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The iconic Italian motorcycle manufacturer, MV Agusta, is celebrating 75 years of style and excellence, garnished by no less than 37 world championship wins and a host of other motorcycling honours.
The legend began when the Agusta family, pioneers of the aviation industry who were unable to continue manufacturing planes in the aftermath of World War II, began manufacturing racing motorbikes in January 1945.
MV Agusta created an instant buzz
The first model, a 98 cc, was due to be called “Vespa” — Italian for wasp — but the name had already been used for the scooter made by Piaggio, so it was known in its infancy as the MV98.
The Agustas funded their need for speed on the racetrack by adapting their racing machines and turning them into highly desirable street bikes, the first of which was a luxury version of the 98 which blazed a trail at the 1947 Milan Trade Fair.
The best riders were lured to MV Agusta and they became legends of the sport, a who’s who of the motorcycling racing scene, including: Franco Bertoni, MV’s first rider, followed by Arcisio Artesiani, Carlo Ubbiali, Leslie Graham, Cecil Sandford, Fortunato Libanori, John Surtees, Mike Hailwood, Gianfranco Bonera, Giacomo Agostini and Phil Read.
The partnership with Giacomo Agostini was the most celebrated. He chalked up 13 World Championships, 18 Italian titles and 10 Isle of Man’s TT wins.
Agostini’s final MV Agusta Nürburgring win
After Agostini’s last win at the Nürburgring in 1976 the dominance of MV Agusta seemed to be coming to an end, until the Castiglioni family stepped in to breathe new life into the company.
In 1992, Claudio Castiglioni’s Cagiva acquired the MV Agusta brand and moved production to Lake Varese, in Schiranna, where MV Agusta motorcycles are produced today.
MV Agusta still represents Italy’s best motorcycling traditions and has gone on to garner fresh prestige and recognition.
The four cylinder, 750cc F4 was the first bike of the new era. It was the first “superbike” and was considered by many a biking oficianado as possibly the best looking bike ever.
Claudio also invented the concept of the “naked” — a bike recognised primarily by its upright riding position and the absence of fairings and windscreens.
Pirelli and Lewis Hamilton partnerships
After Claudio’s death in 2011, his son Giovanni took the company’s helm and struck partnerships with household names, such as Pirelli and Formula1 champion Lewis Hamilton, to broaden appeal.
He was also behind the development of the “Brutale”, considered the ultimate naked, and the F3, one of the the best middle-weight sports bikes produced with an inline-three cylinder engine.
The Dragster and the Turismo Veloce, an opening into the tourers’ world, as well as successive evolutions of the F3 and F4, were adored by critics and motorcycling enthusiasts alike.
MV Agusta changed hands again but great bikes continue to roll from the production line, most notably the Serie Oro limited editions of the Superveloce 800 and Brutale 1000 RR
Celebrate with a deal on your motorcycle insurance
Official celebrations for the 75th anniversary of MV Agusta will be held in Varese in June.
You can celebrate early by getting a value-for-money insurance quote for your classic motorbike — whether it’s an MV Agusta or not — from the experts at Bikesure.co.uk on 0330 123 1028.