The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum Part 4 – With Phil Aynsley
Part Four of a tour through the Barber Museum – Morbidelli and MV Agusta
George Barber has an excellent relationship with Giancarlo Morbidelli and as a result has a great collection of his bikes on display. Interestingly Giancarlo Morbidelli himself designed the layout in which seven of his bikes are displayed in the museum.
One of the four V-8s produced in the mid ‘90s sits at the entrance to the museum’s Morbidelli display area. The 847cc water-cooled DOHC V-8 produced a claimed 120hp at 11,000rpm but the asking price of US$65,000 proved to be too much and only three were sold. Designed as a sports tourer its top speed was 240km/h.
The 500’s most distinctive feature was the aluminium monocoque chassis, introduced after an uncompetitive first season in 1979.
The 500 was powerful enough, with 130hp at 11,500rpm but unreliable, resulting in rider Graziano Rossi (Valentino’s father) failing to qualify for any race during 1980. Dry weight was 135kg with a top speed of 290km/h.
The 1977 350GP was a scaled up version of the 250. After initially using a Bimota frame, an in-house, monoshock design was used. 70hp at 11,000rpm gave a top speed of 275km/h.
The MBA ( Morbidelli-Benelli-Armi) 125.
The Morbidelli 250 debuted in 1976, finishing second in that year’s championship before winning in 1977. Power was 64hp at 11,500rpm. Top speed was 260km/h.
A 1971 Morbidelli 50, and 1975 Morbidelli 125.
The museum has at least four MV Agustas on display, three of which are seen here. Front to rear: 1967 500/3, 1972 750 Imola, 1954 500/4.
Agostini’s 1972 750 Imola mount which was modified considerably for the following year – notably with a chain final drive, box section swing arm and dual front Scarab discs.
The second of the 750 Imolas built had been for Albert Pagani to ride in the ’72 race and differed from Agostini’s bike in the frame and tank shape.
Both bikes were very much race specials (despite having to be based on production models) with the cylinders being cast in the one block, instead of separately, the heads were different castings with fewer fins and revised valve angles. The 29mm SS1 Dell’Orto carburettors were bored out to 30mm. Power was 85hp at 9,000rpm.
John Surtees’ 1956 world championship winning 500/4. Power was 56hp at 10,500rpm, with a top speed of 233km/h.
A MV Agusta 1954 500/4.
A 1973 500/4. Power was up to 98hp at 14,000rpm, with a top speed of 290km/h.