The Benelli Sei 750

The Italian answer to the Japanese onslaught

| September/October 2006

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    Italian for six, the styling of the “Sei” is considered tame by some. Still, there’s no denying the appeal of those six chrome pipes.
    Photo by Nick Cedar
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    Photo by Nick Cedar
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    Photo by Nick Cedar
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    Photo by Nick Cedar
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    Photo by Nick Cedar

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Benelli Sei 750
Years produced:
 1974-1977
Total production: 3,200
Claimed power: 71hp @ 8,500rpm (factory rating)
Top speed: 126mph (period test)
Engine type: 747cc overhead cam, air-cooled inline six
Weight (dry): 220.4kg (485lb)
Price then: $3,995
Price now: $3,500-$7,500
MPG: 28-35 (period test)

It was the fall of 1972 when the Benelli Sei 750 was first unveiled before a large audience of Italian dignitaries and journalists from all over the world. As the sheet came off the Sei, the first production six-cylinder motorcycle ever presented to the public, Alejandro De Tomaso made a proclamation: he was declaring war on the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers.

De Tomaso, a well-known sports car builder and stylist, had purchased the venerable Benelli company the year before, and directed its engineers to produce a new motorcycle — and not just any motorcycle, but a beautiful, stylish, well behaved six-cylinder motorcycle with up-to-date components. 

Read Barry Porter's review of owning and riding a Benelli Sei 750 



To understand De Tomaso’s ambitions, some context is helpful. The late 1960s and early 1970s were a time of great flux in the motorcycle world. The end of World War II brought with it poverty for many in Europe and Asia, and a pressing need for inexpensive transportation. In addition, many returning American soldiers had become interested in the motorcycles they had seen — and ridden — overseas.

The American and English factories made a swift changeover from war production to building small bikes for the civilian market, and numerous startups in Italy and Japan began production.



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