Magni MV Agusta 850cc Superlight / Bonhams


- " Born just outside Milan in 1925, Magni started his motorcycle career in 1947 in Gilera's Arcore racing department. Count Domenico Agusta tempted him in 1950 as chief mechanic and later managed the racing department during MV's Grand Prix "golden age".

When MV retired from Grand Prix racing in 1976, Magni and his two sons set up their own company in Samarate, producing performance parts for the MV Agusta 750 street bikes, including big-bore kits, special frames and chain-drive conversions. Magni commenced production of motorcycles under his own name in 1980, initially using the Honda CB900 engine, with BMW, Moto Guzzi and Suzuki-engined models following. Despite all his latter day successes with Moto Guzzi, Arturo Magni's name will forever be linked with that of MV Agusta, whose reputation this great engineer did so much to forge. Official production of the Magni, together with that of all MV Agusta's other models, ended in February 1979, although Arturo and his sons Carlo and Giovanni continue to create bespoke MVs to special order.

Meanwhile one David Kay bought his first MV, a 750S America, in 1977 and he was hooked. Soon he had more and by 1983 he had started MVA Engineering (soon to be MV Meccanica Verhera Ltd) to produce mechanical parts for all the MV 4-cylinder road bikes. After many surges of activity, single-minded promotion and racing success, David and his son Mark, have established a reputation of quality of craftsmanship that is second to none and certainly over and above the work that inspires them. Not only have the "created" their own MVs – three and four cylinder - but also Grand Prix Gileras. "This ...motorcycle factory is competently run by MV devotees Dave Kay and his son Mark. This pair of superb engineers hand-craft the multitude of components that make up a four-cylinder MV, and then assemble them into beautiful and faithful replicas of the legendary machinery." Chris Pearson, Italian Bike

Built by David Kay to "Superlight" specification, this unique, one-off machine is highlighted by the following features: a Magni-style frame, swingarm and rear chain drive conversion; Ceriani 40mm GP type forks with adjustable damping; Fontana magnesium 4-leading shoe racing front brake with the same rear brake but with 2-leading shoes only; Borrani aluminum rimmed wire-spoke wheels; Menani racing clip-ons; an alloy tank with dual Monza fillers; stainless fittings throughout many drilled for lightness; Koni adjustable rear shocks; and Primo Felotti bodywork. The engine incorporates magnesium alloy crankcases and cylinders and forged high compression pistons; semi-race camshafts; magnesium-body racing Dell'Orto carburetors; electronic ignition; electric starter motor; 4-pipe ceramic-coated exhausts with removable baffles and uprated dry clutch. Maximum power is estimated at 80bhp.

Since being finished, this stunning MV has spent most of its life cossetted away in a private museum. It was initially started when brand new and run for about five miles but has been "quiet" ever since."

- Bonhams auctions