While currently located in New Zealand, this Laverda Formula Mirage has a very American sensibility. In spite of their accents and the fact that they drive on the wrong side of the road, enthusiasts in New Zealand and Australia have more in common with gearheads here in the US than they do with European riders. The wide-open spaces found Down Under lend themselves to the same afflictions that plague us here: big, stupid horsepower and straight-line speed.
Built by Slater Laverda in the UK, masterminds behind the original Jota, the Formula Mirage was powered by Laverda’s famously charismatic and durable three-cylinder engine. It featured a distinctive, one-piece fiberglass tank and seat unit that looked sleek, but significantly limited fuel capacity, which in turn reduced the range of the already thirsty triple. Several folks online also commented on the steeply-sloped seat unit that sees passengers steadily sliding forward into the rider. A bonus on a hot date, not so great if you’re give your buddy a lift to pick up his bike from the mechanic…
From the original, very brief, eBay listing: 1981 Laverda Formula Mirage for Sale
Laverda Formula Mirage, 1 of 14 built by Slaters. Astralites, Goldlines, rebuilt motor . In excellent condition.
Although the seller mentions he believes only 14 were built, I did see mention in a Laverda forum by someone who claimed to have original Slater paperwork that stated 17 were actually created. Either way, it’s a very rare machine, and the parts are all there, even if the sum performs at a somewhat less-than-expected level.
Overall, in spite of character clearly in line with Laverda’s big, burly image, the bike met with decidedly mixed reviews, likely because the market had moved on, and riders had begun to expect both brawn and brains in their bikes: the “bigger, louder, faster, harder” mentality was just too primitive to appeal.
For collectors looking for a classic Laverda that captures the look and feel of the big, manly motorcycles from Breganze, this could be just the ticket.