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History books in

This is one of the very first MV Agusta fours, a 1951 4C aka the 500 Bialbero Corsa. Although designed, like the original Rodine and Gilera Quattro, by Piero Remor there are some notable (and frankly odd) differences. The most obvious is shaft drive (to keep oil off the rear tyre and sod changing the gearing) and the need for two gearshift levers – on one side it would change up, on the other it would change down.

MV Agusta, like so many other Italian aviation manufacturers had turned to motorcycles as a means of staying in business after World War II. But when the ban on building aircraft was lifted, and Agusta won a lucrative contract to build Bell helicopters, Count Agusta did not walk away from motorcycles. He had grown fond of watching his machines win races, even having a villa that overlooked Monza. So he got his chequebook out, poached Arturo Magni and Remor from Gilera, and set about making history. In less than four months Remor delivered him the 500, hardly surprising given he had left Gilera clutching a load of blueprints and notes. This early 4C (4 cilindri) is from the Parmeggiani collection, funded by the Italeri model kit business, and reputedly raced by Arciso Artesiani and Carlo Bandirola.

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