Honda Impala plus more at the 75 years of rare motorcycle history exhibition

  • The exhibition “Montesa, the forge of a myth” can be visited at the Palau Robert on the Paseo de Gracia in Barcelona, ​​from June 9 to September 6.
  • The sample includes 43 motorcycle models, among which stand out mythical specimens such as Impala, Cota and Brío.
  • Montesa currently manufactures 5 models of trial motorcycles exclusively for everyone


Montesa commemorates 75 years of history with an exhibition at the Palau Robert, between June 9 and September 6, which recovers his career in the motor industry. In 2020, 75 years of the oldest motor brand at the national level and one of the longest-lived in the world are celebrated, since the presentation of the first motorcycle that would launch a business adventure characterized by sporting successes in the motor world, and for the emblematic designs of the motorcycle models.

The exhibition “Montesa, the forge of a myth”, takes a chronological tour of the brand founded by Pere Permanyer, exposing 43 different models of motorcycles to the public, donated by various collectors and by the Permanyer Collection of the Museum of Science and Technology from Terrassa. They emphasize mythical models of the motor industry such as: the Impala, the Brío, the Cota, the Cappra, and other more surprising models such as the Mini Mini or the first model that left the factory, the A-45.

The exhibition wants to show through its route certain objectives that, according to Pep Itchart and Santi Ruiz, curators of the exhibition, are essential to understand what the brand meant for the national industry and for the history of the motor even in Europe and in the world. “The common thread is industrial production. Montesa becomes an example of how an idea, which responds to the needs of its historical context, reached industrialization at a time when it was very difficult to achieve it, and how over time a well-made product is recognized by their sporting successes and market acceptance ”, they affirm.

The exhibition shows the importance of research, experimenting with new engines and technical solutions for various disciplines of motorcycle practice. According to Itchart and Ruiz, “Montesa’s life is in turn a sign of improvement. When the socioeconomic context was not favorable, the agreement and subsequent absorption by Honda allowed the brand to subsist with a new range of trial models that now, with the pilot Toni Bou, represent the absolute domain of the World Championship ”.


The exhibition takes a journey through the history of Montesa from three periods:

From 1945 to 1962: from the start of the adventure to Operation Impala.

The visit opens with the figure of Pere Permanyer as the great architect of Montesa’s business and industrial adventure, with the aim of offering a new form of mobility to a society that is beginning to leave behind the post-war hardships.

The partnership with engineer Francesc Xavier Bultó complemented Permanyer’s motorcycle manufacturing and innovative spirit with a sporty character and participation in competitions. Together they founded Montesa, at a time when resources, industry and specialized labor were not available. The first sporting successes, the link with the Montjuïc circuit and the adventure of running to Europe in mythical events such as the Duch TT or the Isle of Man stand out. Commercial successes force the relocation of the small factory on Corsica street in Barcelona to the plant on Calle Pamplona to produce the Brío model.

This period ends with the departure of Bultó from society and a consequent new industrial approach. The famous Operation Impala, where three pre-series motorcycles of the future Impala model crossed the African continent, from South Africa to Tunisia, covering more than 20,000 km. The Impala was, in 1962, the response to a few years of effort by the team of designer Leopoldo Milá. A model that still circulates in the streets of cities like Barcelona and has become a symbol for more than three generations. Seven motorcycles, in addition to two motors and mechanical devices developed and patented by Montesa, explain this period.

From 1963 to 1986: the expansion of Montesa.

The firm transfers its production from Poblenou to the new Esplugues de Llobregat factory. The market launch of the Montesa Impala and its great reception boosted sales. The Impala’s monobloc engine was the basis for models from other disciplines such as cross, trial and, later, enduro.

The growth of the fondness for off-road in Spain and, especially, in the United States, promoted Montesa’s commitment to the international market. It was the time of the launch of the Cappra, the King Skorpion, the Texas, or the Cota, a model that is still in production today after 52 years and that represents the longest-lived motor vehicle that has been manufactured in Spain. It is a frenetic stage of launching new models including the commercialization of a range of mopeds that would end up giving excellent commercial results.

The specialization was accompanied by international successes in these sports disciplines, highlighting the first World Trial Championship achieved by Ulf Karlson in 1980, but the drop in sales in the early 1980s would pose a threat to the viability of the company. . From this period 26 motorcycles and three motors are exposed, some experimental.

From 1986 until today: Montesa and Honda and the golden age of high competition.

Honda’s entry involved initiating a manufacturing agreement for Honda models at the Esplugues de Llobregat plant. The collaboration led to Honda’s interest in acquiring Montesa, maintaining the brand for trial models. The contribution of new technology allowed the development of new 4-stroke engines for trial models, with which Montesa continues to be the world benchmark.

Honda’s commitment to Montesa’s specialization in trial has consolidated a powerful team of riders who have achieved great world successes in recent years, such as Marc Colomer, Douguie Lampkin, Laia Sanz, Takahisa Fujinami and the great world dominator of the specialty in the last 12 years, Toni Bou, who accumulate more than 71 world titles. Ten bikes are exposed from this period.

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