1977 MV Agusta 850SS Frame no. 221-011 Engine no. 221-006

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Lot 114
1977 MV Agusta 850SS
Frame no. 221-011 Engine no. 221-006

US$ 98,000 - 110,000
£ 76,000 - 85,000
Amended
1977 MV Agusta 850SS
Frame no. 221-011
Engine no. 221-006
• Very limited production, less than 42 made
• Original, excellent example with factory fairing

Developed from its long line of highly successful multi-cylinder racers, MV Agusta's first road-going four - a twin-carburetor, 600cc tourer - appeared in 1965. But the public demanded something more exciting from many-times World Champions MV, and the Gallarate manufacturer duly obliged in 1969, upping capacity to 743cc and further boosting maximum power (to 69bhp) by fitting a quartet of Dell'Orto carburetors to the revised 750GT. Equipped with shaft rather than chain final drive, the 750 four arguably was more of a tourer than an out-and-out sports bike. Not that many people got to find out for themselves, for the MV was handmade in limited numbers and priced accordingly.

Also in the line-up was the more sporting 750S, a high-speed symphony in red, white and blue. Although no lightweight - it weighed nearly as much as a Kawasaki 900 Z1 - the 750S gave little away in outright performance terms to such larger machinery, thanks, no doubt, to its engine's Grand Prix heritage. Testing a 750S in 1975, Bike magazine found the motor very powerful. 'Surprisingly it also has great reserves of torque and pulls happily from four thousand. It's probably the most powerful 750cc motor made; in a straight drag with a Z1 it lost only a few yards up to 100mph.' The 750S continued in production after the GT's demise in 1973 and was not replaced (by the 750S America) until 1976. Bike rated the 750S as 'one of the most dramatic-looking bikes made, the real stuff of legend.' Few would disagree.

The slightly more conventional but still handsome 750S America, based on the earlier intoxicatingly curvaceous 750S, was created by an inspired Fredmano Spairani in cahoots with Ing. Giuseppe Bocchi. Within a year the MV company was regrettably on the ragged edge yet they still managed to launch the 850SS, sometimes called Monza (after Milan's neighboring race track). It was to be the end of the line for MV's shaft drive fours. Respected historian Ian Falloon from his book (The book of the classic MV Fours, Veloce, 2011) says, 'Some mystery surrounds the 850SS, or Monza. Certainly, a number of unsold Americas were still in the factory in 1977, but the amount converted into 850SSs appeared to be very small." The number 42, 850SSs that is, is often quoted but this is the number of unsold 750S Americas still the factory in 1977, not all of which were converted to 850SS. Whatever the true number, it's a very, very small one.

The 850SS has a capacity of 837cc, a compression ratio of 9.5:1 and a quoted 85bhp at 9,500rpm. The US model have four 26mm Dell'Orto VHB26D carburetors as opposed to rest-of-the-world's 27mm. There is no consistency with badging and it is believed that no 850SS left the factory with a fairing.

This lovely, original, matching numbers 850SS, however, has a full factory-style fairing and black Magni pipes (the chrome originals come with the bike). The seat is a custom design to celebrate the iconic design of the Ferrari 365GTB/4 Daytona's seat upholstery in both leather and suede. An original style seat covers comes with the machine. The seller bought the bike in 1997 and at the time contacted the MV Owners Club of Great Britain and they suggested it was indeed the 'real thing' endorsing that the Brembo brakes, front and rear, and cast wheels with screw holes to secure the tire to the rim, and side cover decals were some of the 'right things.' Later he contacted Albert Bold, well-known expert on these MV fours, who suggested taking the head off to measure the bores, which should be 69mm, but it was not done. And so the engine remains unopened. While researching the bike the seller discovered another 850SS with the same frame number (but not engine number) which only endorses the reality that MV was on its last gasps as a factory assembling the 850SSs out of left over parts from the 750S Americas. The bike has been inside on display for 20 years.

Footnotes

  • As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.

Saleroom notices

  • The frame number is MV750 221011 and is titled under 221011. The original style seat cover is not offered with this lot.
Contacts
1977 MV Agusta 850SS Frame no. 221-011 Engine no. 221-006
1977 MV Agusta 850SS Frame no. 221-011 Engine no. 221-006
1977 MV Agusta 850SS Frame no. 221-011 Engine no. 221-006
1977 MV Agusta 850SS Frame no. 221-011 Engine no. 221-006
1977 MV Agusta 850SS Frame no. 221-011 Engine no. 221-006
1977 MV Agusta 850SS Frame no. 221-011 Engine no. 221-006
1977 MV Agusta 850SS Frame no. 221-011 Engine no. 221-006
1977 MV Agusta 850SS Frame no. 221-011 Engine no. 221-006
1977 MV Agusta 850SS Frame no. 221-011 Engine no. 221-006
1977 MV Agusta 850SS Frame no. 221-011 Engine no. 221-006
1977 MV Agusta 850SS Frame no. 221-011 Engine no. 221-006
1977 MV Agusta 850SS Frame no. 221-011 Engine no. 221-006
1977 MV Agusta 850SS Frame no. 221-011 Engine no. 221-006
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