This 4-cylinder 500cc which was introduced at the Milan Show in 1950 was the perfect illustration of Count Agusta's vision in competition: beauty lies in victory and he gave himself the means to achieve it! Designed in a few months by a small team led by engineer Piero Remor, from the Gilera team, this machine strikingly featured a twin-shaft four-cylinder powered by two carburettors, equipped with a 4-speed gearbox, drive shaft and cardan shaft transmission, original torsion bar suspensions and friction dampers, mounted both at the front and rear end.
This first MV 4 produced about 50 hp at 9,000 rpm and had a contained weight of 118 kg. With a tune-up limited to a quick bench test, the 500 made its debut at the 1950 Belgian GP. Arciso Artesiani won a commendable 5th place behind three Gilera and one AJS! Artesiani took 3rd place on the podium at the Nations Grand Prix but Count Agusta soon welcomed Leslie Graham, 1949 World Champion on an AJS.
In 1951, the machine's torsion bars were replaced by traditional telescopic suspensions and it was equipped with four carburettors. A year later, the MV 500 adopted a chain transmission, choosing proven solutions over its specificities.
This specific machine is a shaft-drive version equipped with an Earles fork and favoured by English rider Leslie Graham. It participated in the 1953 Grand Prix in a configuration close to this one to support the last version of the 500/4.
The 500 4-cylinder from this collection is an exceptional machine. It features a large number of original period parts which account for its rarity. The impressive cylinder head assembly shaped from a single block reminiscent of the Gilera 4s, designed by Piero Remor, is particularly noteworthy (probably the only one of its kind!). Its period elements also include the 30 mm Dell'Orto SS carburettors and magneto as well as the double-cam front drum brake, Borrani wheels, rear suspension, rear shock absorbers, rev-counter, footrests, handlebars and front fork (parts of the Earles fork have been redesigned for safety purposes).
The crankcases, gearbox and transmission shaft have been rebuilt, while the casing (tank, seat and fairing) has been restored back to original condition by Primo Felloti, the artist who hammered these aluminium panels for ten years in the MV racing workshop! This legendary motorcycle was featured in a large Italian collection for a long while before it was bought by our collector in the mid-1990s. This machine marks the beginning of MV Agusta's adventure in the Queen Class and deserves all the attention of lovers of unique racing machines.