Montesa was formed in 1944 by Pedro Permanyer and Francisco Bulto. In 1963, American entrepreneur Kim Kimball, in association with movie star Steve McQueen, began importing the Montesa Impala 175cc Cross (which was called the 'Scrambler') to the USA. The small operation that started in Kimball's garage would grow to the point where they had 350 dealers in the United States. 'Viva Montesa' ad become a reality. Race car driver Dan Gurney joined Montesa Motors, and Formula 1 Champion Phil Hill became a stockholder.
The 250cc Montesa LaCrosse model was introduced in 1967 and was aimed primarily at the scrambles market in the USA. Scrambles tracks were smoother than the typical European motocross track. The Montesa 250 LaCrosse had good power, used a 19-inch universal front tire that worked well on groomed tracks, and was a versatile slider.
Reliability could, however, be an soft part. Typical Spanish, the Montesa had good fit and finish, was attractive, and looked 'fast' standing still. Motocross success would not come until later, when the Cappra model was introduced in 1968 and riders John DeSoto and Rob Nelson were hired as pilots. As the Japanese entered the motocross market in the 70's, Montesa, along with the other European brands, had a much more difficult time competing. By the late 70's, Montesa was primarily building trails motorcycles, and in 1983, to avoid closing the doors, entered and agreement with Honda Motor Co. Ltd.
Montesa motorcycles have never been highly sought after by motorcycle collectors. You almost never find the Montesa LaCRosse model for sale. Most of them had rod bearing failures. Montesa total production of the Montesa 250 LaCrosse was 1,333 units. If you find one, the LaCross had a fiberglass fuel tank and shroud. These intems are nearly impossible to find, but not that hard to duplicate. The forks are a Betor copy of the Ceriani motocross fork, and the rims are Akronts. The front hub has a big scoop to funnel air to the drum brakes.