THE 3 VEE SIXES
As we have seen, this fascinating project came to a very premature end in 1978 when the FIM banned six cylinder bikes from endurance racing. At that point just one complete bike existed - the race bike which then became the object of fascination by enthusiasts for decades hence. But what of the others? Let's examine the details of all the Vee Sixes that have been seen then, it does not take long...
1978 Race Bike
As Massimo's health declined, Piero assumed the role of the bike's "primary carer" and it began a life of increasing exposure. Piero began to show the bike at the increasingly popular "Parade" events, where historic vehicles can circulate on the track without actually racing. In this capacity the machine has been enjoyed by thousands of people in Europe, the UK and even the USA. Though wonderful to see it out and about, something of the mythical allure that surrounded this bike throughout the 80's and 90's has been lost.
It is still almost exactly as-raced in 1978. The tyres have been changed, new stickers on the tank 'Menani' and 'www.laverdacorse.it' and the substitution of the distinctive megaphones with open slash cut pipes - in Piero's words "to make more noise!". The bike as-raced actually had unpainted valve covers so obviously when the driveshaft was changed some other servicing and minor changes were done to the engine.
1991 Zanini Vee Six
This bike did the rounds of public appearances in that period and made the move to the Zanè factory but was never seen running. Rumours abounded as to what prevented it, from a simple ignition component to having no engine internals at all. By the very late 90's this bike was at the home of Francesco Tognon, director and shareholder of the Laverda company at the time.
When the Zanè factory went under in ~2000 this Vee Six was sold to a wealthy enthusiast in Padova. It was not seen for many years but super-enthusiast and collector Cor Dees was in contact with the owner and after many attempts was able to purchase the bike in 2007, adding to his existing Vee Six described below.
Upon disassembly, the engine was found to be more-or-less complete (though some parts were unserviceable) but was missing many of the gearbox internals. The engine turned out to be the one from the Prototype of 1977, with the smaller carburetors, slightly different heads and some other minor differences. Given Cor had a 1978-spec engine for his other Vee Six, he decided he would swap the engines, bringing the Zanini bike to full 1978 Race-Bike spec, and allowing him to rebuild the new bike as a 1977 Prototype Replica.
All going well it should run for the very first time in the next year or so. See Cor's Museum Website for details of his amazing dual Vee Six project.
c.2000 Pile Of Parts - Soon To Be 1977 Prototype Redux
After finding the Zanini Vee Six to have what was essentially the 1977 Prototype-spec engine installed, the two bikes will exchange engines. This bike will be built-up as a 1977 Prototype Replica, while the Zanini bike will receive the historically correct 1978-spec engine components.
See Cor's Museum Website for details of his amazing dual Vee Six project.