Italian homologation classic motorcycle the Laverda SFC

This Italian homologation classic motorcycle the Laverda SFC was the Ducati 916 SP of its day. It started with a road motorcycle, the S of 1969 and the SF (SF stood for Super Freni which meant big brake) delivered racing success which prompted Laverda to create the SFC (Super Freni Competizione) in 1971. The motorcycle did come with lights but it was built to win races, which it did rather well. Today, prices are now just starting to move off the scale in the US, collectors are viewing these machines as the next Green Frame and are pursuing them with vigour. 

Laverda SFC unrestored early RHS
An unrestored early Laverda SFC with drum front brakes

Rare Italian classic motorcycles

With only 550 genuine examples built by the factory between 1971 and 1976, these are very rare Italian classic motorcycles. Many were bought by race teams and raced to destruction and none were bought by collectors with an eye on future values. Any examples of such a machine that was never ridden would have been a complete fluke and would never have happened by design. At the time these motorcycles were built, the thought of investing in a motorcycle would have been as alien to someone in the 1970s as pushing control alt delete would have been on a typewriter. New owners bought these motorcycles because they were fast and it was just like riding a race bike on the road with the addition of lights.

Laverda SFC unrestored early LHS
These early examples were raw and unrefined

Beware of fakes

Beware of fakes, as these motorcycles are one of the easiest to fake, but those who know also know how to spot fakes. Like Ducati green frames, as the values of genuine machines have increased so fiercely, so has the activity of those who built up examples to deceive. Finding genuine machines, that are all over fifty years old now, is somewhat challenging. Many parts are unique to the SFC, but there are plenty of replica parts available, so genuine examples are really tough to sniff out. The silver frame, replicated by the later Jotas, is not a painted. Originally frames were galvanised silver and it is a challenge, but not impossible, to re-galvanise a frame for restoration. Many of the restored examples around today have powder coated or painted frames and are best avoided. 

Laverda SFC drum front LHS

Classic motorcycle appeal

The SFC has a great deal of classic motorcycle appeal. It’s a very early homologation special at a time when such a concept was only for speed fanatics with very deep pockets. As motorcycling was not a lifestyle activity at the time, buyers of rare motorcycles with very deep pockets were seriously rare creatures. The SFC sold, but was never a must have motorcycle when they were new. Some were bought up by owners of Ferraris and Maseratis who were complete petrol heads and adrenalin junkies who rode their motorcycles very hard indeed. Many were raced, many had engine swaps and many were crashed. Finding a really good example is always a challenge and make these very rare collectible classic motorcycles. 

Laverda SFC Disc RHS front1
Later models came with disc brakes but still very little else beyond the ability to go fast. Comfort was not on the agenda.

The orange beast from Breganze

The orange beast from Breganze started with racing, very much like the Green Frame, and it all kicked off a year before those famous results Ducati enjoyed at Imola. This machine is the one that gave an Italian tractor manufacturer victories that were unthinkable at a time when the Japanese were revolutionising racing. This tiny agricultural machine manufacturer had to be wily to take on the enormous might of the Japanese manufacturers who were humiliating the, up until this point, dominant British motorcycle manufacturers on the race track. Until this point, Laverda had been manufacturing small capacity motorcycles and making the leap to large capacity motorcycles would require either a lot of funding for R and D or the tenacity to copy and make the idea their own. Laverda did the latter, as a starting point, and it worked far better than first thought. Being a small motor manufacturer, they took Honda’s very successful and ultra reliable 305cc overhead cam Super Hawk motor and enlarged an awful lot of it increasing capacity to 650cc. Obviously they didn’t completely copy the motor piece by piece, but let’s just say that Laverda allowed the original Honda design to influence their designers and give them a starting point for a motor that would finish races.

Laverda SFC Disc LHS front

Wise move

It was a very wise move, taking an indestructible small to mid capacity Japanese motor as a starting point. All of Honda’s small to mid capacity four stroke motors were just unburstable, from the C90 through to the CB400 Super Dream of the 1980s. The C90 was so tough it was a best seller in 1950s to 2000s in the harsh environments of the continent of Africa. The wisdom of this move lies in finishing races, because to compete in endurance races the first thing you must do, to be able to win, is to finish the race. Without that prerequisite there is no winning at all for any manufacturer. Any motor manufacturer who wants to squeeze a lot of power out of a motor, needs to start with an unbreakable bottom end and a top end that happily stays in one piece for very long periods of time while being abused. From that starting point, the tuners can get to work and extract more horsepower. 

Laverda scaled up the Honda

Laverda scaled up the Honda 305 to 650cc and over-engineered it so capacity could be increased at a later date. They changed a fair bit in the design, but the mid sized Honda engine was a great starting point and was a highly reliable motorcycle engine. They had worked out the reliability aspect of the motor and knew they could finish endurance races. If they could finish races, then they knew they could win races. The first year saw racing success, the second year of the SF650 delivered success and Laverda were gathering a good reputation. 

Laverda SFC Disc LHS

In 1971 Laverda delivered the SFC 750

In 1971 Laverda delivered the SFC750. Around the motor was draped the best racing equipment, some lights and had created a racing motorcycle for the the track and the street. The SFC is a brutal motorcycle and pays no concessions whatsoever to comforts and leisurely cruising. In that first year they took firsts, first four places, ones and twos at many different circuits including Barcelona and Imola. They had thrown down the gauntlet to the upcoming Japanese manufacturers and to Ducati. The tractor manufacturer- turned large capacity motorcycle manufacturer- had announced their arrival in the best of Italian style; by winning. Since those heady days, the SFC750 has become highly collectible and since 2010 prices have been chasing Green Frame values, although they’re still far less than half the price of the Ducati. 

Laverda SFC Disc RHS front

One of the next green frames

One of the next green frames, and there are a few candidates that will achieve such status, is certainly the Laverda SFC. Green Frame collectors have come to realise that this machine should be stood next to their pride of place Ducati and there are very few SFCs that are investment grade. Finding genuine examples, let alone investment grade examples, of these machines has become more than trying and very difficult. The best examples are in strong hands and prices will sky rocket over the coming decade. The SFC, once acquired, will then need setting up by a workshop that understands these machines and thoroughly pass due diligence prior to acquisition. Now is an excellent time to find one of these and they are going to become even more tricky to find as they drift into stronger and stronger hands.

Investment grade Laverda SFC

If you want an investment grade Laverda SFC750, call The Motorcycle Broker on 01803 865166 or email [email protected] We do all the due diligence and we set them up correctly to enjoy.

Paul Jayson

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