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Benelli 4TN

[img] 1935 Benelli 4TN, 500cc OHC. See also: side-valve Benelli 500 VLM

The company was started in 1911 (according to other sources: 1914) by Benelli brothers in Pesaro, Italy. It is said that Teresa Benelli, a widow, had sunk all of the family capital into the business, in hope that it would offer stable work for her six sons: Giuseppe, Giovanni, Francesco, Filippo, Domenico and Antonio. In the beginning it was just the "Benelli Garage". The brothers repaired cars and motorcycles and produced spare parts.

Their first original design was 75cc engine, designed by Giuseppe and Giovanni Benelli and presented at Milan show in 1920, where it was warmly received. The engine was enlarged to 98cc and used to power first Benelli motorcyle, launched in 1921. After introducing necessary modifications, Benelli brothers debuted at races in 1923. First Benelli racing machine was ridden by Antonio Benelli ("Tonino"). Tonino was the winner at Italian Championship in 1927, 1928, 1930 and 1931, In first three cases he was riding Benelli 175 single overhead camshaft version, and in 1931 - Benelli 175 double overhead camshaft version. With this machine he won second place in the Championship of Europe, behind his teammate Carlo Baschieri. Sadly Antonio's racing career was broken by a bad crash in 1932.

In 1930 the Benelli had more than 1,000 workers. There were also road versions of famous Benelli OHC bikes, and model 4TN is an excellent example of sporty roadbike produced by Benelli in 30s.

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