CLASSIC MOTOCROSS IRON: 1967 BULTACO MKII 250 PURSANG BOAT TAIL
After the Second World War, bike sales soared in the rush to get cheap transportation to a public desperate for some relief from the war years. But private automobile ownership was on the rise, and motorcycle sales slumped in the mid-1950s. At the Spanish Montesa brand, the two owners, the rich Pedro Permanyer (70-percent owner) and the fast Francesco “Paco” Bulto (30-percent owner) could not come to an agreement about which direction to take their fledgling motorcycle company. Permanyer wanted to pull Montesa out of racing to save money, while Bulto felt that racing was the heart of their motorcycle business. They came to an impasse, and Bulto walked away from Montesa and started his own company in 1958. It was named Bultaco (a combination of his last name Bulto with his nickname Paco). Bultaco’s most famous products were the Sherpa trials bike, Matador enduro bike, Astro short tracker and Pursang motocross bike.
The MKII Pursang first appeared in the spring of 1967, and it would be a major change from the Rickman-inspired MKI Pursang. From the outside, the engine appeared similar, but the polished engine cases were expanded to house an all-new, five-speed transmission, and the crankshaft was now supported by three main bearings. The MKII frame had a single down tube that split under the front of the engine. The wheelbase had been extended over 2 inches, and the bold red bodywork had a distinct square rear fender, which resulted in this model of Pursang being called the “Boat Tail” for its similarity to a Chris-Craft runabout. Both a motocross model (21-inch front wheel) and a scrambles model (19-inch front wheel) were imported to the United States.
For motocross, it could easily be argued that Bultaco went the wrong direction, as the increased power was rather peaky, and the longer wheelbase made quick changes in direction difficult. Fortunately, this proved to be just what American scrambles riders wanted for their higher speeds and smoother tracks. Out of the crate, the MKII put out 34 horsepower, a good 5 horsepower more than many of its European competitors. The fiberglass bodywork was absolutely beautiful but was easily damaged the first time the rider fell down. The high pipe also overheated the rider’s right leg and would give way in 1968 to a low pipe. Boat Tails were beautiful and fast but not always reliable.
Suggested retail in 1967 was $895.00. Although the early Pursangs are not on the top of most vintage racers’ wish lists, they should be on the top of any early motocross collector’s must-have list. There is no question that the first thing a collector should look for is the bold red fiberglass gas tank, fenders and side panels. Any collector would love to see the original Betor forks and shocks. Also, an original 1967 Pursang MKII should come equipped with an Amal 932 Concentric carburetor.