Neftali Ollearo

Pier Luigi Ollearo
Foto di Neftali Ollearo

Neftali Ollearo

The inhabitants of Piverone, always called him Néftali with the accent on the “e”, instead of the “a” so for convenience we will not put accents, but the singularity of this Biblical name originates from a family tradition: Baptist Ollearo grandfather of Neftali, was one of the founders of the Evangelical Gathering, organic to the Church of the Brothers, founded in Piverone in 1862.
Neftali was born in Piverone, the last municipality of the eastern Canavese area, in July 1896 from Clemente and Francesca Clementina Pastore.
Belonging to a family of farmers, at the end of elementary classes, he should help his father in the fields and with livestock, but these prospects are not congenial to him: he dreams of mechanics.
Fortunately, his father was a worker of Eng. Camillo Olivetti, and explains that his son does not want to become a farmer and asks him bring Neftali to work in the factory; and is here in the Olivetti workshop, that Neftali becomes a mechanic!
Participating in the First World War as a technician in charge of the compressors used to dig the niches for mines, he was injured in a non-serious way and this event allowed him to return home alive.
In 1920, he married Ester Marzone, they moved to Corso Valentino 33 in Turin where he rented a shop, and opened a workshop for the maintenance of bicycles and motorcycles.

La prima officina Ollearo

Giovanni Spina, Grandi, Dana, Bertoglio, Ermenegildo “Gildo” Levetti, Marco Ollearo, Neftali Ollearo, in front of the first shop in Torino

Here he joins his younger brother Marco, born in 1901 and he too with a big passion for mechanics.
The bike and motorcycle maintenance work for the two brothers is too tight and does not satisfy their propensity for innovation and so during the winter, when there is less work, they devote themselves to the design and construction of a 2-stroke petrol engine of 132 cc.
The first OLLEARO engine was born, which was tested tightened to a workbench, put into motion with a rope wrapped around the pulley of the crankshaft, whose tremendous noise frightened the little Roberto, son of Neftali, destined to become a pilot, winner of national championships and also a manufacturer of racing sidecars.
Neftali is a genius of mechanics and has a strong propensity for innovation, which allows him to build motorized bicycles, equipped with highly innovative technical solutions and, in 1930 to realize a masterpiece, a motorcycle with 4-stroke engine and transmission with a cardan shaft, a powerful and manageable vehicle with an aesthetic line that can be well defined by high design, which transmits to the observer a pleasant sensation as a concentrate of power and elegance.

Moto Ollearo Perla rigid frame – 1932

Unfortunately, this motorcycle, so beautiful and futuristic, has a terrible economic defect: its construction costs much more than competing products, less prestigious but much more profitable.
We are also in a period when the bike is not a toy, but used for transport and who has the bike does not have a car and vice versa.
Neftali Ollearo, who was a dreamer, tries to resist and tries to organize sporting events that can walk with the factory, until the last tragic tornado in Turin that, besides damaging the Mole Antonelliana, destroyed the stands built in the parade ground for a sporting event, producing a very serious economic damage to Neftali, which was exposed in the first person.
In the meantime, he was involved in the production of motorcycles, as well as in the transformation of cars into light lorries, always with innovative criteria.
Then in 1962, during a trip to Milan, he had a car accident on the highway and lost his life.
Neftali Ollearo has left the memory of a strong personality, a decision-maker sometimes with a difficult relationship especially with his collaborators, but with his departure a technician of great value and capable of absolutely innovative “visions” has gone, just think that in 1930 the OLLEARO 175 was the only standard Italian motorcycle, with shaft transmission.

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