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A two-wheeled Testarossa: the story of the only Ferrari motorcycle that exists in the world

2023-03-26T10:42:03.014Z


Piero Ferrari gave a British designer permission to build a model in honor of Don Enzo, his father, months after his death. The unique motorcycle required 3,000 hours of work.


In its nine shades of red -from the traditional Corsa to the emotional Dino- or in the yellow that inspired Fiamma Braschi, the lady of Formula 1. In elegant two-seater format or in the reckless single-seater that won her 16 constructors' crowns.

With two or four doors, with a classic or butterfly-type opening.

There is

Ferrari

to satisfy all desires of the wealthy pockets.

What did not exist was a motorcycle with its emblem, despite the fact that

Don Enzo knew how to cultivate the Italian custom of riding on two wheels

.

But that changed in 1995, when Piero -the heir- gave the green light to the idea of ​​a British designer to create an original example with the Prancing Horse.

A singular example, with lines that followed those of a classic sports car of the brand and which, against all odds, saw its price drop due to the lack of demand.

The man behind this special creature is named David Kay.

He was a star designer for MV Agusta

, a motorcycle company that had its moment of glory in the mid-20th century and later specialized in luxury items.

In the early 1990s, months after the death of Enzo Ferrari, he wanted to pay homage to him with his own hands.

Piero granted permission and,

after 3,000 hours of craftsmanship, the vehicle hit the road.

It was made by the star designer of MV Agusta.

There was initial noise, with the usual presentations.

Later his reputation was restricted to a small circle of specialists.

Perhaps it was for this reason that his return to the market was marked by failure.

Auctions continued until a buyer managed to acquire

the two-wheeled Testarossa

at a discounted price .

Ferrari and motorcycles, an intimate and conflictive relationship that never came to production

Since 1947, the Maranello firm has built an empire.

He was driving the offer of increasingly sophisticated sports cars with his successes on the tracks.

After all, Enzo had started his work with the Alfa Romeo racing team before the hiatus from Auto Avio Costruzioni and the big launch with his own venture.

It is strange that an iconic brand from Italy, a country where even today it is common to see scooters and mopeds whizzing through the cities and thousands of small towns scattered along its entire length, does not have its production line on two wheels.

It required 3,000 hours of craft work.

However, there was no lack of some groping and several sparks.

In fact, in the 1930s, the boss ran a motorcycle team when he was still running under the Alfa Romeo umbrella and even went so far as to race a Scott two-stroke.

He was left alone in that, an anecdotal fact, reserved for the most memorous fans.

The jerks came later.

In the fifties, in a meteoric economic rise, the tough boss filed

a lawsuit against a small company that dared to manufacture motorcycles with the Ferrari name attached to their bodywork

.

It is Meccanica Italiana Fratelli Ferrari, which at the beginning of those years was dispatched with vehicles that carried a limited version of its name.

Surprised,

Il Commendatore

put a team of lawyers to work and managed to get the Justice to order the payment of compensation.

With that heavy load on their shoulders, the brothers closed the blind in 1956. They ended up becoming objects of desire for collectors.

Thus, Don Enzo, who died on August 14, 1988, never got to see an official motorcycle of his brand.

And the tribulations continued.

Particular design for the board.

Even while the two-wheeled Testarossa was being developed,

the company explored the possibility of collaborating with Cagiva to enter MotoGP.

The bad results of the prototype buried the attempt.

Later, the company, jealous, ordered the removal of a "bike concept" that an Israeli engineer posted on the internet and even issued a statement in 2014 in which he dismissed the possibility of releasing a production model in the future.

It was not a unique Maranello story.

His legendary rival, Lamborghini, fared little better: in 1986 he built a motorcycle known as the Design 90, with Kawasaki mechanics, but managed to complete a handful of copies.

Despite everything, there was a creation that escaped the flirtations, the twists and the denials

Engine of 900 cc and 105 CV.

How is the Testarossa on two wheels

"I grant you approval to place the badge on your motorcycle," was Piero's unexpected response to David Kay's request, in a letter written in his own handwriting on May 23, 1990.

The designer was going through his last professional years as chief designer of MV Agusta, a company that had shone with 18 world championships between 1956 and 1974 (interrupted only by the Italian Libero Liberati in 1957 aboard a Gilera).

With the brand dedicated to the luxury business, Kay embarked on side projects with his family business MVA (founded in 1983, later renamed MV Meccanica Verghera).

One of them was the creation-tribute that he had reserved for the most important figure in the Italian sports car industry.

They were 3,000 hours of craftsmanship, with the certainty that he had only one attempt.

Couldn't miss.

To touch the emotional fiber of every lover of the Prancing Horse, he took up the lines of the Testarossa for the bodywork,

that classic with a Pininfarina design that between 1984 and 1996 sold more than 7,000 units.

Some lines emulate the Testarossa.

The continuity was seen in the fairing of the wheels and in the soft curves that gave agility.

The aluminum frame was provided by Terry Hall, who also made the exhaust pipes that -like a wind instrument- extended in pairs on both sides.

The bet extended in the equipment.

The engine is a 900 cc four-cylinder with a five-speed gearbox.

The power reaches 105 CV at 8,800 rpm and accelerates up to 265 km/h.

It also sports a Forcelle Italia inverted fork, Brembo disc brakes and custom Astralite 17-inch wheels.

All first-rate elements, although without going into aggressive details.

The work, completed in 1995

with the horse stamped on the tank

, was destined to be a unique and coveted piece.

It was featured at the Classic Bike Show.

Despite the commotion and the initial interest of specialized magazines from all over the planet, the null promotion of Maranello meant that it did not even rise to a one hit wonder, as those musical groups that set trends with a song and then fell into the mainstream are known. forgot.

The 172-kilo Ferrari 900

lived in the shadows for years.

Clouds of frustration followed Kay.

There were several auctions in which there were no interested parties to pay amounts that were close to 300,000 euros.

Not even on eBay, where she was offered for months, did they take the bait.

Finally, the third time was the charm in 2012, although with a significant reduction in price: the new owner took it for just 100,000 euros.

With so much history and that brand printed on the body, a bargain price.

A bargain for the only Ferrari motorcycle in the world.

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Source: clarin

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