La Impala

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The Montesa Impala

The Montesa Impala is the most popular model of the whole Montesa production. Considering the different variations of Impala, Montesa built more than 55.000 units, from 1962 to 1972, not counting the remake build from 1982 to 1988.

Going back in time to 1958: a young man called Leopoldo Milá (Barcelona 1921- 2006) got in charge of the technical department of Montesa, after F.X. Bultó, co-funder of Montesa, left the company (together with most of the technical staff) to found his own company, Bultaco.

Milá had a 175cc prototype in his head, a new and original 2-stroke motorcycle,  strong and comfortable.  Reliability had to be the issue, and the testing had to be as demanding: a three months journey and 20. 000km through the worst possible roads, the african ones.

In 1961 three  prototypes of the new model  of Montesa Impalas, crossed Africa from south to north in the so called “Impala Operation”, a very popular expedition which gave the name to the new model.

This model was officialy introduced in 1962 and it achieved the best commercial and sportive success. The Impala was made in a time where, with little changes, the motorbikes adapted very fast to different disciplines. It was used to take farmers to their fields, to go out on a ride, to cross Africa or compete in road races or to win the 24 hours competition in Montjuic, Barcelona. The basis of everything is a simple 2 stroke monocylinder engine and a very stable frame.

The Montesa Impala got the Golden Delta award in industrial design in 1962. Leopoldo Milá became the father of many new and awarded models, like the Montesa “Cota 247” distinguished with a Silver Delta award in 1967.

Thousands of Impalas drive happily around the streets, and not only in Spain. Some are perfectly restored, others still show proudly the original  gloss, after decades of use. The unique motor sound, the rounded tank, the guitar shaped seat and overall the simple, clean and perfect design of Leopoldo Milá, continues being a reference in the spanish motorbike production.

(Text from blog "Cinema sobre dues rodes")

Impala ALTAYA