Laverda: Brand Royalty
In the world of motorcycles there are loads of tragically dormant brands. But the fact that no current bikes bear the noble badge of Laverda must be one of the most tragic of these absences.
Laverda began, like Lamborghini, out of a small family-run agricultural family business in the North East of Italy after the second World War. You can read the whole story here: but suffice it to say that there are more than a few passing resemblances between Laverda and the even more famous badge that bears the raging bull.
In a sense, Laverda was the Lamborghini of the bike world – they made exciting, quirky, powerful machines shot through with a blue-collar version of the Italian automotive dream.
With frame and engine architecture designed to be super resilient and easy to fix – my favourite was the Jota. Though I never rode one, I would pushbike it down to a local motorbike dealer who sold them. In the late seventies these, along with the Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk1 – were for me the ultimate in two-wheeled sexiness.
In 1977 they unveiled this amazing sounding V6 and entered it in the 24-hour Bol d’Or race held at the Paul Ricard circuit. Apparently it clocked 175 mph on the back straight during a practice run but it’s performance in the race was hindered by a bulky build and it did not finish. Laverda planned on re-entering the V6 in the 1979 race but rule changes limited Endurance racers to four cylinders and the V6 project was officially ended.
It looks like the Piaggio giant who control the Laverda brand are doing nothing with it except for running through the history of the brand on a redirected website. Wouldn’t it be cool to reboot the brand and sell some classic bikes re-imagined for this new generation of hipster bikers?
You may know better, whether or not anyone has ever thought of doing such a thing.
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