1956 MV Agusta Squalo
Frame no. 40487038
Engine no. 450329
Almost as a national birthright, Italians are passionate about motor racing. So it was only natural in the mid-1950s that riders of MV Agusta's sporting 175 CS street bike should go racing and give a pretty good account of themselves. Seeing the results, the factory decided to make a true production racer, dubbed the CSS Squalo ("Shark") for its lean, purposeful appearance. Rules forbade MV's fancy double-overhead camshaft racing motor, so the Squalo was powered by a hotted-up version of the street bike's single-cam 175cc engine. Compression ratio was bumped and a bigger carburetor fitted for a useful increase in horsepower. Instead of the street bike's four-speed transmission, Squalo riders had five cogs at their disposal. Top speed increased to 150 kph, close to 95 mph. A lightweight racing-type frame helped with a 30-pound weight drop. No lesser future racing luminaries than Mike Hailwood and Giacomo Agostini learned their early racecraft on Squalos.
The Squalo up for auction here had an interesting second act. It was purchased and restored circa 1980 by Allan B. Aaron, senior attorney for the U.S. Department of Defense in Europe. During his downtime, Aaron immersed himself in Euro motorcycle culture, touring all over on BMW and racing a small stable of vintage thoroughbreds, including this 175 Squalo. The bike saw action from the Isle of Man to the famous Nurburgring in fact, the museum at the 'Ring was so impressed with Aaron's Squalo that it was on display there for a couple of years. The German vintage racing federation, sticklers for authenticity, classified the MV as a bonafide veteran race bike; a certificate to that effect as well as other documents and manuals is included in the sale.