Bultaco was a Spanish manufacturer of two-stroke motorcycles from 1958 to 1983. Francisco "Paco" Bulto was a director of the Montesa motorcycle company founded in 1944. At some point he came to disagreement with other senior director Pere Permanyer about withdrawing from racing, which leaded even to founding new company. BULTACO comes from combining the first four letters of Sr. Bulto's surname with the last three of his nickname "Paco".
On March 24, 1959 Bultaco held a press day and launched its first bike, the road-going 125cc Bultaco Tralla 101, named after the Spanish word for whiplash. Drawing on their previous knowledge of fast 2-strokes, the new Tralla was the fastest 125-cc machine available at the time. Just two months later Bultaco entered its first Spanish Grand Prix taking seven of the first ten places.
Due to industrial unrest and market pressures, Bultaco production closed in 1979. The factory reopened in 1980, but closed again in 1983.
In 1998, rights to the Bultaco name were purchased by Marc Tessier who used it to help launch a range of purpose-built trials motorcycles from his company Sherco Moto S.A.R.L. The bikes were initially named Bultaco Sherco's, then in 2000 the bikes became 'Sherco by Bultaco' and in 2001 the Bultaco name was dropped altogether. The US trademark is now owned by HDW Enterprises, parent company of a parts and repair specialist for old Bultacos.
Perhaps the most famous Bultaco model is the Sherpa T, a trials bike, which revolutionised the sport in the 1960s. At that time trials was almost exclusively a British sport using big heavy four-stroke machines. Bultaco produced a lightweight two-stroke machine which, overnight, rendered the heavy four-strokes obsolete. With it Sammy Miller won the gruelling Scottish Six Days Trial in 1965, and then repeated the feat with wins in 1967 and 1968. He also claimed the European Trials Championship in 1968 and 1970. Bultaco dominated the World Trials Championship in the 1970s, winning the title eight times, and winning the Scottish Six Days Trial four times.
Bultaco's premier model in the USA, the Pursang, was an excellent handling and powerful 250 cc competition model that could readily compete in virtually any type of speed-based off-road competition. In later models this was expanded to 125 cc, 360cc and 370 cc Other models, such as the Sherpa T (trials), the Astro (flat tracker) and the Matador (trail bike), provided more targeted approaches to specific types of races. Bultaco motorcycles were mainly powered by single-cylinder, air cooled, two stroke engines, but they also made water cooled versions. The rider was required to mix the oil and gasoline manually.