Vesty strikes Gold

Bultaco ‘Manuel Soler’ 1977 Factory Sherpa found in USA:

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The prototype 199 model of 1977 discovered in the USA as found by Yrjo Vesterinen – Photo: Y. Vesterinen

For those of you that are interested in Bultacos, Trials Guru would like to show you some pictures of the latest ‘treasure’ from the USA, unearthed by none other than three times FIM World Trials Champion, Yrjo Vesterinen.

Vesty had been offered the machine where it has been laying for many years unused in the USA, having been bought after the 1977 world round, ridden by works development rider, Manuel Soler.

It’s hard to imagine that Manuel Soler rode the world championship round in the USA at Port Huron and that this bike was sold into private ownership 40 years ago.

The Bultaco factory had shipped works bikes out to the USA for their riders to compete in the world series, but logistics dictated that it was cheaper to sell the bikes off in the USA through importer ‘Bultaco International Ltd’ than repatriate them back to Spain. So this particular machine was sold for $600 to a private buyer on 12th September 1977 on the factory’s behalf.

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The rear top suspension mount is doubled for experimental shock positioning – Photo: Y. Vesterinen

The most visible difference between this and the standard bike are the dual mounting points for the rear shocks. Most other modifications are hidden from view.

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Similarly the lower shock mounts are doubled on the swinging arm which was not gusseteed for the 199 model, this would be done for the subsequent 199A version – Photo: Y. Vesterinen

These include a works air-filter box, a modified cylinder barrel and a new gearbox that gave a much higher top gear, something Scottish Six Days Trial competitors welcomed. Most other things are cosmetic like a slimmer fuel tank and a lower seat were fitted by the factory. The lower seat being a favourite item by works rider and Bulto family member, Soler.

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The crankcases were machined to take the high top gear pinion, a feature of the production model 199 Sherpa of 1977 – Photo: Y. Vesterinen

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Inside the beast, the porting of the cylinder barrel is non standard – Photo: Y. Vesterinen

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The real deal, the factory air boxes differed from standard – Photo: Y. Vesterinen

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Yrjo Vesterinen says that water ingress has caused some corrosion damage within the clutch case – Photo: Y. Vesterinen

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A 1977 photograph clearly shows the doubled shock mounts on Manuel Soler’s prototype 199 Sherpa

Along with the machine came paperwork showing the sale in September 1977 of the machine into private ownership.

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The bill of sale from September 1977 of this very special Sherpa prototype – Photo: Y. Vesterinen

This is without question the prototype for what would become the model 199 Sherpa of 1977and will be of particular interest to those who own or have owned a model 199 Sherpa. – All Photos: Y. Vesterinen

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Factory publicity photo of the Sherpa 199 of 1977, a direct descendant of the prototype that Yrjo Vesterinen has repatriated from the USA – Photo: Bultaco Motorcycles, Spain

Vesty has promised to update us of the restoration of this very historic Bultaco over the next few months, here on Trials Guru.

To Be Continued……

Article copyright: Trials Guru & Y. Vesterinen 2017

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