Friday, April 13, 2007

The not-so-true story of the MV Augusta 60cc Cafe Monomoto Superleggera.


"J. Wood & Company has held an annual auction in Daytona for the past 20 years. This year, they auctioned off a very interesting piece of art that fetched a very interesting price. At the very least, it a well thought out piece of motorcycle racing art, that comes with an unbelievable story.
Here is the story that came with the bike….
"This MV Augusta 60cc Monomoto Superleggera is the experimental machine ridden by young wealthy Italian Luiggi Bandini, during practice for the 1954 Milano-Taranto Road Race. Bandini tragically lost control in a misty mountain section, while waving to a pretty spectator. His grief stricken father, Count Enzio Bandini, “The Falcon,” never again permitted anyone to ride or even view this advanced design, and knowledge of its whereabouts faded. Eventually, rumors of this fascinating machine reached the motorcycling bon vivant Todd Fell. On a trip to Naples, Italy, his quest to find it was rewarded at the Bandini country villa, where in 2004, fifty years after the tragic accident, the late Count’s family was persuaded to part with the treasure."

If mythical motorcycles are really your thing-visit the best (and only) site for just that: The Spagthorpe Motorcyle Company. Take for example David Helber's Spagthorpe Rottweiler:

"I was rummaging through the effects of my great-uncle, Major-General Tremorden Rederring, KCB, and found this photo of Bart. Capt. Isidore Dunn-Spagthorpe, late of the Royal Flying Corps., testing the Spagthorpe unirotor at his seaside villa near Tintagel in 1931. Both Capt. Dunn-Spagthorpe and the prototype came to an unfortunate end when the Captain’s trademark silk aviator scarf fouled an idler wheel, breaking his neck and pitching the machine over a cliff edge into the crashing surf of an outgoing tide. Neither the Captain nor the prototype was ever recovered. This ended Spagthorpe’s interest in the monowheel concept. The machine, according to pencilled notes on the back of the photo, had been given the developmental title “Mongrel,” but, had it endured to production status, would undoubtedly have been provided with a more marketably euphonious appelation. What appears to be the word “Rottweiler” is faintly inscribed in a lower corner of the back, and it is possible that this was the projected product name.

Beyond this, not much is known about the Spagthorpe Rottweiler except that it had a chain-driven oil filter."
Want to see some real functioning Monowheels? then go to The incredible Self Monowheel site.

From "Science et Vie" May 1993, p170

"Proud as a peacock, town sergeant Davide Cislaghi, a former electrician, has driven his 1.45 metre diameter monocycle for some dozens of kilometers. No problem with stability; all the vehicle parts are fixed to the interior circle to lower the centre of gravity. To turn, the pilot leans his body to right or left. On stopping, two little lateral wheels lower themselves."

(The text in the picture reads: "Insolites" wich means "Strange")

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