In 1978 Cagiva (abbreviation of CAstiglioni GIovanni VArese) officially became a motorcycle manufacturer, but the company’s origins date back to 1950, where the family business was focused on metalworking. Claudio Castiglioni’s passion for racing pushes him to create the Cagiva racing team to contest the GP 500 World Championship with Gianfranco Bonera and Marco Lucchinelli as official riders. Following the take over of the ailing AMF-Harley-Davidson (formerly Aermacchi) plant, Cagiva motorcycle production starts. Following the acquisition, the agreement was for the motorcycles to be produced and sold under the Cagiva-HD brand up until 1980.
The production is quickly expanded from medium sized engines to larger displacements: thanks to Claudio Castiglioni’s heart and industrial vision, in the late ‘80s Ducati was acquired and became part of the Cagiva Group.
In 1987 Cagiva Group also acquired Husqvarna and Moto Morini.
Husqvarna, a Swedish company that has origins in small arms manufacture, saw it’s production and sales grow considerably in the offroad market. This brought the company to great success in motocross and enduro that resulted in 69 World Titles. The Swedish brand was subsequently sold to BMW Group which was interested in expanding into the off-road segment.
In 1992 Cagiva acquires the MV Agusta brand, and in 1997 launches the F4, a landmark in motorcycle design. In the last fifteen years MV Agusta has grown to become a point of reference in high and medium performance motorcycles.
On 17 August 2011 the historical Claudio Castiglioni, the heart and soul of MV Agusta, passes away after a long struggle against a serious illness. Claudio Castiglioni was the protagonist throughout the revival of the Italian two wheel industry. Under his leadership were born the most famous bikes in the world, and the most important Italian victories were obtained.
Heading the company today are Giovanni Castiglioni, the son, and a team of internationally affirmed managers.
Learn More, go to: www.mvagusta.it
The name Agusta first rose to prominence in the early twentieth century, identifying a pioneer in the fledgling Italian aeronautics industry: count Giovanni Agusta. Originally from Sicily but living in Lombardy, Giovanni Agusta founded his company in 1907 at "Cascina Costa" in Samarate (Varese). Production of Agusta aircraft soared during the First World War, when the Count signed up as a volunteer in the Malpensa Air Battalion.
Once the controversy surrounding the Iannucci affair had cleared, MV Agusta was back in the news in the spring of 1992 thanks to an unexpected announcement from Cagiva Motor's press office. It was officially announced that ownership of the Cascina Costa trademark was to go to Castiglioni's group, after lengthy negotiations with a number of interested parties in the worlds of finance and industry. It was exclusively ownership of the trademark that was under negotiation, as the machinery and motorcycles had mostly been sold, with the exception of several road and racing vehicles lovingly preserved by the Agusta Retired Workers' Association, now on display in the museum in Cascina Costa.
The 'sixties saw the consecration of the family car, but at the same time the motorcycle market slowed down. MV Agusta reacted to this change in consumer spending in a true enterprising spirit, offering the market new models to attract motorcycle lovers. Of these, the one destined to go down in history was the 600 four cylinder, the first maxi motorbike on the market, with a four-cylinder engine. The engine, derived from Mike Hailwood's 500 GP, gradually developed into the high performance 750 S America, capable of speeds of 220 Km/h.
The same year saw the introduction of the 125 Disco, named for the rotating disk distribution of its two stroke engine. The late 'sixties marked the start of the Agostini era, with the three and four cylinder 350 and 500 models remaining popular from 1967 to 1973. The two models were produced first with three-cylinder engines and then with four-cylinder engines to battle the advent of the Japanese two-stroke engines.
Motorcycle racing resumed in the early 'fifties. MV Agusta became a racing legend thanks to decisive progress in performance and technology. The publicity generated by its success in racing brought Cascina Costa increased sales of its variety of versatile, economical models that perfectly responded to the demands of the market. But there were also applications deriving from racing bikes such as the sporty 125 Motore Lungo, named for the lengthened crankcases covering its ignition magnet, the most popular sports bike of its day. 1953 was a very important year for industrial production, for MV Agusta reached the threshold of producing 20,000 bikes for the first time, thanks to its complete range and to the introduction of the unique 125 Pullman model. In addition, the first plant licensed to produce motorbikes for export was opened in Spain.
In the autumn of 1945 the first MV Agusta was presented to the public. It was initially to be called "Vespa 98", but it was found that the name had already been registered. And so it was referred to simply by the number "98", available in "Touring" and "Economical" versions. Deliveries began in 1946, the year MV Agusta officially began competing in endurance races. It didn’t have to wait long for its first victory: in the first season Vincenzo Nencioni won an endurance race in La Spezia, then again in Monza on November 3, when all the steps on the podium were occupied by MV Agusta drivers (Vincenzo Nencioni, Mario Cornalea and Mario Paleari).