1974 Laverda 750 SFC
The Laverda 750 SFC — A limited production, street-legal racer built to go the distance.
1974 Laverda 750 SFC.
Photo by Corey Levenson
1974 Laverda 750 SFC
Claimed power: 75hp @ 7,500rpm
Top speed: 135mph (est.)
Engine: 744cc OHC air-cooled parallel twin
Weight (wet/est.): 420lb (191kg)
Fuel capacity: 6.6gal (25ltr)
Price then: $3,520
Price now: $40,000+
Rolling up the long rocky driveway to Scott Potter’s home in the Texas hill country, the barn cats and free-range chickens scurrying about look right at home in these rolling hills. What seem out of place are the four bright and shiny Laverdas parked at the end of the driveway.
There are more treasures in Scott’s workshop, including several Laverdas in various stages of restoration. One machine in particular stands out amongst its brethren, however, and it’s the reason for my visit: a bright orange, super rare 1974 Laverda 750 SFC production racer.
Ask someone to close their eyes and think of something orange and exhilarating and they might conjure up anything from a Lamborghini to a bottle of Fanta. A Laverda 750 SFC is not likely to come to mind, however. These Italian machines are so scarce that motorcycle enthusiasts rarely get to see one in the flesh. Once seen, however, they are hard to forget. Their bright orange livery is striking, their overall styling purposeful, and the snarling noise their parallel twin engine makes sends chills up the spine.
The Birth of the Parallel Twin
Moto Laverda was officially founded in October 1949, and the first batch of 75cc machines left the factory that fall. The 75cc Turismo and a bigger 100cc brother were not only huge commercial successes, but won many of the major Italian races of the time, including the Milano-Taranto. They were designed by engineer Luciano Zen, who would play a major role in the design of later Laverdas.
In 1964, founder Francesco Laverda named his son, Massimo Laverda, general manager. Barely 25 years old, Massimo had big dreams for the company. In 1966, he initiated a project to bring Laverda into direct competition with the major motorcycle manufacturers of the world by building a 650cc parallel twin.
This was a pivotal era in motorcycle development. Contemporary British twins were based on antiquated designs and had gained a reputation for unreliability. At the same time, the Japanese were making inroads with modern, oil-tight, low-maintenance machines. None of this escaped Massimo’s attention, and he was especially eager to serve the American market, where motorcycles were catching on as part of a new, leisure-oriented lifestyle.
Massimo was particularly intrigued by the 305cc Honda CB77 Superhawk parallel twin. Following extensive examination by Zen, Laverda felt confident they could build on the 305cc Honda’s basic design to produce the larger capacity 650cc machine they envisioned.
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