Please note that the cars or exhibit items shown in this database are part of our collection but may not be on display when you visit.
Fonderie Officine Rumi, the Rumi Foundries, were established by Gabrielle Rumi in Bergamo, Italy in 1906. Gabrielle’s son, Donnino, began working at the foundry at the age of 12. His work was casting metal, but his passion was painting, drawing, and sculpture, at which he was gifted and classically trained. Donnino assumed management of the foundry in the 1920s, with art taking a back seat. During WWII, Donnino refused to work with the Germans, and fought (and was subsequently jailed) as a Partisan. During the war years, the foundry churned out bronze propellers, anchors, torpedoes, and periscopes for submarines. After the war, Donnino returned to help rebuild the factory, concentrating on textile machinery and, later, light motorcycles and scooters.
Moto Rumi, the branch of the Rumi foundries that produced motorcycles and scooters, was only active from 1950-1960. While wildly popular on Italy’s strade, during this short span the factory also enjoyed numerous endurance and sprint racing victories, most notably the 24 hour Bal d’Or at Montlhéry, France. All the Rumi bikes, both motorcycle and scooter, were based on their 125cc horizontal twin and some excellent engineering.
The Formichino (Little Ant) seen here is made up of only a few aluminum castings – a nod to Rumi’s expertise with metal. The engine is actually a structural member, part of the frameless monocoque, with the castings attached front and rear. This lightweight approach gave a decided performance advantage over the conventional steel-framed Vespas and Lambrettas on Italy’s roads, and added to their appeal. It’s also a beautiful sculptural piece, both functional and fast. After Rumi’s three Italian Speed Championships in 1957, ’58, and ’60, Vespa upped their game and Rumi was unable to compete. He ceased bike production in 1960, and closed the foundry in 1962. Donnino returned to his first love, painting and sculpture, until his death in 1980.
Donnino’s grandson, Stefano, established Rumi Sport Race Engineering in 2009, and has developed both 125cc and 250cc racing motorcycles with some success.
Manufacturer: Moto Rumi SpA
Country of Origin: Italy
Drivetrain Configuration: Mid-engine, monocoque, rear drive
Engine: Air-cooled two-stroke, horizontal twin, 124.68cc, 6.5HP
Transmission: 4 speed, wet clutch
Top Speed: 75 km/h (47 MPH)
Years of Production: 1954-1960
Number Produced: Unknown
Cost: 138,000 lire ($226 USD)