PAGE 34. French (Italian) Cyclemotors: Mosquito History & Mosquito 38A

Obviously the Mosquito was designed and built in Italy. However, it was also built under license in France and Britian. After the Velosolex and the VAP, it is the 3rd most popular French ‘moteur-auxiliaire’ so I’ve included it in this French section of the Cyclemaster Museum.



History of Garelli and Mosquito

At age 22, Adalberto Garelli received a degree in engineering and dedicated his work to developing and perfecting the 2-stroke engine for Fiat. He quit in 1911 due to Fiat’s lack of enthusiasm for the 2-stroke engine, and continued his own engine design between 1911 and 1914 which resulted in the 350cc split-single. Garelli worked for other motorcycle manufacturers from 1914 to 1918 during which time he won a competition organized by the Italian Army to design a motorcycle with which he used his 350cc split-single engine.

After WWI Garelli began to produce motorcycles in his own factory. The Garelli 350cc split-single stayed in production until 1926 and made a major impact in racing. By 1928 his motorcycle interest was waning and his factory began producing military equipment leaving motorcycle production completely.


After WWII, military equipment was no longer needed and Garelli introduced an engine called the Mosquito. The Model 38A began in 1946 as a clip-on engine for a bicycle frame. The concept was a huge success over two million of the engines were sold worldwide. Power was delivered to the back wheel via a friction wheel and was able to reach a top speed of 20mph.

They opened a branch in France too. In 1952, an endurance run illustrated the reliability of the Mosquito, with continuous use for 55 days.

The Mosquito Model 38B. introduced in 1953, was a 48 cc engine; while the final attachment engine, in 1955, had a special automatic transmission.

1955mosquitoart1.jpg 1955mosquito-copy1.jpg 1955mosquito-copy2.jpg

garelli-mosquito-postcard-copy.jpg 1955mosquito-copy3.jpg mosqad1400.jpg mosqarticles400.jpg

I have two Mosquitos in my collection. As one is French and the other English, and one a Ladies model and the other a Gents cycle, they make an ideal ‘His & Hers’ pair. The French one is extremely pretty and blue in colour, while the British one is very conservative.


1951 Garelli Mosquito 38A Cycle Attachment fitted to a 1940’s Rudge-Whitworth Bicycle


This very attractive 1940’s Rudge Witworth frame sports a 1951 Garelli Mosquito 38cc 2-stroke cycle-attachment engine.


The Mosquito enjoys a good reputation for reliability and power.


This one has been rebuilt, the cycle frame is in good order, it starts easily, and rides well.



1951 Garelli Mosquito 38A Cycle Attachment fitted to a French 1940’s Alvia Bicycle


I bought this delightful Mosquito from a good friend in France. Usually we do exchanges, but he had a lot of money invested in this one so I had to pay him for it.


It still has an original tool-set in the toolbox.


The engine has been rebuilt, and the frame too, using original parts. It also has new Michelin tyres, an Optima saddle, Chantecler bell, and period lighting kit.



1973 Garelli Baby Mosquito


This is a minibike I’ve owned a few years, a 1973 Garelli Baby Mosquito. It came in from Germany, and I MOT’d and registered it. It’s a pretty little thing and I’ve found it interesting to compare with the earlier versions.



1955 Mosquito Italia 50cc


This is an Italian Mosquito that I obtained this year by swapping my Bernardet Cabri with a friend. It then saw a further exchange in France and now resides in my friend’s collection in Paris.


%d bloggers like this: