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Target Fixation

Target Design is famous in the motorcycle world as the creator of Suzuki’s Katanas and, to some, for the bodywork on later Harris Magnums. But this MV Agusta is where they first went public with their vison of how a motorcycle should look, created just a few months after Target Design was born in 1979. The team were three ex-BMW motorcycle designers, Hans-Georg Kasten, Hans Muth and Brit Jan Fellstrom. They were already working on restyling Suzuki’s 550, 650 and 1100 when Germany’s annual Motorrad Revue announced their 1980 issue would feature "star designers and their dream motorcycles". Readers would vote on which design they would most like to see go into production.

Target Design was just six months old when Motorrad editor in chief Helmut Luckner rang Muth and asked if he wanted to join the dream motorcycles competition. Muth principal role at Target was to procure assignments and publicity. So he said yes, even though the deadline was 14 days away and the other two teams working on motorcycle mock ups were Porsche and Ital Design. But, given that Muth had penned the R90S that single handedly transformed people’s view of BMW as a manufacturer of worthy but plain tourers into a sporting brand, and Ital had brought Ducati to its knees with the GT860, Muth must have thought he could win.

Hans-Georg, who provided the photographs, admitted that “Of course it was presumptuous. We were young and Ferdinand Alexander Porsche and Giorgetto Giugiaro were already world famous designers. We had no spare time either: we were in the middle of the Katana 1100 project. But the 650 [Suzuki Katana] was finished and accepted. This opportunity was unique, and we wanted to do it.”

Hans-Georg and Jan Fellstrom decided their project should showcase a European motorcycle, so they code named the project ED1: European design number 1. If they wanted to build on their ideas for the Katanas that meant an inline four, which meant an MV Agusta – a 750 Sport America to be precise, although they ditched the front discs for a Fontana four leading shoe racing brake.

Full story and more images in Benzina 15, available in the shop.

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