Monday, October 1, 2007

Tangerine Dream: The 1981 Laverda 1000 Jota.

Edited for size From Road Runner touring and travel:

"Any color as long as it's black." Not surprisingly, it was in the psychedelic seventies when motorcycle manufacturers first broke with the tradition of black-painted frames. First came BSA's "dove grey," intended, it's said, to reprise the company's titanium-tubed, motocross bike frames. Then came Ducati's teal-framed silver 750SS. But perhaps the most successful color combo was Laverda's pairing of the company's racing orange with the sleek silver tubes of its mighty muscle bike, the Jota.

The Bikes from Breganze
Pietro Laverda founded the eponymous Breganze, Italy company in 1873 to manufacture farm machinery. In 1948 his grandson Francesco built the first Laverda motorcycle, a 75cc four-stroke intended for his own use. Devastated by war but fired with renewed vitality, Italy was undergoing its reconstruzione, and demanded cheap, economical transportation. Soon, Francesco's neighbors wanted his sturdy little bikes. Incorporating motorcycles in the company's output was not a great stretch, and an initial batch of 500 bikes was produced in 1951.

Now committed to motorcycle production, Laverda needed sales, and selling motorcycles in Italy means going racing; so Laverda entered a 75cc machine in the 1951 Milano-Taranto race, and though carburetion problems forced its retirement, the bike proved competitive. In the same race two years later, Laverdas filled the first 14 places in their class! More success followed for Laverda in the 100cc class until 1956, when overhead camshaft Ceccatos and Ducati Mariannas (both Fabio Taglioni designs) began to dominate the class...."

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