Italian Motorcycles

Ferrari Motorcycle of 1995

David Kay Engineering, well known for their MV Agusta creations, wrote to Ferrari requesting permission to build a machine under the Prancing Horse banner. In May 1990 Piero Ferrari replied in the affirmative, and thus the project was born - the first Ferrari motorcycle. [1]

Four years later, in 1995, the masterpiece was ready for the road, the result of some 3000 hours work. Powered by a sixteen-valve 900cc air-cooled in-line four-cylinder engine with a five-speed gearbox, it developed 105 hp and could achieve 265 km/h. It has a Reynolds 531 tubular frame, upside-down forks from Forcelle Italia, and 6-piston Brembo brakes mounted on 17" Astralite wheels, all suspended by dual WPS rear shock absorbers. The bodywork is aluminium, built by Terry Hall who also produced the megaphone exhaust system, reminiscent of one of the more elegant late MV fours and emitting a symphonic bass rumble.

Magnesium engine covers and carbon fibre guards combined with extremely light alloy frame tubes allowed the Ferrari 900 to keep the weight down to a very respectable level [2]. With a frame and engine number of SF-01M the Ferrari has the prancing horse on the both the tank and on DOHC cam-cover end-caps, true to its Maranello heritage.

Brakes, front suspension and digital instrumentation were state of the art.

Presented as a classic with its 80s styling highlighted by 17 inch Astralite wheels, it paid homage to the Ferrari Testarossa in the styling of the side panels.

Offered at auction in late 2008 with an estimated sales figure of up to US$380,000 it finally sold in 2012 for rather less than one third of that. The sale included the letter from Piero Ferrari, so in this writer's view someone got an extraordinary bargain.

Notes.

1. The first motorcycle named for the Maranello Ferrari, yes, but another of this name was built in the early 1950s, before changing it to Fratelli Ferrari at Enzo's insistence. 2. Estimates of weight vary widely, but 172 kg dry would appear to be the correct weight.

Adapted from an article at autoemotodelpassato with reference to a catalogue entry by Bonhams.

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