|In the late 1970's Bultacos
star began to fade. The Japanese companies' sales success financed
Research and Development of competition motorcycles that eclipsed
Bultaco's limited funding. Even more worrying, the death of Spanish
strongman General Franco in 1975 led to considerable public unrest and the
rise of far left political powers. Much as happened in Britain the unions
felt empowered, they took over the factory and eventually led to the
demise of the company.
One of the last new models designed before the upheaval was the Metralla GTS. The original Metrallas were very sporting bikes, Bultaco reference to them as "road racers for the street" was not undeserved. But if the new model was to compete in the market with others' current offerings it needed to be more civilized. So the GTS was equipped with battery powered lights, turn signals, etc. It also was given a 6-speed gearbox allowing a higher top speed and more relaxed cruising ability.
Hopes were high that GTS sales would revitalize the USA market. That was not to be as only about a half dozen were actually imported by the distributors before US sales of Bultacos dried up. The company continued to produce small numbers for European sales through 1979.
In early 2017, we noticed a Spanish GTS on ebay. After the auction ended without a sale, contact was made with the seller. Protracted negotiations through Google translate and local native speakers led to an eventual agreement. As would be expected completing such a purchase was fairly complicated with payments, paperwork and, of course, shipping. The shipping actually was quite painless; Shippio, a UK based company arranged it all, right to our local airport at JAX. Here's a few shots of the process.
|Loading onto the van in Valencia, Spain||In the Shippio warehouse in London, UK||Going on our trailer at Forward Air, JAX|
|Opening the very sturdy crate, many screws||First look at the GTS before removal||And finally up on the ramp at MotoEuro|
|Here it is at Riding Into History, May 2017, after some minor detailing (photo by Dave Palm).|