1977 OSSA Phantom GP III
The last of the breed
For 15 years, Jim Hoellerich has searched the country to amass an impressive collection of 100 classic dirtbikes. And he considers this 1977 OSSA Phantom GP III one of his best.
In fact, says Hoellerich, it truly epitomizes the OSSA brand, which featured a four-leaf clover insignia and the sales slogan “Put a Little Luck on Your Side.” Hoellerich clearly benefited from that luck when he found this classic machine languishing in a farmer’s barn.
“A buddy of mine told me about this old bike, so I checked it out and picked it up cheap,” he says.
What made this find more special, Hoellerich says, is that the Phantom GP III represents the last of OSSA’s 250cc motocrossers, developed in the years before the Spanish company went out of business in 1982.
Featuring the latest technology of its time, the Phantom GP III had a five-port cylinder, instead of the four in the previous generation; a new four-fin cylinder design for better cooling in muddy conditions; forward-mounted gas shocks; magnesium engine covers; and a factory-spec Betor leading-axle fork so impressive that Marty Moates, then a works OSSA pilot in Europe, preferred them over the Marzocchi unit that was considered the hot contemporary setup.
Although the marque enjoyed racing success in Europe, the company’s motocross effort didn’t have the same rider support stateside, and on-track results didn’t show the bike’s full potential. The company did win in other disciplines, however, most notably when Dick Mann rode OSSAs to victories in short-track and enduro events.
Enthusiasts and collectors had a unique venue the summer of 2007 to celebrate that heritage when OSSA motorcycles were honored as the Classic Club at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.