Iconic: 1978 MV Agusta 750S America

1978 MV Agusta 750S America L Front

Bikes like the MV Agusta 750S America make absolutely no sense on a performance-per-dollar basis. It’s the kind of motorcycle that today would have riders scoffing that they “could buy four GSX-R1000’s for that price…” But that’s obviously missing the point. MV Agusta’s raison d’être was always racing, and their road bikes of the era seemed designed deliberately not to sell: the original 600 was heavy, slow and, worst of all, it was ugly as sin. The 750 that followed was at least a handsome bike, but was burdened with a strange feature not generally found on sportbikes: shaft drive. Rumor has it that MV Agusta didn’t want their factory race teams to be challenged by privateers and fitted the heavy system to hobble them. Magni made a chain-drive conversion for the 750S, but most owners have kept them relatively stock.

1978 MV Agusta 750S America R Front Final

And honestly, there really wasn’t much to improve anyway, aside from that 560lb wet weight. They were compact and handling belied the bloat: on the move, the bike carried its weight well and the bike could be hustled through a set of bends. Ultimate limits weren’t racetrack-worthy, but that wasn’t really what this bike was about and with a price tag of $6000, it’s not like you’d want to push things too fast on the road anyway…

1978 MV Agusta 750S America Cockpit Final

The centerpiece, aside from the looks, fit-and-finish, and the name, was obviously that engine. Sand-cast and heavily-finned, with dual overhead cams, four cylinders, and a set of cam-timing gears in the center of the engine, it was ruggedly built, with a broad spread of power. Four-cylinder bikes are sometimes criticized for being bland and characterless, but this engine puts paid to that idea: induction, gear-whine, and the four individual exhausts combine into a complex, very expensive noise.

1978 MV Agusta 750S America Suspension Final

From the original eBay listing: 1978 MV Agusta 750S America

ONLY 1,112 Miles, original paint, excellent condition and VERY RARE. Believed to only be a 2 owner bike.

Comes with:
– 2 fairings
– 3 sets of exhaust pipes
– Original tool kit
– New battery
– Spare New Marzocchi Shocks
– Riders manual, shop manual, MV Agusta Super profile book & various related literature
– Street & Race Air Cleaners
– Brembo & OE front calipers

Clear title in hand. Bike is located in Atlanta. NO trades, No B.S. please.

1978 MV Agusta 750S America Tail

Interestingly, the 750S America is the very first MV I ever saw in the flesh. For several years, one sat in the showroom of The Garage Company in Southern California, in the days before the company’s modern incarnation and before the internet: until then, I’d been completely unaware that MV even made a roadbike at all. This is one of the rarest of the rare, an iconic bike with just 600 or so made in three years.  The seller mentions three different exhausts come with the bike, and I’d like to know if one is a set of those gorgeous, curved items generally seen in period photos… There’s just one day left on the auction, with the reserve not met, so move quickly if you happen to have a spare $76,000 burning a hole in your pocket.

-tad

1978 MV Agusta 750S America Rear Final

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8 Responses

  1. Jess says:

    WOW! I cannot think of a vintage sport bike I would rather have (possibly a Vincent Black Lightning, expensive wants). Unfortunately I’m about $70K short. Thanks for posting this!

  2. tad says:

    Glad you liked it! I prefer it without the fairing, but a very cool bike. I actually saw one fairly recently at a Triumph demo-day and got a clip of it starting up on my iPhone. The sound’s pretty low-quality or I’d share it. If you haven’t seen it, a better option is the Jay Leno’s Garage episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0epQVh_NhSA

  3. Jess says:

    Yeah, I saw that. Jay has some amazing vehicles.

  4. tad says:

    He seems genuinely nice, too: saw him several times in LA. The first time, he stopped by the weirdly-specific “All French and Italian, Under-3.0 Liter Car and Motorcycle Show” on his Y2K jet-powered motorcycle, which you could hear coming from several miles away… He also used to show up at The Rock Store and was such the professional, chatting with his riding buddies, being interrupted to take photos with fans, then smoothly shifting back to his conversation, never breaking stride and smiling all the time. He had a moment to spare for everyone. Very cool.

  5. Having ridden both a Lightning and an MV750 I know which I’d rather have, regardless of the price tag. The Vincent is a real race bike of the period: wickedly fast, light, and surprisingly good handling (on a smooth road). The MV is an overweight lump, top heavy and I seriously doubt the speed claims made for them, having ridden one full-bore in the mountains. Yes, they can be hustled around bends, but don’t try any quick line changes, as this train takes its time. I did find a sweet spot in the power band which corresponded to a nice riding rhythm through the twisties, and that was fun. But to be honest, a good Commando will blow the doors off any MV roadster but a radical Magni version. They are incomparably beautiful though…

  6. Mark Mitchell says:

    Here is a short video of me riding my MV 750 America shortly before selling it to Shinya Kimura. The rest is history… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5C9CviUWvE This bike had Magni pipes and the full factory fairing (not shown here). It should have been a keeper, but at least I hung on to my Vincent-

  7. Chuck S. says:

    Paul,
    While it is true that an MV 750 America is a big heavy motorcycle, comparing it to either a Vincent (Lighting – or Shadow or Rapide) or a Norton completely misses the point! The America is a ’70’s era brute that is drop dead gorgeous to look at (best without fairing – personal opinion) and has a sound that may just be the most beautiful “music” ever made by a motorcycle (Magni pipes make it a full blown orchestra). It is a pleasure to ride at all but a 10/10ths pace. A lightly breathed on one with a decent set of shocks will also surprise you with how quickly it gets you from point a to point b. (The full Magni treatment is a very different motorcycle.)

    A Vincent is from at least a few decades earlier – wonderful to look at and exhilarating to ride – but not the most reliable ride in the world and probably the last choice to get you from point a to point b if there is any significant distance between the two. As for the Norton, not even in the same universe as either the MV or the Vincent. I own(ed) or have spent considerable time with all of the above, and if you haven’t lived with them, you wouldn’t understand.

    Whoever ends up with this MV will be have a smile on his/her face for a very long time.

    Chuck S.

  8. Parker says:

    Hey gang, I am a bit late to this discussion, but thanks for all of the input. This is my bike and it’s absolutely stunning. I’ve actually elected to keep the bike and I can’t wait to get her on the road this spring. I do have some general maintenance questions – can anyone refer me to an expert? I am having a tough time here (in Georgia) finding anyone that is qualified to do so. Many thanks!