MV had become part of the Castiglioni brothers’ Cagiva group in 1991 and sure enough, before the decade’s end, its unmistakable emblem was once again adorning the flanks one of the world’s most fabulous motorcycles: the F4.
Introduced at the 1998 Milan Show, the F4 has already become part of MV legend. In a publicity masterstroke, the factory announced that production would commence with a limited edition run of 300 very special F4s: the ‘Serie Oro’ (Gold Series). Production, at the leisurely rate of three machines per day, commenced late in 1999 at MV’s new factory at Cassinetta di Biandronno, Varese.
Designed by Massimo Tamburini, creator of the Ducati 916, the F4 employed a tubular-steel trellis frame, broadly similar to the Ducati’s, beneath which the water-cooled double-overhead-camshaft 16-valve engine was suspended. The latter was designed by Ferrari and is unique among modern multi-cylinder motorcycle engines in so far as each cylinder’s four valves are disposed radially, rather than as opposed pairs. Equipped with a state-of-the-art Weber-Marelli engine management system, this lightweight and compact power unit produced a class-leading 126bhp. A cassette-type six-speed gearbox enabled ratio changes to be made without splitting the engine.
The Serie Oro’s UK price was set at approximately £26,500, more than double that of the standard F4 Strada, yet every single one had been sold prior to delivery, such was the demand. This price difference was explained by the Oro’s use of exotic materials to reduce weight. For example: the gorgeously curvaceous fairing is made of carbon fibre, whereas the Strada’s is plastic; the five-spoke wheels and single-sided swinging arm, both aluminium on the Strada, are magnesium on the Oro; and the latter’s rear shock is an Öhlins, replacing the Strada’s Sachs unit. Plus, of course, the Oro’s wealth of top-notch, gold-anodised components.
Number ‘8’ of the 300, this Serie Oro was purchased new by the current vendor, a friend of the Castiglionis, whose name is engraved on the top yoke. It is believed to be the first Serie Oro sold to a private individual (earlier examples were reserved for MV executives and royalty). Representing possibly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire one of these exotic hand-built superbikes in ‘as new’ condition, the machine comes with all instruction books, a bespoke MV bike cover, and its original red-carpeted delivery crate. Accompanying documentation consists of a Dichiarazione di Conformità, Facsimile Carta di Circolazione, and Certificat de Conformite.
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Report by bonhams.com