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Author Topic: Italian V6 with a difference.  (Read 3085 times)
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RobD
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« on: 03 April, 2015, 10:41:39 PM »

Trawling through some old files today I came across some pics which may be of interest to anybody with an interest in V6 engines...

Moto Laverda from Breganze developed a V6 race bike in the mid seventies. The engine was developed by Ing. Alfieri, Maserati's engine wizard who had recently left the company following the takeover by Citroen . Alfieri was kicking his heels on gardening leave when Massimo Laverda suggested he develop a new motorcycle engine and Alfieri suggested a V6. He had recently developed the engine used in the Merak and so the choice of a V6 was perhaps not surprising.
The engine was developed in an astonishingly short time, less than a year according to Piero Laverda. Sadly it came during a period of turbulence at the factory and after very promising racing debut at the Bol D'or where the bike was timed at over 283 kph the project was shelved.
I was very privileged to ride the V6 at Mallory Park a few years ago and can testify that it's a very fast bike even by today's standards. It originally put out 160bhp but this was deemed too much and in a slighter softer state of tune it made a 'mere' 140bhp.
For those who have never seen it, here's a few pics of the bike







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simonandjuliet
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« Reply #1 on: 04 April, 2015, 06:02:31 AM »

Looks like it would fit in an Aprilia engine bay without having to cut the front axle

Fascinating, how many cc's ?
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RobD
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« Reply #2 on: 04 April, 2015, 09:10:14 PM »

I can't remember the exact capacity, 995 rings a distant bell. I have it on good authority Lotus expressed an interest in it at one stage with a view to a new sports car project... a V6 Europa perhaps?
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'75 Fulvia 1.3S
'68 works Laverda 125cc ISDT
KTM 640 Adventure
Yamaha TDM 900
Numerous Gas Gas trail bikes...
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GG
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B20 s.2, Appia C10 unrestored


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« Reply #3 on: 04 April, 2015, 10:30:23 PM »

From Tim Parker, a noted Laverda afficionado:

First, every year from 1975 (after the sale to Fiat of the agri business) was one of turbulence at Laverda, and not just with funding but also with in-fighting. The “V6 era” was not special in this regard. Alfieri, who was not the only designer to have his hand on the drawings, just the best known, and Massimo got their inspiration I believe from the French (Renault) Alpine V6 which apparently worked on several configurations of small capacity V6s (as told to me by someone at the factory). It’s a sad story because the engine and bike desperately suffered from the “under” factor: underdevelopment, under testing as well as underfunding. The engine itself was tough enough although it needed fuel injection and a real induction system (airbox) and the chassis suffered because of the shaft drive - it kept breaking universal joints (too much suspension travel and not enough “universal”). Reducing power output (from 160 to 140) was not unusual in endurance racing to improve endurance and reduce fuel consumption.

What is without dispute is the magnificence of the noise that engine makes… I was once having dinner with Massimo and his family at his home when he left the table and went into their living room where the V6 racer was sitting, inside, and he started it. Wow! No dessert will ever taste the same.
« Last Edit: 06 April, 2015, 01:06:33 PM by GG » Logged

B20 s.2, Appia C10 unrestored
RobD
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« Reply #4 on: 06 April, 2015, 08:49:38 PM »

The V6 underwent rather more testing than many folks realised. I  interviewed factory test rider Fernando Capelotto for a Classic Bike article and he came up with surprising revelation that during testing he had ridden the V6 on the road for over 30,000 kilometres without any major issues. When you consider the bike was basically a racing prototype this is an impressive statistic.
The cardan joint in the drive shaft was the bike's achilles heel, a weak point which has now been rectified on the bike which still makes regular track appearances at classic bike gatherings. Back in the mid seventies drive chain technology was simply not up to the 160bhp output and this [I presume] is why the factory opted for shaft.
I've got a wma sound file from the few laps of Mallory Park I did on the bike but sadly I can't find a way of posting it. If anybody knows how to do it I'll post it because the sound is absolutely glorious. Think Cosworth DFV with a hard edged wail and you get the idea...it is also the loudest bike I have ever heard, painfully loud in fact. I was under strict instructions not to exceed 8600rpm but I am aware Piero and Fernando regular take it up 10,500
Here's a couple of pics showing me with a very concerned look on my face wheeling it out of the pits under the watchful eye of Piero Laverda and a shot of me taking a very feeble line around the hairpin trying to steer well clear of the trigger happy nutters during the parade lap. Dropping it was not an option.



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'75 Fulvia 1.3S
'68 works Laverda 125cc ISDT
KTM 640 Adventure
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Numerous Gas Gas trail bikes...
www.adventureride.co.uk
GG
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« Reply #5 on: 06 April, 2015, 11:11:57 PM »

Great stuff, much thanks for posting. Got any engine drawings? Smiley
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DavidLaver
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« Reply #6 on: 07 April, 2015, 09:26:31 AM »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9EG3IiLMb4

In the video (above) it become obvious how low the engine sits.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hIhOoB4Lsw

This longer one (below) I've not watched all the way through.  It's a start up indoors in 1991.  The same event mentioned above?  Smoke as all he had for fuel was two stroke mix for the lawn mower:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKqEEIlhNzg
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David Laver, Lewisham.
stanley sweet
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« Reply #7 on: 07 April, 2015, 09:41:28 AM »

That was quite a responsibilty you had there. You're obviously highly regarded and trusted to bring it back in one piece. I wonder if anyone would let me try an F&M special on the Silver Flag?
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lancialulu
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« Reply #8 on: 07 April, 2015, 10:37:36 AM »

How crisp is that! just love the throttle cut to instantaneous nothingness!
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RobD
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« Reply #9 on: 08 April, 2015, 08:27:34 AM »

That was quite a responsibilty you had there. You're obviously highly regarded and trusted to bring it back in one piece. I wonder if anyone would let me try an F&M special on the Silver Flag?

Hi Stanley,
It was a great privilege to ride the V6 . Piero Laverda is a  good friend of mine and prior to being offered the ride on the V6 we'd been racing together in endurance events in Italy for a few seasons . My initial connection with the Laverda team goes back to a race at Spa where I'd turned up as a spectator to watch the team in an endurance race. To cut a very long story short the team's bike broke down, I loaned them mine for the race, they crashed it, we fixed it and the team came 19th even having lost 20 minutes in the pits
 I have a feeling my pragmatic acceptance of the damage sustained by my bike during that race at Spa may have subsequently influenced Piero's decision to let me ride the V6 some years later!
After that I joined the team as a rider and we had a very successful run in the FIM Vintage Endurance Cup championship for a number of seasons riding works type 500cc twin cylinder 'Barcelona ' endurance racers.

Here's a few pics from that race at Spa


This is the works bike with a concerned Piero Laverda and an Italian mechanic contemplating a very dead engine. Well what would you do if you had a very similar bike languishing in your van doing nothing? You'd let them borrow it...


This is my bike but with the works bodywork fitted . Technically it should have been scrutineered before going on to the track but it seemed a lot less hassle just to pretend it was the same bike!



Belgian rider Italo Ricci gets off to a flying start in the Le Mans style start. A few laps later he was sliding down the track on his backside having been brought down by an oil spill.



Night time pit stop and rider changeover.
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'75 Fulvia 1.3S
'68 works Laverda 125cc ISDT
KTM 640 Adventure
Yamaha TDM 900
Numerous Gas Gas trail bikes...
www.adventureride.co.uk
stanley sweet
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« Reply #10 on: 08 April, 2015, 09:12:42 AM »

What a fantastic story. Love the front cowling with the twin lamps. Do you still have the bike they used?
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RobD
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« Reply #11 on: 08 April, 2015, 10:53:42 AM »

Ha! Sadly Stanley, no I don't.
 I've raced just about every derivative of Laverda over the years including  two F500s, a Barcelona 600, an Egli 750SFC and the 1000cc spaceframe endurance racer. To me they were tools [very nice tools which I very much enjoyed developing and riding] but once they'd served their purpose they were moved on.  They were all bought for reasonable money and then increased rapidly in value to the point they became too valuable to race. At this point I'd sell them, build something more exotic and move up a class! That's how I ended up racing in Europe. It wasn't part of some grand, perfectly-planned strategy, it's just the way it worked out.

Here's a few pics of some of the bikes



This is a rare Formula 500 production racer. Mere hairpin, Oliver's Mount.



Barcelona 600. My much modified endurance bike, about 72 bhp and 145kg. Very easy to ride and very quick. This is at Adria in Italy



Bulky looking spaceframe endurance racer. It's actually a lot lighter that it looks , just under 200kg. Lovely bike and brutally quick. This was fitted with a very nicely tuned 120 degree version of Laverda's triple. This was a test session at Mallory just after I'd built it.



Same bike in a sprint at Elvington. On long circuit gearing I reckon it would do about 160mph. The factory only built 5 examples and then a few years ago Piero Laverda sanctioned a continuation of the original series. This was frame number 007.



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You're all entitled to my opinion.
'75 Fulvia 1.3S
'68 works Laverda 125cc ISDT
KTM 640 Adventure
Yamaha TDM 900
Numerous Gas Gas trail bikes...
www.adventureride.co.uk
simonandjuliet
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« Reply #12 on: 08 April, 2015, 11:12:07 AM »

Lovely, lovely , lovely .......

We could almost do with a separate heading for LMC motorbikes and other Italian machinery !
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ColinMarr
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« Reply #13 on: 08 April, 2015, 05:55:36 PM »

Yes, absolutely lovely!

I have never seen it in the flesh, but there once was a motor bike fitted with a Fulvia 1300 engine. This was described, with an accompanying photo in an LMC monthly Newsheet in the mid 1980s. I can’t recall any of the details, except that it was water cooled and had a radiator. The mind boggles ….

Colin
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Richard Fridd
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« Reply #14 on: 08 April, 2015, 06:42:05 PM »

Any photos of the Fulvia motorcycle anyone?
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Richard Nevison Fridd                                                                      Happy Lancia, Happy Life
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