 under the name Moto Devil, a curiously named marque in a predominantly Catholic country.
Engineer William Soncini distinguished himself with a series of two-stroke motorcycles ranging from 49cc to 175cc earning the Devil marque a number of racing victories in 1955 and 1956. In addition to the successful 160cc two-stroke platform, Devil also built a four-stroke 20bhp 175 overhead valve single-cylinder race bike that topped 100mph; very fast for the time. Devil’s top-of-the-line 160 Raid production bike featured a compact, modern frame similar to the race version, with its tubular double-cradle design only slightly modified to accommodate the air filter at the left rear. Other minor changes included raising the large fenders a few inches from the wheels and placing two metal trunks below the seats to carry necessary tools and spare parts.
Very few Raids were built and most were painted red, with this example in painted in white being exceedingly rare. Although a good performer, the company’s 160cc bikes may have suffered from appearing too similar to rival MV Agusta’s highly touted 150cc engine that debuted the same year; and its 175cc was matched, perhaps unfairly, with Moto Parilla’s entry. Devil racers were frequently successful, but the company was unable to achieve the ultimate victory, a Grand Prix championship, and pressures from its competitors forced the company’s closure in 1957.
The Devil features a 158cc air cooled 2-stroke single cylinder engine producing 7.5 horsepower with a single 24mm Dell’Orto carburetor and mated to a 4-speed manual transmission. It features a magneto electrical system with a telescopic fork front suspension, dual shock rear suspension, and front and rear drum brakes. It weighs 207lbs and with a 0.48-gallon fuel tank it has an estimated top speed of 68mph and 105mpg fuel economy.
This 1955 model is finished in white with a dark red and black Aquila seat. It was restored to concours condition and proceeded to be ridden just 82 kilometers before being put into museum mode for long term display between November 2011 and July 2012 at the San Francisco Airport in the International terminal as part of a 12-motorcycle exhibit dubbed “Moto Bellissima: Italian Motorcycles from the 1950s and 1960s”. The bike is still currently in museum mode, ideal for displaying, but could be reactivated with a light servicing.
In addition to the Moto Bellissima exhibition, other accolades bestowed upon it are Best of Show at the AMCA vintage motorcycle gathering at the Gilmore Muesum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, Design of Distinction ribbon at Eyes on Design in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, 3rd place in class at the Detroit Autorama, and several other awards at other local events.