Moto F.B.M. (Fabbrica Bolognese Motocicli) 224 Via Battindarno, Bologna, Italy was founded in 1951 by Vittorio Minarelli and Franco Morini, nephew of Alphonso Morini. The two young Italian engineers produced 125 to 250cc motorcycle engines for other makers.
Testi and Sachs helped Minarelli: Since 1933 Testi was a bicycle company owned by Umberto Testi. Umberto’s son Erio Testi worked in his fathers bicycle factory. In 1953 Umberto sent his son Erio Testi to Austria to visit Fichtel and Sachs, and learn about small two stroke engines. After Erio returned, he was hired by Moto FBM, and transferred the Sachs two stroke moped engine manufacturing knowledge to his friend Vittorio Minarelli. That’s why early 60’s Morini, Minarelli and Sachs pistons have the same dimensions.
P-48: In 1954 the P-48 Pettirosso (red breast) was born, a 50cc 2-stroke 2-speed cable-shift engine, destined to become the engine for most popular mopeds in Europe, and later the P3 3-speed version.
Minarelli’s assistant Erio Testi helped develop those FBM moped engines, then later formed his own successful company. That is why Testi bikes all have Minarelli engines.
FBM split: In 1956 Moto FBM (Fabbrica Bolognese Motocicli) split into Fabbrica Bolognese Minarelli and Motori Morini Franco.
F. B. Minarelli (Fabbrica Bolognese Minarelli) 23 Via Melozzo da Forlì, Bologna, Italy was only four blocks away, formed in 1956 from the separation of Minarelli and Morini. The bike maker clients were divided equally in volume, Morini got Beta, Minarelli got the others.
From Wikipedia: In 1956 Minarelli switched to exclusively manufacturing two-stroke engines, in a 20,000 sq. ft. purpose-built factory. It employed 20 technical staff and produced 70 engines a day. These were sold to companies in Italy, other parts of Europe and South America.
Motori Minarelli: In 1967 the company changed its name from F.B. Minarelli to Motori Minarelli, and opened a new plant about 5 miles north, in Calderara di Reno. By the 1970s engine production had reached 250,000 units a year.
Minarelli successfully competed in Grand Prix motorcycle racing with Spanish rider Ángel Nieto winning 125cc world championships in 1979 and 1981.
In 1990 the company began a business relationship with Yamaha. Five years later it employed 350 people and engine production had reached 450,000 units a year.
In 2002, following changes in the world motorcycle market, Motori Minarelli became a member of the Yamaha Group.
By the late 1980’s, mopeds were out of style, and scooters were popular. Minarelli made 49cc two-stroke scooter engines with variators all through the 1990’s and most of the 2000’s. Minarelli has always been behind the scenes, making engines for “everybody”, but not advertising or taking much credit. Many people who own certain scooters don’t know their engine is made by humble and wise Minarelli.
List of manufacturers using Minarelli engines, US-models in red:
AMF, Accossato, Aprilia, Aspes, Atala, Baretta, Benelli, Beta, Bianchi, Bimotor, B.M., Carabela, Cimatti, Concord, Cosmo, Casalini, C.F., Chiordo, Clipic, Cotton, Empolini, Everton, Fantic Motor, F.M.B., Gabbiano, Gadabout, General, Gimk, Gitane, Giulietta, GMK, Record, Gerosa, Gitane, Indian, Intramotor, Intramotor Gloria, Italjet, Lazer, Legnano, Macal, Malanca, M.B., Mebea, Milani, Moto BM, Moto Meteora, Motobee, Motorhispania, Motomarina, Motron, Mondial, Moto Bimm, Moto Gori, MV Agusta, MZV, Oemmeci, Omer, Otus, Pacer, Peripoli, Power, Rieju, Rocvale, Romeo, Safari, Silver Foxi, Snark, Sulky, SWM, Technomoto, Telaimotor, Tempo, Testi, Torpado, Yankee Peddler