A Brief History of the Marque
The firm was established in 1928 by Marcel Brunelière in Machecoul as a bicycle manufacturer, the firm adopting the name Micmo Gitane after Marcel's nickname, meaning Gypsy. Production of motorcycles began in 1951, and during the following years lightweight roadsters and motocross machines with engines of 49cc to 198cc were produced using engines from Ydral, Vap, Mistral, Itom and Sachs.
In 1957, 369 125cc Gitanes were made utilising Ydral engines.
The Gitane had two models the YL and the YL Sport. The YL Sport had a dual seat and flat handlebars. Production of 125 and 175cc Ydral powered machines ceased in 1969.
During the 1950s the firm took part in many sporting events.
There was a collaboration with the Italian company Testi, with some 13 different models marketed as the Gitane-Testi. Among them were very attractive P6 Minarelli-powered 50cc machines which were available with pedals or kickstarter. Most had a double-drum SLS front brake (possibly Grimeca), and some were fitted with a disc. Forks by Ceriani, Delorto carburettor, premix of 4%.
Another desirable model was the Super Corssa in full-race trim - full fairing, expansion chamber, racing seat, long skinny tank, Marzocchi forks, alloy rims, rearsets and with a 19mm carbie capable of a very healthy 130 km/h. Not strictly legal in those days of 45 km/h speed restrictions on mopeds.
Other Gitane-Testi models:
Grand Prix GPLP4SC 1970
Grand Prix GPLP4ST 1970
Grand Prix GPLP4SS 1970
Champion 6 Speed
Champion Super 1972
Champion Super Luxe 1972
Grand Prix 1972
Super Corsa 1972
Champion Super Luxe 1973
Grand Prix 1973
Compétition Client 1973
Champion Super 1974
Champion Polyester 1974
Grand Prix 1974
Champion Veloce 1974
Compétition Client 1974
Grand Prix 3 vitesses 1975
Grand Prix 4 vitesses 1975
Champion Super 1975
Champion Veloce Cantilever 1976
Minarelli engines used in Gitane-Testi models:
P6CS, P6S, P3N, P4S, P4P, P6-4, P6S
The new French moped laws of June 1st 1980 put paid to the venture, and production ceased in 1983.
club-ydral.ne, Pierre Astier
NotesThere are three similarly named marques: Moto Gitan of Italy, and two French brands, Le Gitan and Gitane.
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