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When the motorcycle legend was established in 1919, the focus at MV Agusta was not two-wheelers but rather the production of aircraft under aeronautical pioneer Conte Giovanni Agusta. Even today, as it happens, the company is among the world’s most important helicopter manufacturers. After the early death of its founder in 1927, his eldest son, Count Domenico Agusta, assumed control of the business and had the first motorcycle models produced as part of a small side operation. Then came the Second World War, the end of which saw the industrial heart of Italy in ruins. To tide over the workforce of the mortally wounded aircraft factory, in 1945 Count Agusta founded a small motorcycle shop in Cascina Costa: Meccanica Verghera Agusta – the “mechanical operation” of Count Agusta. They started with one- and two-cylinder machines designed to satisfy the need for cheaper and more efficient mobility. Soon, however, it became clear that Domenico Agusta was pursuing a new passion: As early as 1950 MV Agusta developed a racing motorcycle for the 125cc class, and within a few years the manufacturer had also advanced into the higher racing classes. In 1956 the Englishman John Surtees, son of a motorcycle dealer, won the first 500cc world championship on an MV Agusta, marking the start of an incredible triumphal procession. Yet in the 1950s the technical superiority and the innovative spirit of the company from the Province of Varese was also applied to road motorcycles, and in the decades that followed MV Agusta became the most exclusive motorcycle brand in the world: An ecstatic character and incandescent temperament are among the most important features of an MV. Once they’ve picked up speed, passion, diligence, enthusiasm, and talent sweep up everything good like a vortex. But as the company’s driving force died along with Count Domenico Agusta in 1971, MV Agusta suddenly lost its tailwind. A few years later MV Agusta had to pass racing’s royal scepter to the upand coming Japanese manufacturers. On August 28, 1976, Giacomo Agostini’s four-stroke MV Agusta racer won on the Nürburgring one last time against the two-stroke machines from the Far East that were competing in the same race. Almost at the same time, MV Agusta was put into financial trouble by the diverging philosophies of subsequent company executives. The end of an era. The MV Agusta legend sank into a long slumber. Only in 1992 did a veritable visionary once again dare to touch the myth-enshrouded motorcycle brand: Claudio Castiglioni had saved Ducati from ruin; he had been successful with his own Cagiva brand in racing and in sales. Up to this point Castiglioni was the most successful motorcycle entrepreneur in Italy, because he had the passion and determination that are so urgently needed in this profession. He succeeded in getting the most talented engineers and designers to commit themselves to him. And yet it took a while for MV Agusta to really take off. More than five years after the acquisition of the trademark rights, an MV Agusta finally rolled up to the starting line once again: On September 16, 1997, the company presented the new MV Agusta F4 in Milan. A masterpiece by the legendary motorcycle designer Massimo Tamburini – slender, thrilling, fast. The motorcycle crowd was electrified. MV Agusta moved into the Cagiva headquarters in Varese; the extreme Brutale Naked Bike followed the F4. The reboot was successful. From then on MV Agusta once again occupied a leading position in the motorcycle world. Nearly 18 years later we are sitting with Giovanni Castiglioni in the garden of his estate in Varese. Since his father’s death in 2011, he has been the company’s president and the mastermind behind the brand. The slim 34-year-old with bright eyes smiles wistfully: “My father and I – we had a very special relationship. He was my best friend. I went everywhere with him.” Castiglioni looks briefly into space. “My father was really scared to introduce the F4 in 1997. On that same night Yamaha presented a new Super Sport motorcycle, and he was afraid that no one would come to the presentation of the first MV Agusta in over two decades. I reassured him. And I was right!” Giovanni Castiglioni laughs defiantly: “It was a great success, a memorable evening! They were all there: the MV Agusta – The History 1919: Count Giovanni Agusta founds an aircraft and aircraft- equipment company in Samarate/Varese 1927: Death of Giovanni Agusta, his son Domenico takes over, first motorcycle engines developed 1945: Domenico Agusta establishes the MV Agusta motorcycle factory 1955–1974: MV Agusta wins 37 world championship titles 1980: Production of motorcycles discontinued 1992: Claudio Castiglioni buys the rights to the MV Agusta brand name 1997: Debut of MV Agusta F4 2008: Harley-Davidson buys MV Agusta 2010: Claudio Castiglioni buys back MV Agusta 70


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