From the Moto Rumi Club website:

"The Rumi organisation was formed at the beginning of the last century and originally supplied cast components to the textile machinery industry. At the outbreak of the second World War, Rumi became involved in the manufacture of armaments, miniture submarines and torpedoes. After the end of the war, in 1950, Rumi decided to get involved in the manufacture of lightweight motorcycles, it was also decided to base the powerplant on the horizontal twin two stroke unit of 125cc capacity. In 1952 with the popularity of scooters Rumi started manufacturing the Squirrel or Scoiottolo a pressed steel monocoque body with tubular swinging arm rear suspension and teleforks with 14 inch wheels and three gears, subsequent models had a four speed gearbox and electric starter and was reputed to be the fastest scooter then in production.

In 1952 Rumi was producing the "sports" and "super sport" motorcycle models, (single and twin carburettor versions respectively). The "super sport" was superceded by the "Competitzoine" or "Gobbetto" a pure factory racer, a "Competitzoine" won the Italian National Championship in 1954. During 1955 the "Competitzione" was superceded by the "Junior Corsa" and "Junior Gentleman" . 1954 brought the production of the Formichino or Little ant scooter which was reputedly designed by Ing Salvatti. The entire body (with exception of the front forks , crash rails and legshields) were produced in cast aluminium with the front and rear castings bolted to the engine to form a monocoque which resulted in a light and rigid construction, the rear swinging arm, chaincase and silencer box were also constructed in cast aluminium. These models had originally 8 inch wheels but by 1958 they reverted to 10 inch which gave a better stability and ground clearance.

In 1958 thy also produced a sports version called the "Tipo Sport" which had a larger carburettor, larger exhaust pipes and a higher compression ratio. In 1957/58 and 1960 Rumi won the famous Bol d'or 24 hour races at Montlhery in France and subsequently Rumi produced the Bol d'or scooter named after the race. In the UK it sported dropped handlebars, chrome plated aluminium cylinders and twin carburettors but the French version favoured the Bol d'or with a single 22mm carburettor. Unfortunately during the 1960s Rumi went into liquidation and Donnino Rumi the archangel of the Rumi motorcycles and scooters went back to his prime love of being a sculptor and artist."

From the Moto Rumi Club:

"The launch of the "Formichino" (or "Little Ant" as it is nicknamed), took place in 1954 and, according to Rumi's plans, the machine was to take the company into the newly formed scooter sector dominated at that time by Piaggio, with the "Vespa", and Innocenti, with the "Lambretta".

The styling of this splendid scooter was undoubtedly the work of Donnino Rumi and demonstrated his artistic talent. It is said that he built a life size clay model around an engine mounted on trestle.

The stressed aluminum alloy bodywork was essentially divided into two parts:
the front divided in turn into two shells, which incorporated the front forks, the headlight and the fuel tank; and the rear sections which constituted the seat base and the mudguard over the driven wheel.

The production of the aluminum castings was handled by the Metalpress Company of Bergamo, Italy. The firm was part of the Rumi industrial group and specialised in diecasting techniques. The engine was intelligently located at the center of the machine and acted as a stress member connecting the two chassis elements. It was equipped right from the start with a four speed gearbox and the same engine was used to power the contemporary "Sport" and "Turismo" models, a fact that did a lot to simplify production processes. Deliveries began in July 1954 and the first examples put into circulation were fitted with a single leading link front suspension system. This was a very well made, but expensive, feature and subsequent standard production models adopted a fork with two lower leading links.

In 1956, modifications were made to the rear section of the bodywork, which was split into two parts instead of being formed froma single casting. Veglia speedometer-odometer was mounted on the handlebar. A year later, the Milan Trade Fair was again the setting for the presentation of the "Sport" model, distinguished by new aluminum cylinder barrels and a carburetor with a 22mm choke tube in this form, the engine's power output rode to 5hp and top speed to 105kph.

The "Formichino" range was further extended in 1955 when new versions were introduced alongside the "Normale" (Standard) and "Sport". The "ST-EC" model featured pressed steel bodywork, a tubular frame and a tubular steel front fork. The EC part of the name stood for "Economical" and in fact the scooter was sold for just 125,000 lira. A few hundred examples were produced, mostly designed for export markets. This version was painted British Racing Green with white stripes on the tank.

The "Formichino Lusso" was practically the same as the standard model but was equipped with a number of accessories such as a dual seat, cast aluminum footrests for the passenger, chromed hubcaps and a chromed strip on the rear mudguard. On request it could be equipped with 3.50 x 10" tires and the color range was considerably widened.

Following the first place successes obtained at Monthlery in the 1957 and the 1958 Bol d'Or events, the scooter was also offered in a special "Bol d'Or" edition. This version was specifically prepared for endurance races and, not surprisingly , it was painted gold. The engine developed 8.5hp at 7200rpm, a degree of performance that was achieved by fitting special chrome barreled aluminum cylinders, as well as two Dell 'Orto 18mm carburetors. On request, the machine could also be supplied with 22mm carburetors. Improved suspension was also fitted to this model, as were 3.50 x 10" tires and a supplementary fuel tank. Tank decals on the "Sport" and "Bol d'Or" versions included the usual Rumi trademark, plus the Italian flag, as on the competition models.

Again in 1958 a version fitted with a 149.9 cm3 engine was introduced throughout the model range. This unit had a bore of 46mm and a stroke of 45mm and developed 9hp at 6500rpm. In 1959, the "Normale" model remained in production unchanged, whilst the "Sport" was fitted with the chrome barreled aluminum cylinders and fitted with 3.50 x 10" tires as standard equipment.

Production of the "Formichino" only ceased when the motorcycle division of the "Fonderie Officine Rumi" finally closed down in 1962."

[ HOME | Maintenance | Parts | Misc. Data | Photos | Links ]

This website is sponsered by:

Click Here to browse over 50,000 rare vinyl titles