The Itom factory was founded in Turin by lawyer Corrado Corradi, and began production in 1948 at Via Francesco Millio, moving later to S.Ambrogio Torinese.Their first product was an auxiliary bicycle engine (3 versions - one for front wheel - 2 for rear wheel - close to pedals or over the rear wheel)
- 1950 - produced the first ciclomotore with tubular frame and automatic clutch; this was soon followed with a two-speed version.
- 1953 - introduction of the Esperia, which had a 2 speed gearbox and a pressed steel monocoche (Italian: monoscocca) frame.
- 1954 - first Astor Sport (3 speed, handle-bar gearshift controls) and pedals (obligatory)
- 1957 - Astor Super Sport and Competizione ; the Competizione achieved 75 Kph. These had pedals and two type of forks (see picture). Itom sold a tuning kit for competition use comprising high compression cylinder head, chrome bore cylinder, Dell' Orto SS20 carburettor, expansion chamber and piston. The pistons were of various types with either 2 or 3 rings.
Also available as an option were Ceriani competition forks with external springs. These were fitted as standard production by 1965.
- 1959 - Italian laws change: pedals cease to be mandatory and were removed from domestic sports models. The export models retain pedals for those markets where required.
- 1959 - Tabor model introduced. The 65cc machine is the only Itom model with number plate (50cc bikes in Italy are exempt). 3 speed gearbox, carburettor 16 mm, B/S 45x40 mm, 3.5 HP, 70 Kph.
- 1963 - Competizione ceases production. The Super Sport is top of the range of the sports models, with 4 speeds and handlebar gearchange.
- 1965 - Astor 4M, the most famous of all Itom motorcycles. 4 speed with foot change gearlever, Dell' Orto UA18S carburettor, 5.5 - 6 HP at 10.000 rpm and 95-97 Kmh. White frame. Yellow tool-boxes, mudguards, chainguard, fuel tank (with white flashes and black or green lines)
- 1968 - Gear selector repositioned on the left side. Square shaped head and barrel with larger fins.
- 1969 - Sirio Cross off-road model introduced with Astor 4M engine but carburettor UB20S. Black frame, chromed mudguards, blue fuel tank (later: white frame, red fuel-tank). Soon after the Sirio was introduced another off-road model named simply Cross (Fuori Strada) appeared - it was slightly detuned, using a UA16S carburettor and had black and orange trim (see picture).
- 1969 - Astor has yellow & white (or sometimes red & white) colour scheme - the "Shark" fuel tank is a single colour without the flashes seen on earlier models.
- 1970 - New frame for Astor 4M: double cradle instead of large central tube.
- 1972 - Sprint introduced. It is the last sport model, and the Astor is dropped. It runs a Zanetti engine with head and cylinder from the Astor. The angular fuel tank is painted in monochromatic apple green with logo ITOM in white block letters. (Alas, no more the beautiful globe and laurel garland logo.)
- 1973 - Itom ceases production of their own engines and adopt Franco Morini engines for the whole range. Itom is no longer a real manufacturer, but more an assembler of motorcycles.
- 1973 - New range presented in December at the Milan Motor Show includes two 125cc models. one a street-scrambler with F.Morini engine, the other named Cross Competition with a Zundapp unit, but both remain prototypes. All 50 production models now have Franco Morini engines.
- 1975 - End of production: The venture into medical compressors and water-heaters was a financial disaster and the losses led to the closure of the motorcycle division.
Note: All the Itom engines were 40x39.5 = 49.5cc, with the sole exception of the Tabor, 65cc 45x40mm. All models were the work of the engineer Giuseppe Spotto who was a fighter pilot during WWII. Silvano Bonetto was his right hand man.
CompetitionItom participated in competition from late 1950 through to 1969 with race-tuned Astor models ridden by Sergio Bongiovanni and, later, Domenico De Giorgi. Other Astors were campaigned by Tooleys in England, the Itom importers, and also by dealers and importers in Holland, Belgium, France and Germany. Itoms won many championships in Europe in those years.
In 1966 Sergio Bongiovanni was Italian Champion of “Montagna”, hill-climbs.
In 1970 a new model (branded Itom but produced by brothers Francesco and Walter Villa) with rotary disc valve induction won many races, and placed 2th in the Seniores Italian Champioship 50 cc. Ridden by Otello Buscherini and Claudio Lusuardi, this performance was the swan-song for Itom.
Riders who contributed to the illustrious history of the diminutive Itom include Mike Hailwood, Bill Ivy, Dave Simmonds and the first woman to ride solo in the TT, Beryl Swain.
Article by Franco Bonadonna originally published in Motociclismo