MV Agusta Six-Cylinder
1957 500cc six-cylinder racer


Competition in the 500cc Grand Prix class was reaching new heights in the late 1950s and Gilera’s extremely successful 500/4 was at its peak.

PA MV
1957 MV Agusta 500cc Six-cylinder racer

Moto Guzzi was bringing its fabulous V-8 to the track. MV Agusta had their 500/4 but were looking to make the next step – enter the MV Agusta 500/6.

PA MV
1957 MV Agusta 500cc Six-cylinder racer
PA MV
1957 MV Agusta 500cc Six-cylinder racer

Conceived in 1956 and first run in mid 1957, the two-valve per cylinder DOHC six-cylinder was used in practice in the last round of the ’57 season, at Monza.

PA MV
1957 MV Agusta 500cc Six-cylinder racer
PA MV
1957 MV Agusta 500cc Six-cylinder racer

It was deemed to require more development work and thus didn’t make its racing debut until the same round the following year – where John Hartle was forced to retire with a broken con-rod after 19 of 35 laps.

PA MV
1957 MV Agusta 500cc Six-cylinder racer
PA MV
1957 MV Agusta 500cc Six-cylinder racer
PA MV
1957 MV Agusta 500cc Six-cylinder racer

As it turned out that was to be the bike’s only race as the 500/4 proved to be more than competitive enough in the depleted fields of post 1958 GPs (after the withdrawal of Gilera, Moto Guzzi etc). It made a final appearance in practice at the 1959 Monza round.

PA MV
1957 MV Agusta 500cc Six-cylinder racer
PA MV
1957 MV Agusta 500cc Six-cylinder racer
PA MV
1957 MV Agusta 500cc Six-cylinder racer

The transverse six is quite a sight to behold. Each cylinder is only 83 cc (46.2 x 49.5 mm). When first shown power was around 75 hp at 15,000 rpm, with a top speed of 240 km/h.

PA MV
1957 MV Agusta 500cc Six-cylinder racer
PA MV
1957 MV Agusta 500cc Six-cylinder racer
PA MV
1957 MV Agusta 500cc Six-cylinder racer
PA MV
1957 MV Agusta 500cc Six-cylinder racer
PA MV
1957 MV Agusta 500cc Six-cylinder racer
PA MV
1957 MV Agusta 500cc Six-cylinder racer

A 350cc version was later developed and raced at Modena in 1971. This bike is occasionally seen at classic events, including Phillip Island in 2003.

PA MV
MV Agusta 350cc Six-cylinder racer
PA MV
MV Agusta 350cc Six-cylinder racer
PA MV
MV Agusta 350cc Six-cylinder racer