While we’re on the lightweights, how about this beauty, an MV Agusta 125 Sport, freshly consigned to Bonhams Winter Sale on the 5 and 6th December. But this isn’t just any MV Agusta 125 Sport, it is the pre-production prototype used for the sales leaflets and differs in many ways to the production run. The frame is unique and the tank is a one-off in aluminium alloy made by Primo Filotti – who made all the factory racer’s alloy bodywork - with a Monza cap. The side pan
This is the actual Laverda 75 Sport ridden by factory rider Genunzio Silvagni to win the 75cc class in both the 1956 and 1957 Motogiro races. The 75 Sport was also very successful in the Milano-Taranto event - winning the 75cc category in 1952 & 1953, taking the top 14 positions in the later event! The bike was also used for short circuit racing, with the lights & number plate removed. In this configuration power was upped to 12hp compared to 9hp at 10,500rpm in long distance
If he were a less modest man, Giuliano Maoggi could have claimed that he saved Ducati, so this pop-art tribute by Andrew Peplow, aka Pep, is well deserved. In 1955 Maoggi won the 125 class of the Milano Taranto for Ducati at their first attempt, and the following year won the Giro outright, his 125 beating everyone else’s 175s. Ducati were back from the brink, a practice they’ve thrived on ever since.
By the mid fifties Ducati were facing closure, so in a final throw
‘L’utilitaria che vince le corse!’ was Laverda’s 1950s sales slogan which, loosely translated, means ‘the commuter which wins races’. Rather more bizarrely the caption at the top reads ‘the dreams of Giovani’… (oops - no, it's giovane; "the young").
The austerity of post war Italy provided an ideal environment in which to launch a low cost motorcycle. This opportunity was spotted by Francesco Laverda who, when taking time off from the family agricultural engineering bus
This is the postcard MV Agusta had printed when they finally won the Motogiro in 1957, winner Remo Venturi (right) and runner up Gilberto Milani armed with twin cam GP racers, a money-no-object attempt to undo the hurt of previous years. The Motogiro was the most popular and difficult race it Italy, racing a 175cc (at most) motorcycle over 3,000 km of 1950s backroads; no wonder they called it la sfida temeraria - the reckless challenge.
Post war Italy was a desperate p
"The single-cam 175, introduced in 1952 and put into production in 1954, was of fundamental importance to the technical, commercial and sporting evolution of the marque. From an engineering point of view, the 175 CS was important because it was the first 4-stroke MV to go into volume production..." – Colombo & Patrignani, MV Agusta. Banned post war from aircraft manufacture Agusta (now Leonardo) begun motorcycle production late in 1945 with a 98cc two-stroke under the name Me