1977 Laverda V6

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Piero Laverda on the V6 at the ASI Moto Show in 2006.
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Stripped of its body work the V6 takes on a very different look as the engine comes into focus.

Years produced: 1977
Total production: 1
Claimed power: 140hp @ 11,800rpm
Engine type: 996cc double-overhead cam, water-cooled V6
Weight (dry): 524lb (238kg)

Moto Laverda might not be making motorcycles anymore, but there is still a lot to admire about the Breganze, Italy, company. Their 750cc double-overhead cam twins produced relatively modest power, but with a fat torque curve that just kept on delivering. And in the early 1970s, Laverda twins were virtually unbeatable on the long distance production racing circuits of Europe thanks to their amazing endurance.

The arrival of the 1,000cc triple in 1973 opened a new chapter in the Laverda story, and the 3C (tre cilindri) would become the mainstay of Laverda production for the next 20 years. And when the legendary Jota, with its race cams and pistons pinched from the factory endurance racers, hit the road three years later, the 140mph projectile became an instant classic. Big, loud and orange, the Italian heavyweight scaled over 550lb (250kg) with a tank of gas, but the brute handled well — if you showed it who was boss. The Jota soon racked up a string of production race victories. But it wasn’t enough for Massimo Laverda. He wanted more.

Massimo’s father, Francesco, established Moto Laverda in 1947, and introduced the company’s first bike, a 75cc single, in 1950. In the early 1960s Massimo visited the Land of the Free to find out where the market was going, and he came away with a lesson he never forgot: In America, Bigger is Better. And he knew that in America — one of Laverda’s most important markets — riders would go wild over a 1,000cc V6 motorcycle.

With a scant two years of development behind it, the V6 made its sensational debut at the Milan Show in November 1977. Now development could really start.

“This bike was not designed for competing in the long distance championship,” says Piero Laverda. “The V6 was the laboratory where we would develop a new generation of Laverda motorcycles. We would be testing the fastest laboratory ever built.”

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