THE VEE SIX
Anyone who is even remotely involved with Laverdas knows about "The Vee Six". My first visit to Italy in 1998 was to me a pilgrimage with two objectives; to meet Massimo Laverda and to see the Vee Six. The rest was a bonus.
I am happy to say that both were achieved and those few hours spent with Massimo will be etched on my mind forever. I spoke with him about many things including of course the topic of the Vee Six. It was hard not to when the first thing that met you upon entering his house was a Vee-Six engine on a stand. Seeing the bike in his garage, along with several other one-off Laverda prototypes was almost like a religious experience, and all the while Massimo just wanted to talk about his alloy-tank-XT500.
Now that Massimo has passed away the memories of that brief visit, and one other I made a few years later, become even more treasured. To see the Vee Six in the context of the enthusiasm, grace and humility of the man who was so instrumental in its creation was a great honour.
The Vee Six was a seriously significant motorcycle, not just for Laverda but in the grander scheme. It was designed and built throughout 1976-78 and raced just once in the1978 Bol D'or 24hr race. Its appearance and subsequent DNF represented the entire racing achievement of the project. Eight and a half hours were all the world had to savour the shrill exhaust note in anger. But now - more than 30 years on - it remains one of the great legends of the Italian motorcycling industry, viewed not as a racing failure but as a technical masterpiece. So lets take a stroll through the history of this great motorcycle...
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