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Malaguti-Express (1958)

by Bernard Soler-Thèbes

Despite their radically different views on the subject, the Germans and Italians are often both associated with the manufacture of beautiful sports-mopeds.

During the mid-'50s the Italians were effectively specialising in 49cc four-stroke engines - very expensive to make; as for the Germans, they weren't so good at designing racy and elegant machines.  These are the reasons behind the German company Zündapp getting complete sets of cycle parts from IMN-Paperino, the Italian company Viberti using Victoria engines from Germany, etc ...

A restored Malaguti with a German Express engine was recently exhibited in Italy.  There is no doubt that a sports moped of this form was really produced: Malaguti exhibited one at the 1957 Milan show - but without engine or wheels.  But was the machine really produced under the Malaguti name?  Yes, we think so ... well 99%.  What does appear strange is that there is an Express emblem (a leaping greyhound) on the front mudguard; but collectors have been known to make mistakes in their restorations!  Equally, it could have been that this moped could have been available under both marques.  Whatever, it is an historically interesting machine and deserves the "Malaguti-Express" title that it has been given.  Perhaps one of you knows the answer to this enigma.

Express engine specifications
Engine Two-stroke
Bore & stroke 42mm × 36mm
Compression ratio 6:1
Power 1.25hp @ 5,600rpm
Primary transmission chain
Clutch two discs
Gearbox 2- or 3-speeds
Lighting output 17W @ 6V

First published - August 1995

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