(Jacob Rumans) #1


VAgusta began life as an
aircraft company when Count
Giovanni Agustacommissioned
his own aeroplane–the AG.1–in
1907, four years after theWright
Fromthen until the end of the
SecondWorld War,
Agusta–asthe company
was known–producedanumber
of aircraftdesigns.With
restrictions on aircraft buildingin
place at the endof the conflict,
Giovanni’sson,Domenico, decided
to divertthecompa ny’s energies into
building motorcycles. In fact, duringthe
war he had even been designing and
buildingasimple motorcycle that was
finallyunveiled inOctober 1945 –
tellinglyithad the letters‘MV’ on the tank
standing forthe nameofthe motorcycle
businessname of‘MeccanicaVerghera’.
By the mid-1950s Agusta wasmaking
American Bell helicopters underlicence
and thefirm’sfortunestook asignificant
turn forthe better. Meanwhilethe GP
racing side of the firmwas alwaysashop
front for theroad-going motorcycles, yet
arguably it ateup moremoney thanit
generated. Thatsaid, all the great names
rodeand won forMVAgusta, including
John Surtee s, Phil Read,Giacomo Agostini
and (mainpic) Mike Hailwood. Most
impressively,MVAgust awon 18world
500cc titles, including anamazing
back-to-back streak from 1958throughto

1974,when theJapanese two-strokes
WhenCEODomenicoAgusta died in
February 1971, much of the
drive to buildmotorcycles
went withhim. Twoyearslater
the Italian Governmenttook
amajor shareholding
in the firm,which it
saw asavital defence
productionwas of littlematter.
Even as thebikebuilding
withered,machineswere still beingmade
from residual parts. Series motorcycle
production effectively ended in 1977,
leaving the firm to concentrate on
helicopter production.
Cagiva acquired thetrade name in
1991, producing their first MV two-
wheelers in 1997–this proving tobe a
labour of love for then-owner Claudio
Castiglioni andlater (following his death
in 2011)his son Giovanni, who would
take thehelm. Arange ofmodern triples
and fours were subsequently produced
before financial issuessaw the
interventionofv arious automotive players
such as Proton, Mercedes-AMG, Harley-
Davidson and Russian venture capitalists
who bought out MV Agusta stockand
brokeredadeal with Chinese
manufacturer Loncin in mid2019 to build
anew range of more affordable twinsto go
alongside the range’sexisting premium
triples and fours

■Want to gethold ofpictures from MortonsArchive?
Then headto: http://www.morto

to triplesandfours.


MVAgusta 750S.

2012'sMVAgusta F4-RR.

MVAgusta 350S.

ClaudioCastiglioni with anearlyF4.

Free download pdf