1957 MV Agusta 500 Quattro

Alan Cathcart test rides a 1957 MV Agusta 500 Quattro, one of only two known surviving examples
By Alan Cathcart
July/August 2007
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Tester Alan Cathcart doing his best imitation of ex-World Champ John Surtees, who raced this actual bike in the late Fifties.
Photo by Kyoichi Nakamura


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1957 MV Agusta 500 Quattro

Total production: 4
Claimed power: 65hp @ 10,500rpm
Engine type: 497cc double-overhead cam, two valves per cylinder, air-cooled inline four
Weight (wet): 140kg (308lb)

With MV Agusta poised to return to World Championship road racing for the first time in more than three decades in the 2008 World Superbike Championship, the chance to ride the bike that established MV’s stellar reputation for Grand Prix success was very timely — as well as a dream come true.

I never saw John Surtees race the red-and-silver Italian “fire engines,” but I certainly heard him winning three Isle of Man Senior TTs in succession via the tinny speaker of my mum’s Roberts radio back in the late 1950s. When BBC commentator Murray Walker kindly stopped talking long enough to let all of us at home live the moment via his broadcast, we could hear the Italian bike’s four bugle exhausts sound their unmistakable music as Surtees accelerated away from Parliament Square en route to another untroubled TT win. Now, thanks to a trusting Peter Jones, I finally know what it was like to be in the plush leather hot seat of that two-wheeled Ferrari all those years ago — and after 20 laps of England’s Mallory Park on a bright winter afternoon, I can say it more than lived up to expectations.

Treasured machine

The implied trust involved in being allowed to ride such a historic machine in something approaching anger in its 50th birthday year was all the more appreciated, given that this was to be the last track outing in Jones’ ownership for his rare and exotic ex-Surtees 1957 MV Agusta four-cylinder 500cc GP racer. That’s because 59-year-old Jones, a former treasurer of the British MV Agusta Owners club, is selling this bike, a machine ridden by a host of stars from Giacomo Agostini to Freddie Spencer, as well as by Jones himself in classic events including Monza, Assen, Goodwood and Montlhery. Along with this machine, which is valued at $400,000, Jones is thinning out some of the 22 MVs he has to generate cash and create space for another Italian project. Can’t wait to see what that new bike is. MC 

Order the July/August 2007 issue of Motorcycle Classics to read more about the 1957 MV Agusta 500 Quattro, including riding impressions by Alan Cathcart. Contact Customer Service at (800) 880-7567 or contact us by email. 








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