MV Agusta 349cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Re-creation by MV Meccanica Verghera Frame no. none visible Engine no. none visible

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Lot 598
MV Agusta 349cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Re-creation by MV Meccanica Verghera
Frame no. none visible Engine no. none visible

Sold for £ 51,750 (US$ 70,609) inc. premium
MV Agusta 349cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Re-creation by MV Meccanica Verghera
Frame no. none visible
Engine no. none visible
• Replica of Agostini's 1971 three-cylinder
• Constructed using factory drawings
• Completed in 2011
• Displayed in the collection since acquisition

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

The MV (Meccanica Verghera) story began in 1945 when Count Domenico Agusta was forced to seek an alternative means of utilising his family's aero engine factory at Gallarate. Forbidden to manufacture aircraft engines following Italy's defeat in WW2, the Count turned to motorcycle production, commencing with a 98cc two-stroke lightweight, exactly the kind of utilitarian transport that Italy needed to re-mobilise in the aftermath of war. Within a few years a 125cc model had been added to the range, the racing version of which would bring MV its first major competition success when Franco Bertoni won the 1948 Italian Grand Prix. It was the birth of a legend; MV went on to win no fewer than 37 World Championships between 1952 and 1974, more than twice as many as closest rival Honda achieved in the same period.

The racing 125cc two-strokes were a major success but at World Championship level the MVs were outclassed by the four-stroke FB-Mondial with its twin-overhead-cam engine. Count Agusta's response was to hire Gilera's chief designer Piero Remor together with its chief mechanic, Arturo Magni. However, Remor's new 125cc four-stroke was not an immediate success, and it was only following Mondial's withdrawal from racing that MV bagged its first 125cc World Championship, in 1952.

MV first fielded a 500cc four at the Belgian Grand Prix in 1950, Arcisco Artesiani finishing fifth. A development of Remor's Gilera design, it followed the same basic layout but in some respects took a step backwards, most notably in the use of only two carburettors and the adoption of shaft drive, while the frame and suspension likewise departed from orthodox practice. Step by step these eccentricities would be removed, often at the instigation of the team's No. 1 rider, Les Graham, whose 1951 season was disappointing to say the least.

Misfortune dogged the team for the first part of the following season, before Graham scored a breakthrough victory aboard the MV 500 four in the Grand Prix des Nations at Monza, which he followed up by winning the Spanish Grand Prix. Despite his earlier setbacks, Graham finished second to Gilera's Umberto Masetti in the 1952 World Championship. Graham's death at the Isle of Man TT the following year dealt MV's hopes in the 500cc class a devastating blow. The next few seasons would be relatively lean ones for the team, only Carlo Ubbiali's victory in the 125cc World Championship in 1955 providing a glimmer of satisfaction.

It all changed for the better in 1956. By this time Remor had departed, leaving Magni in charge of the race team. A 350cc four had been introduced (in 1953) but by far the most significant development was Count Agusta's signing of John Surtees, who rewarded the Count's faith in his abilities by taking his first 500cc World Championship that same year. At the end of the 1957 season MV was the sole Italian manufacturer left in Grand Prix racing following the withdrawal of Gilera, Morini and Moto Guzzi. It was the dawn of a 'golden age' for the Gallarate firm, which took the 125cc, 250cc, 350cc and 500cc World Championships for the next three years.

Following Surtees' departure, Rhodesian Gary Hocking continued MV's domination of GP racing's premier class, taking the World Championship for them again in 1961, while the arrival of Mike Hailwood in 1962 only consolidated MV's grip. The Englishman left MV at the end of 1965 having brought them four consecutive 500cc World Championships, his place as No. 1 rider being taken by erstwhile team-mate Giacomo Agostini.

Increasing competition from Honda had prompted MV to withdraw its un-competitive 350 four at the end of 1962, and the Italian manufacturer ignored the Junior category for the next two years, returning to the class in 1965 with a lighter and more compact three-cylinder machine. Following Honda's withdrawal from Grand Prix racing at the end of 1967, the 350 triple proved good enough to secure the World Championship for Ago and MV the following year. Increasing competition from Yamaha's two-stroke twins eventually forced MV to introduce a four-cylinder successor, which made its debut at the Italian Grand Prix in 1971, by which time the 350 triple had secured two more World Championships for Agostini.

Completed in 2010 by world-renowned leaders in the field, MV Meccanica Verghera (Kay Engineering), the stunning re-creation offered here represents MV's three-cylinder Grand Prix 350 in its final, 1971 specification. This machine was constructed using factory drawings, and has a magnesium crankcase, gearbox, timing tunnel, and cam box covers. Engine capacity is 348.9cc with a bore and stroke of 56x47.2mm, while the firing order is 1-3-2, same as the 500/3 replica in this sale. On a compression ratio of 10.5:1, the engine produces 60bhp at the rear wheel at 13,000rpm. The gearbox is a seven-speed unit with right-hand change. Other noteworthy features include Dell'Orto carburettors, electronic ignition, five-bolt dry clutch, twin front disc brakes, and a 2LS rear brake. Ridden by Lee Johnston, the sister bike to this one won the 2014 Classic TT at an average speed of 104.134mph.

Robert purchased this machine from the Kays following its completion in May 2011. The purchase payments proposal (total cost £110,000) is on file. It should be noted that, although the fairing carries his name, this is not the machine that Alan Oversby rode to 3rd place in the 2010 Manx Grand Prix Classic Junior race. When the ex-Oversby MV was given a new fairing with integral oil catch tank, that machine's original fairing was fitted to Robert's example.
Contacts
MV Agusta 349cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Re-creation by MV Meccanica Verghera Frame no. none visible Engine no. none visible
MV Agusta 349cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Re-creation by MV Meccanica Verghera Frame no. none visible Engine no. none visible
MV Agusta 349cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Re-creation by MV Meccanica Verghera Frame no. none visible Engine no. none visible
MV Agusta 349cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Re-creation by MV Meccanica Verghera Frame no. none visible Engine no. none visible
MV Agusta 349cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Re-creation by MV Meccanica Verghera Frame no. none visible Engine no. none visible
MV Agusta 349cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Re-creation by MV Meccanica Verghera Frame no. none visible Engine no. none visible
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25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £10,000 up to and including £450,000;
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