The Venable family’s 1974 “Green Frame” Ducati 750SS won an Amelia award.
Since its inception, the Amelia Island Concours has reserved a spot for motorcycles. This year the featured class was ’70s Italian Superbikes. Motorcycling was exploding in popularity in the U.S. in the ’70s, with motorcycle registrations reaching a new high in 1973. As Japan started releasing their big bikes, the Italians were close behind with their own big bikes that were both brawny and beautiful. Soon their mark was made on the racetrack with their secret weapon, handling!
Robin Lawrence’s spectacular 1981 Magni MV Agusta.
Ducati became the high-water mark with their 750SS Imola Replica aka the Green Frame. Only made in small batches, they were marketed with the hopes that new owners would take them to the track. There were two at Amelia this year. One was a nice original from the Barber Museum, previously owned by Phil Schilling. The other, a nicely restored 1974 Green Frame owned by James Venable, garnered an Amelia award. An equally exciting 1979 900SS was an award winner too, from the Sisso collection. There were also several MV Agustas, including an exceptional 1972 750S from Robb Talbot looking very patriotic in its red, white and blue livery. The MV and the corporate winner in this class was Robin Lawrence’s 1981 MV Agusta Magni. MVs were typically sold as a 750. They also had a shaft drive as the OEM set up. Arturo Magni, formerly MV’s racing manager, realized that power was being lost through the shaft, so he set up a chain-drive option to deliver more horsepower to the ground. The bore was increased for a capacity of over 900cc on Robin’s bike.
The Dillard family’s 1973 Laverda SFC was the class winner.
In some ways Moto Guzzi was one of the first big Italian bikes with the launch of their 700CC touring bike in 1967. Of course only a few months later someone had converted one to a racer. An early 750 V-7 Sport was on display in pristine original condition. Also, on display was a later version, the 850.
Laverdas made a big splash with four entries. The ultimate winner was the Dillard family’s 1973 SFC. SFCs were built and manufactured with a focus on endurance racing, and they all came in a brilliant orange paint scheme with a quarter fairing.
All entries were a great testimony of the big impact that small Italian manufacturers had on the market in the 1970s.
Robb Talbot’s 1972 MV Agusta 750 Sport.
1979 Ducati 900SS from the Sisso collection won an Amelia award.