WHERE THE WILDCAT ROAMS.
Love has many faces, some swear their hearts to American iron while others only have eyes for Japanese or German precision, but for our man Chris his only sweetheart was the Parrila.
The once unbeatable Italian brand became Chris’s obsession, but before we get into describing the depths of his devotion let’s give you the cheat sheet on Parilla.
In the 1940’s an Italian family tore apart a Norton and while putting it back together figured that they could do better. Shortly after, an overhead cam single came out of a small factory near Milano and the Parilla name was born. In typical Italian fashion the bike was designed to be a road bike and a weekend club racer. Later that year Giovanni Parilla took several sample models with him to a visit to the USA with the intention of finding an American importer, although unsuccessful at that time he did manage to gain a lot of publicity road testing his plucky 175cc.
For Americans accustomed to 750 and 1200cc Harleys and 500 and 650cc Triumphs dominating the tracks at speeds well over 150km/h, eyebrows were raised when the little Parilla cracked the ton (160km/h) with ease. Legend has it, that the Harley brothers cornered Giovanni after a race to try and extract what exactly was making that 175cc bike run like lighting! Giovanni was happy to give them the recipe for his mothers Pasata but what propelled his bikes like whippets would remain secret.
By the 70s Parillas heyday was well and truly over and the company went under with Cosmopolitan Motors. Which is why guys like Chris are a special breed, he isn’t a deep pocket collector who goes into the wild with a blank check looking for the perfect Parilla to add to his collection.
Every Parilla kept in his cave was restored to perfect working order by Chris him self, paying homage to the Parilla family. The bikes look like they came right off the factory line back in 1946. Chris has gone to extraordinary lengths to get his rare jewels back to their original glory from building his very own header pipe bender to piecing together frames piece by piece. Giovanni would be proud of Chris’s devotion and care!
But his obsession doesn’t quite stop at restoring these bikes, he also stretches their legs when ever he can racing them at home and abroad - Chris’s Parrilas are no showroom queens.
Chri’s latest project is a Parrila Wildcat 250. A loud and fast as hell, all-purpose dirt bike with the looks to match. When he sent us a picture of his Wildcat, Deus master illustrator Carby Tuckwell couldn’t resist immortalising the beautiful proportions in two dimensions. Check out the Wildcat Tee right here!