1967 Montesa 250 Impala Sports | Me My Bike

Photography by Bill Ballerini

1967 Montesa 250 Impala Sports
Name: John Green
Age: 63
Home: Playa del Rey, California
Occupation: Social Worker

I first saw this bike in 1968, in the used section of a local motorcycle shop, parked between a Honda 305 Super Hawk and a Kawasaki 175. The owner wouldn’t let me test ride it because I was just a kid, but he did offer to take me on a ride. We returned to the shop after an exhilarating dash around the area, and I had to have it.

My brother had been taking me to motorcycle races at Ascot Park on Saturday nights. We loved to watch the 250 amateur races, and I still remember the screaming whine from the two-strokes and the distinct smell of the castor-oil smoke. The top contenders at the time were Bultacos, Yamaha “Ascot Scramblers,” and Montesas. So, with my savings and some help from family, I bought that Montesa for $350 and took it back to college with me.

I removed the bodywork and front fender, rejetted the carb, put on scrambler bars, and added a 60-tooth sprocket to transform the streetbike into a dirtbike. For three years in the western foothills of the Rocky Mountains I climbed hills, rode dirt roads, blazed trails, and won a few “pick up” races. Though really a streetbike, the modified Montesa still outperformed most 250 rivals. Even my roommate, a confirmed Honda man, gave me the ultimate compliment when he said, “I’m really impressed with that Spanish Montesa.”

“I removed the front fender, rejetted the carb, put on scrambler bars, and added a 60-tooth sprocket to transform the streetbike ...

After college came the usual responsibilities of career, marriage, and kids. The Montesa sat neglected in the garage for 30 years. Five years ago my brother, now retired, offered to restore it. I did the painting and lots (and lots) of polishing. Cadmire and Yoshi at The Garage Shop in Inglewood, CA, applied the pinstriping and other finishing touches. Voila! A restored 1967 Montesa Impala 250 Sports shining before my eyes!

Everything I discovered as a young rider in 1968 still holds true today. The little Montesa is fast for a 45-year-old, 26-horsepower, 238-pound two-stroke, sprinting zero-to-50 in 5 seconds. The built-in expansion chamber lets you know it’s there—the sound reminds me of Ascot!—and it runs like a champ. Plus, I think it looks totally cool. Viva Montesa!

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