~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Friday, January 06, 2006

A Pearl Before Swine


In all of motorcycling there is no name more worth of label "legendary" than MV Agusta motorcycles. Founded in 1945 by the autocratic Count Agusta simply because he loved motorcycles, the MV Agusta marque won dozens of world championships on the most famous race circuits of all time with their bikes in the hands of the greatest riders of all time such as Giacomo Agostini.

As I wrote about some time ago, a pedigree cannot be purchased nor can the good name of the past often be revived. Motorcycle brands born of a passion for speed and motorcycles rarely if ever fair well when revived by businessmen more interested in the bottom line than the top end.

MV Agusta, revived a few years ago by assorted Italian folks did a creditable job of building a great a bike, a bike as close to perfect in fit and finish as any production bike I've ever seen. Sadly, there was no real connection to the original MV Agusta beyond the name. Count Agusta is long dead and the moneychangers who control his business empire sold off the bike brand name to Italian investors.

Sadly, as often happens with Italian motor companies, the new MV Agusta company ran up mountains of debt while selling too few motorcycles. Consequently, the MV Agusta motorcycle brand was sold sometime back to Malaysian national car maker Proton who thought they could make some sort of quick profit, I suppose.
Proton, having no more soul than lump of lead, has just ignominiously dumped the storied Agusta name for a mere 1 euro or about $1.20 to an Italian investment firm thereby further tarnishing a great marque. Ironic that it should happen just as the American Motorcyclist Assocication announced that MV Agusta would be the featured marque a their "Vintage Motorcycle Days" event in August.

It would be nice if the MV Agusta name along with Indian, Vincent, Excelsior-Henderson, Bultaco, and other great brands of the past, could be left to their eternal sleep and well earned legend status instead of so often being raised zombie-like for the profit pleasures of businessmen who would be just has happy selling plumbing fixtures if the profits were high enough.

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"When my mood gets too hot and I find myself wandering beyond control I pull out my motor-bike and hurl it top-speed through these unfit roads for hour after hour." - T.E. Lawrence



An Important reminder from the past:
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison