Bonhams : c.1957 MV Agusta 500cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle

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MV Agusta 1100 Grand Prix

c.1957 MV Agusta 500cc Prix Racing Motorcycle

no. 1104

Engine no. 4

Arguably the team in Grand Prix history, MV Agusta won everything was worth winning at world from the early 1950s to the 1960s and beyond. Machines by the legendary Italian works are among the rarest and most racing motorcycles ever All surviving examples are held in museums or private collections and extremely rarely is one ever for public sale.

The MV (Meccanica story began in 1945 Count Domenico Agusta was to seek an alternative means of his family-s aero engine at Gallarate. Forbidden to manufacture engines following Italy-s in WW2, the Count turned to production, commencing with a two-… lightweight, exactly the of utilitarian transport that needed to re-mobilise in the aftermath of

Within a few years a 125cc had been added to the range, the version of which would MV its first major competition when Franco Bertoni won the Italian Grand Prix. It was the of a legend; MV went on to win no fewer 37 World Championships between and 1974, more than as many as closest rival achieved in the same period.

The racing 125cc two-strokes a major success, winning the Milan-Taranto road race in -51 and -52, but at World Championship the MVs were outclassed by the four-… with its twin-overhead-cam engine. Agusta-s response was to hire chief designer Piero together with its chief Arturo Magni. However, the new 125cc four-… was not an immediate and it was only following Mondial-s from racing that MV its first 125cc World in 1952.

MV-s 500cc first appeared at the Belgian Prix in 1950, Arcisco finishing fifth. A development of Gilera design, it followed the basic layout but in some took a step backwards, notably in the use of only two carburettors and the of shaft drive.

The frame and likewise departed from practice, the former consisting of a of tubes and pressings while the featured blade-type girder at the front and a friction-damped -parallelogram- at the rear. Step by step eccentricities would be removed, at the instigation of the team-s No. 1 rider, Les whose 1951 season was to say the least.

Misfortune dogged the team for the part of the following season, Graham scored a breakthrough aboard the MV 500 four in the Grand des Nations at Monza, which he up by winning the Spanish Grand Despite his earlier setbacks, finished second to Gilera-s Masetti in the 1952 World Graham-s … at the Isle of Man TT the year dealt MV-s in the 500cc class a devastating

The next few seasons would be lean ones for the team, Carlo Ubbiali-s victory in the World Championship in 1955 a glimmer of satisfaction.

It all changed for the in 1956. By this time had departed, leaving Magni in of the race team. A 350cc had been introduced, but by far the most development was Count Agusta-s of John Surtees, who rewarded the faith in his abilities by taking his 500cc World Championship same year. At the end of the 1957 MV was the sole Italian manufacturer in Grand Prix racing the withdrawal of Gilera, Morini and Guzzi.

It was the dawn of a -golden age- for the firm, which took the 250cc, 350cc and 500cc Championships for the next three

Following Surtees- departure, Gary Hocking continued domination of GP racing-s premier taking the World Championship for again in 1961, while the of Mike Hailwood in 1962 consolidated MV-s grip. The left MV at the end of 1965 having them four consecutive World Championships, his place as No. 1 being taken by erstwhile Giacomo Agostini.

MV Agusta 1100 Grand Prix

By this increasing competition from had prompted the introduction of a lighter and compact three-cylinder 350. In a similar triple replaced the four-cylinder MV in the 500cc class, and the would prove good to secure the Championship for Ago and MV for the next six Responding to the emerging threat Yamaha, MV returned to a four-cylinder for the 500cc class in 1973, already made a similar in the 350cc class.

The new 16-valve four (all fours had been 8-valvers) good enough to bring new Phil Read two 500-class Championships, but by then the two-… was unstoppable and Read-s 1974 would be MV-s last.

The offered here — number -1104-, engine -4- — is an example of the fabulous -fire engines- that MV Agusta 139 victories and 16 World in Grand Prix racing-s 500cc class, together a further 76 wins and 9 Championships in the category.

When the contents of the MV shop were sold following a lengthy period in only two machines of the pre-1965 were assembled and complete, the being dismantled. The principal of MV-s heritage were Iannucci in the USA, Ubaldo in Italy and John Surtees in the UK.

genuine, ex-works machine, directly from John by the current owner, accords the specification employed by the MV Agusta team between 1957 and while the four-cylinder short-… is of the type used between and 1961. Between 1957 and MV Agusta-s works 500s raced by stars such as Surtees, Umberto Massetti, Bandirola, John Hartle, Hocking and Remo Venturi others, during which Surtees won the Isle of Man Senior TT times and the 500cc World three years consecutively 1958 to 1960. While the record of its principal components is it is to this heroic period this machine belongs.

Since 1996 when it was by the vendor, Peter Jones, has been fastidiously maintained there is simply no other when caring for an ex-works MV — being fettled by Surtees mechanic Ian Skinner and exercised on a regular basis. attended include the Isle of Man TT Brooklands, Scarborough, Montlh-ry, Goodwood Festival of Speed and Meetings, Ulster Grand Beezumph Rally, Donington Mallory Park and Dijon.

have included Giacomo Phil Read, Freddie and Mick Grant. The machine was ridden in March 2007 at Park where Alan tested it for Classic Racer Presented in -ready-to-use- condition with an alternative five-speed cluster (a six-speed cluster is fitted), it is offered with a of meetings attended and work out; Team Surtees Ltd and specification sheets; John Ltd correspondence and invoices; and a set of gearbox/clutch

-John Surtees told me it-ll be bullet-proof running the to 9,000 rpm,- Peter told Classic Racer, that-s plenty fast to have fun with it. But I-ve been aware while the MV that we-re all just for pieces of history like and I hope the new owner will be to use it and appreciate it, as I-ve tried to do. I-m not but I-ve tried to make a of keeping it in good usable and each time I-ve it at Goodwood, lots of people come up to me afterwards and said only come to hear the MV which is quite a compliment to the bike, not to me!-


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