Any MV Agusta racer from the 1950s is going to be a special motorcycle to own. However, when the original owner is Stanley Hailwood, the father of nine-time World Champion and 14-time Isle of Man TT winner Mike “The Bike” Hailwood, we are truly looking at something of great importance. MV Agusta Motor CEO Timur Sardarov recognized the motorcycle’s significance, so MV Agusta acquired the modified 1954 MV Agusta CSS 175 via Catawiki, an Amsterdam-based online auction house that specializes in representing sellers of unique high-end items.
“We’re all very excited here at the Schiranna headquarters,” Sardarov explains. “This extraordinary bike is coming home to where it was born some 70 years ago! A magnificent first project for the newly born Restoration Department, we will now be able to bring precious vintage bikes back to their original condition here at the MV Agusta factory through the work of the passionate heirs of the very craftsmen who built them.”
The standard 1954 MV Agusta 175 CSS was a hotrod for its time, putting out 15 horsepower at 8800 rpm, and featured a high-compression piston and larger carburetor than the earlier CS that it displaced. Although it lacks the CSS’s distinctive Earles fork, this CSS was modified for racing. It features twin TT Amal carburetors, Avon tires, a Smiths tachometer, a megaphone exhaust, and a full fairing. Additionally, the displacement was upped from 175cc to 204cc.
As with so many vintage racebikes, its history is somewhat obscure. Stanley Hailwood sold the motorcycle to Chris Newport in 1958, when Mike Hailwood was just 18 years old and had just started Grand Prix racing. Newport raced the MV Agusta CSS at Brands Hatch in amateur events. Newport sold the MV at some point, and it disappeared from public view until it popped up in Holland in 2012. It took another nine years for Catawiki to facilitate the sale of the CSS to MV Agusta.
“We are excited to have brought the motorcycle back to the manufacturer,” enthused Davide Marelli, Catawiki’s Expert in Classic Motorcycles & Scooters. “This is an extremely rare collector’s item, and what better place to exhibit it than in the MV Agusta company?”
Photography by Marco Magistrini Spinelli