The best looking motorcycle on this list in my opinion, the Mondial 125cc Grand Prix racer was rather advanced for the late 1940s and early 1950s with its dual overhead cams. It made all the other 125s of the era look rather rudimentary in comparison – an impressive feat considering most of Italy’s manufacturing plants were destroyed by the war. It had an undersquare bore and stroke of 53mm x 56.4mm. The bike didn’t finish its first race, but later went on to record world records in the standing start quarter-mile and kilometer categories. Mondial’s serendipitous timing in developing the 125 also coincided with the creation of the Grand Prix world championship in 1949, where it cleaned house in the 125cc category; winning every 125 race in 1949, 1950, and 1951!

The dustbin fairing seen here wasn’t added until 1957, at which point the Mondial featured gear-driven cams (instead of bevel drive) and not only won the 125cc title, but the 250cc title, too. But that was the end for Mondial’s success, as the Italian firm, along with Moto Guzzi and Gilera, ended their factory involvement with Grand Prix racing, as they came to grips with the eternal truth of racing: it’s expensive!