Ugly is the word usually used to describe MV Agusta’s 600 Four! However from such undesirable seeds something universally acclaimed as beautiful grew (and is the subject of the next column).
MV finally produced a road going four cylinder motorcycle in 1967 (after the prototype was displayed at the Milan Show in 1965) after racing them since 1950. They had even shown the road going 500 cc four-cylinder R 19 prototype back in 1950!
However the 600 Four was not some racy sports model but a sedate tourer. This was a deliberate move on Count Agusta’s part to make it as hard as possible for privateer racers to convert the road bike into a race machine. Not many of the 127 produced have survived as they were fairly easily converted into the much more desirable 750 Sport.
While originally fitted with a pair of 24 mm Dell’Orto carburettors, four were an option on later production bikes. The disc brakes were mechanically operated. Power was 50 hp at 8,200 rpm, with a wet weight of 221kg. A top speed of 175 km/h was possible.
This machine was the original US press bike and was bought by a doctor in California who kept it for 40 years without riding it – before being obtained by the current owner and moved to New Zealand, where it is ridden regularly. It is in original condition.
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