Bultaco 50cc GP Racer – 55kg – 18.5hp – 205 km/h

Bultaco 50cc GP Racer

With Phil Aynsley


The success of Bultaco’s 50cc GP motorcycle had quite a complicated history. We’ll take a look…

Bultaco GP Racer 50cc

Dutch duo Jan Thiel (engine) and Martin Mijwaart (chassis) designed their Jamathi 50cc racer before the big class rule change that came into effect at the start of the 1970 season – the main one being the ban on multi -cylinder engines. The bike won several GP victories in the years ’68-’74.

These results saw Edidio Piovaticci (interestingly a Peso-based woodworking machinery manufacturer – the same as Morbidelli) contract the duo to supply 50 and 125cc bikes to his rider Eugenio Lazzarini for the 1975 season. The 50cc Piovaticci saw the he introduction of a stainless steel monocoque frame fitted with rebadged Jamathi engines and saw Lazzarini finish second behind Angel Nieto on the Kreidler.

A 1977 ex-Tormo Bultaco 50 that finished third
A 1977 ex-Tormo Bultaco 50 that finished third

When Piovaticci’s business ran into difficulties at the end of the season, it was Nieto who convinced the Spanish Motorcycle Federation, its main sponsor, to buy the whole team – which was transferred to Barcelona under the management of Bultaco. Nieto went on to win the ’76 and ’77 titles on the bikes – now known as the TTS Mk2. The 1976 title was the first won by a motorcycle with a monocoque frame.

In 1977, two more bikes were built without the stock frame reinforcing ribs. These bikes were primarily ridden by Ricardo Tormo, who won the ’78 championship. Bultaco also made four privateer replicas, based on Tormo’s bike (keeping one), but these used cast alloy crankcases, whereas the works bikes had always used the original Jamathi machined from crankcases solid. Six additional replicas were then built in 1979.

A 1977 ex-Tormo Bultaco 50 that finished third
Bultaco 50cc GP Racer

The bike seen here is a 1977 ex-Tormo machine on which he finished third in the championship that year and took the title the following year with five wins and two second places out of seven rounds. In 1979 the motorcycle was sold to privateer Daniel Mateos, equipped with a customer engine. He finished second in the Spanish 50cc Championship that year.

After passing through another pair of hands, the bike was purchased by the current owner in late 1982 and was recently painstakingly restored by one of the Bultaco mechanics who worked on it at the time. Power was 18.5 bhp at 15,500 rpm, with a dry weight of just 55.5 kg. The maximum speed was 205 km/h.

Wiley C. Thompson