Meccanica Verghera Agusta, is an Italian sportsbike manufacturer. It was founded on 12 February 1945 near Milan in Cascina Costa, Italy. The company is well known for its racing pedegree, as well as their high end product.
Racing Career 1945-1971Edit
Count Vincenzo and Domenico Agusta had a passion for mechanical workings and for motorcycle racing. Much like Enzo Ferrari , they produced and sold motorcycles almost exclusively to fund their racing efforts. They were determined to have the best Grand Prix motorcycle racingteam in the world and spared no expense on their passion. MV Agusta produced their first prototype, called "Vespa 98", in 1945. After learning that the name had already been registered by Piaggio for its Vespa bikes, it was referred to simply by the number “98”. In 1948, the company built a 125 cc two-stroke single and entered Franco Bertoni in the Italian Grand Prix. Bertoni won the event held in Monza and instantly put the new motorcycle manufacturer on the map.
In the 1949 season, the 125 cc or Ultra light weight class gained new prestige. More motorcycle manufacturers were competing in the inaugural World Championships that were held in Switzerland, Netherlands and Italy. The Mondial 125 cc DOHC design dominated the 1949 season. The MV riders placed 9th and 10th in the final standings. In 1950, Arturo Magni and Piero Remor joined the company after working with Gilera. Magni was the chief mechanic and Remor was chief designer. The 1950 and 1951 season were development years, as the company adopted the 125 DOHC four-stroke engine. Racing efforts only produced a fifth place finish at the Dutch TT in 1950. The 1951 results were only slightly better.
The 1952 season saw the introduction of telescopic forks, full width alloy brake hubs and a sleek fuel tank on the 125 race bike. Power was 15 bhp (11 kW) @ 10800 rpm. Britain's Cecil Sandford piloted the new MV 125 to a 1952 Isle of Man TT victory and went on to win MV Agusta's first world championship.
With the success of the 1952 season, independent or "privateer" riders could now purchase a "catalog" version of the 125 Dohc, now available through the company. The Sport Competizione racer had many of the same features as the factory bike. These included a multi-plate clutch, gear-driven oil pump, Dell'Orto 27 mm SS1 carburetor and remote float chamber. The bike was nicknamed “The Boy Racer”. In 1953 the race engineers adopted the Earles-type forks to help with handling problems on the works racers. The 1953 season saw the introduction of the 350 Four. MV’s racing efforts now included the 500 cc, 350 cc and 125 cc class.
Death of Count Domenico 1971-1980
With the death of Count Domenico Agusta in 1971, the company lost its guiding force. The company won their last Grand Prix in 1976 and by the 1980 Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing season they were out of racing. Shortly thereafter, they ceased motorcycle production. Between 1948 and 1976 MV Agusta motorcycles had won over 3000 races and 63 World Championships overall. After MV Agusta left the racing scene in 1980, Magni began producing his own custom-framed MV motorcycles.
Cagiva Ownage 1991-1999Edit
Cagiva purchased the MV Agusta name trademarks in 1991. In 1997 it introduced the first new MV Agusta motorcycle. The new bikes were four-cylinder 750 cc sports machines, the F4, which included a series of limited production run models, such as the all black paint work SPR model ("Special Production Racing") which was featured in the movie I,Robot. In 2004 they introduced their first 1,000 cc bike. 2004 marked the end of production for the 750 sports machines, with a limited production of 300 SR (Special Racing) model in the traditional red and silver livery.
MV Agusta also made a limited number of F4 750 cc and F4 1,000 cc Senna editions in memory of the late Formula One Champion Ayrton Senna, an avid Ducati and MV Agusta collector, in aid of the Instituto Ayrton Senna, his charity foundation in Brazil for children and young people. Three hundred of each model were made in the early 2000s.
They also produce a range of 750 and 910 naked bikes, the Brutale. Production is limited, as it is the policy of the company to produce an elite machine similar to Ferrari cars. They do not compete directly with Japanese manufacturers, whose motorcycles typically sell for considerably lower prices; rather, they compete with other Italian models such as Ducati's superbikes and the naked Monster. In 2005 MV Agusta introduced the Tamburini 1000, which is named after its creator,Massimo Tamburini, who had previously worked for Ducati, where he designed the Ducati 916. Cycle World and Australian Motorcycle News magazine named it the best sportsbike in the world. Tamburini designed the Ducati 916 sports bike (predecessor of the 748 and 996 series) which marked the return of Ducati as a successful motorcycle manufacturer in the early twentyfirst century. The MV Agusta F4 refined the innovative design of the 916. Claimed power of the new F4 312R model is 183 hp (136 kW). In 1999 the Cagiva group was restructured for strategic purposes and MV Agusta become the main division, comprising Cagiva and Husqvarna.
Heavily in debt, the manufacturer was bought by Malaysian car maker Proton in December 2004 for €70 million. In December 2005 Proton sold MV Agusta to GEVI SpA, a Genoa-based financing company related to Carige, for a token one euro excluding debt. By 2006 GEVI SpA, with 65% of the share capital, had refinanced MV Agusta, allowing the company to continue, in its native Italy.
In July 2007 MV Agusta Motor S.p.A, sold the Husqvarna motorcycle brand to BMW for an undisclosed amount.According to MV Agusta president Claudio Castiglioni, the sale was a strategic step to concentrate all of the company's resources in order to expand MV Agusta and Cagiva presence in the international markets having more financial resources for new model development.
Following years of stalled ownership, the Guggenheim's "Art of the Motorcycle" icon, the F4 model, was ready for a refresh, but the financial status of the company did not allow it. On July 11, 2008, Harley-Davidson announced they had signed a definitive agreement to acquire the MV Agusta Group for US$109 million (€70m), completing the acquisition on August 8, 2008.
On October 15, 2009, Harley-Davidson announced that it would divest its interest in MV Agusta; on August 6, 2010, Harley-Davidson announced that it had concluded the sale of MV Agusta to Claudio Castiglioni and his wholly owned holding company, MV Agusta Motor Holding, S.r.l.
MV Agusta announced that for the first three months of 2010 bike sales increased by 50%.
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