The Benelli fim was founded in 1911 near Persaro Italy by the six Benelli brothers. Soon they achieved fame with their extremely fast racing motorcycles. Toninio Benelli was  four times Italian champion in the 175cc class in the late 1029's. There where also many other riders who brought fame to the Benelli compagny. Some of these famous names are, Brusi (Italian champ 175cc 1929, Ted Mellors ( winner of the Lightweight TT Man 1939), Dario Ambrosini (world champion 250cc 1950), Leopoldo Taterini (winner Giro d’Italia), Tarquino Provini, Kel Carruthers (world champion 250cc 1969), Renzo Pasolini and  Walter Villa.   

Benelli also built many streetbikes prior to WW2.   These were single cylinders, from 175cc, 250cc and 500cc.  Following WW2 the factory was rebuilt and resumed with small two stroke bikes, "Letzia" 98c and "Leoncino" 125cc. In the mid 1950's new four-stroke bikes such as the "Leonessa"250cc twin and "Leoncino" 125 single were introduced.

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250 single cylinder Benelli racebike

In 1948 Guisseppe grounded his own marque "Moto B" what later became "MotoBi". The "Motobi" factory was acquired in 1962 by the Benelli family following Guissepe's death and Benelli produced the same engine in different sizes until 1972.

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250 single cylinder Benelli racebike

In the late 60's Benelli introduced a new twin the 650cc "Tornado." In 1971 the Benelli factory was in financial trouble and the factory had to sell out to Alesandro de Tomaso. He spent a lot of money on the factory and in the end of 1972 he shocked the world with the first six cylinder bike for road use, the "750 Sei". Based on this engine he will build a hole range off four and six cylinder machines. The last motorcycle that Benelli built  under his direction was the Jarno 125 in 1986.  In 1989 the factory was sold to the frim Selci. They only built 50cc’s machines - the Scooty and Devil. In 1996 they sold the factory to Andrea Merloni.  In 1997 Merloni came with his first scooter the 491, It was followed in quick succession by the 491 GT, 491 Superbike, 491 Army, K2 , K2 Namur and Pepe all these bikes having 50cc engines. Then, in 1998 he came out with the first motor scooter, witch was called the VELVET and available in 125, 150 and 250cc versions. On the scooter front he present a  new design in 1999, this one being called the "ADIVA" a scooter with a roof available in 125 and 150cc four stroke versions.  On 21 July 1999 Benelli presented the new "BENELLI TORNADO 900 TRE". Benelli also plans to have the "WSB Tornado Racer"ready for the 2001 season.

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