Moto Morini was a small manufacturer of high-quality bikes in Bologna. Yes, in the same town as Ducati. They're mostly known outside Italy for their splendid V-Twins of the '70s, namely the 3½ but they had been building motorbikes since after the second World War. Actually their history goes back even further, as Alfonso Morini, the firm's founder, had been involved with 'MM' previously.
So, In the 1960s one of their mainstay production model was the Corsaro (Corsair), available with either a 125cc or 150cc single four stroke engine. It was available in several guises, ranging from basic commuter to sporty commuter, pseudo trail bike (Corsaro Country), competition trail bike (Regolarita) and several more or less sporty bikes.
Apparently some models were also available in the US under (I think) the Sears label - I'm not sure if that was only the larger models or also the Corsaro.
This bike is called the Special in one book, Super Sport on both the new Morini website and in several other sources. It is in fact a rather rare bike, so rare that most Morini books do not even mention it. An obscure, unavailable Italian book does mention its existence though, which was the only confirmation that the bike was indeed, original, and suggests that a few hundred, if that many, were built. Personally, I know of three in total including mine, one in Germany, one Italy and well, mine in the UK.
The bike itself is both very small - it can easily hide behind a 3½ Sport - and very light. Fitted with the 'sporty' engine of the Corsaro series it is surprisingly nippy for a 125cc of this vintage. Fitted with the more powerful Regolarita engine, it would truly fly. Mind you, close to full throttle on a bike like this is frightening enough as it is.
This bike has been resprayed and the emblems have been remanufactured. Apart from the non-original silencer - it's currently fitted with a early seamed 3 ½ Sport silencer instead of the correct Corsaro item - the bike is original. It needs a little bit more work now as the rims and some other chrome parts have started to rust, and I've finally found a supplier for replicas of the original exhaust.
The riding position again reminds one of the later 3½ without rear sets as the pegs are too far forward to allow for a comforable position due to the low clipons. The passenger footrests are rather useless for the average European as one fills the seat nicely alone.
Unfortunately some lowlife stole the ignition key for the bike in early 2004 and I'm still waiting for a replacement, so the bike hasn't been out all year. Still, this has given me some time to compile a to-do list:
Funds and time permitting, the above should hopefully be sorted out over the course of this year.
Feb 2005 Update:
A few days ago a parcel arrived from one of the Italian subscribers to the Morini mailing list. It contained a brand-new ignition key, a set of NOS rear footrests, an NOS rear light glass and a set of front footrest rubbers. Yay! Looks like I'll be able to get the bike back on the road this year after all. All I have to do for this is take those parts off that need rechroming and get it done...