WHAT HAPPENED TO MONTESA?
When Bultaco and Ossa went bankrupt. Montesa was the last
of the Spanish triumvirate. Unfortunately, the same union strikes
that had killed their competitors almost killed Montesa in 1983.
The doors were barred, but luckily Honda stepped in to take over
88 percent of the company. Honda’s investment, along with a
Spanish government stipulation that Honda would continue
to produce bikes in Spain, allowed Honda to bypass Europe’s
restrictive import tariffs. The new company still produces small
street bikes, mopeds and Honda trials bikes to this day. Pedro
Permanyer passed away on March 20, 1987, at the age of 75.
June of 1945. Pedro took possession of the first bike to
roll off the line, and Juan Soler Bulto got the second one.
Bulto would eventually own 31 percent of Montesa before
breaking away to start his own company—Bultaco. That
first year Montesa produced 21 motorcycles.
The first Montesa motocross bikes were imported into
the United States in 1963 by Kim Kimball. As a side
note, race car drivers Dan Gurney, Ritchie Ginter, Mickey
Thompson and Phil Hill were shareholders in Montesa USA.
The first U.S. model was the Impala 175 Cross, which was
called the Scrambler in America. The Impala Scrambler was
eventually replaced by the new 250cc and 360cc Cappra
models. The dealership network had 360 dealers at its pinnacle. John DeSoto, Mike Runyard, Tim Hart, Ron Self, Peter
Lamppu and Ron Nelson campaigned Montesas in motocross,
while Kenny Roberts and Eddie Mulder raced dirt track.