Phil Read’s 1977 MV Agusta At Bonhams Spring Sale

The ultra-rare MV Agusta Boxer (Monza) offered here represents the culmination of the legendary Italian factory’s range of four-cylinder superbikes. Developed from its long line of highly successful multi-cylinder racers, MV Agusta’s first road-going four – a twin-carburettor, 600cc tourer – appeared in 1965.

But the public demanded something more exciting from many-times World Champions MV, and the Gallarate manufacturer duly obliged in 1969, upping capacity to 743cc and further boosting maximum power (to 69bhp) by fitting a quartet of Dell’Orto carburettors to the revised 750GT. Equipped with shaft rather than chain final drive, the latter arguably was more of a tourer than an out-and-out sports bike. Not that many people got to find out for themselves, for the MV was hand made in limited numbers and priced accordingly.

Also in the line-up was the more sporting 750S. Its replacement – the 750S America – was introduced for 1976. Bored out to 789cc, the America produced a claimed 75bhp, an output sufficient to propel the Italian sports roadster to 100mph in around 13 seconds and on to a top speed of 135mph. The next stage of development was the Monza. A stretched (to 832cc) version of the 750S America, the Monza was marketed in Britain as the ‘Boxer’ until complaints from Ferrari (whose sports car had prior claim to the name) forced a change. Cast-alloy wheels, triple Brembo disc brakes, and a fairing – all optional on the 750S America – usually came as standard on the Monza.

Motor Cycle magazine’s John Nutting wrung 144mph out of a Monza, making it the fastest production machine in the world at that time. It was also the most expensive, costing almost twice as much as a comparable Japanese superbike. The Monza though, would prove to be short-lived and relatively few were made; by 1977 MV’s motorcycle division was in administrative receivership and production ceased at the end of the following year.

First registered on 14th September 1977, ‘SAN 524S’ is one of the two Boxers sold as such by Agrati. The other was sold to property developer John Safe, later Chairman of the MV Owners’ Club of Great Britain, while this one was loaned by Agusta Concessionaires to former factory star and seven-time World Champion, Phil Read. In 1977, Phil took part in a road test of this Boxer for Super Bike magazine (copy on file). He had this to say about the Boxer: “Until today, I didn’t know what a magnificent bike it is. I’ve ridden it on the road, but you can’t get near the limit there… Now, since riding the MV on a closed circuit in comparison with other road bikes, I’ve discovered what a superlative sports motorcycle it is.”

Acquired by the current vendor on 9th May 2009, this ultra-rare MV four is offered from a private museum collection where it has been stored in a temperature controlled environment. The machine’s last important outing was to the ‘Made in Italy’ rally in Munich, Germany in March 2017, and it was last run in December 2021. Accompanying paperwork includes five MoTs, the earliest issued in June 1988 at 6,242 miles and the most recent in May 2015 at 11,496 miles (the current odometer reading 11,534 miles). The machine also comes with a few bills; copies of previous registration documents; insurance and SORN paperwork; and old/current V5C documents. Presented in generally excellent condition, this beautiful Boxer represents a possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the MV collector.

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