1954 MV Agusta 175 CSS Squalo Bialbero Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 409924/5V Engine no. 401250 SS
MV Agusta's factory race team had been developing four-strokes for some years and in 1952 achieved its first major international success when Cecil Sandford secured the 125cc World Championship MV's first. For the following season, MV made available a single-cam, 'customer' version of Sandford's works dohc racer, the Sport Competizione, which rapidly became the mount of choice among privateers contesting the quarter-litre class. In 1955 a second over-the-counter racer was added to the range: the 175 CSS. Developed from MV's 175cc roadster, the CSS used the latter's sohc engine, up-rated with a five-speed gearbox and external magneto, which was installed in an entirely new set of cycle parts consisting of a duplex loop frame, Earles-type leading-link forks and swinging-arm rear suspension. The 175 CSS was intended primarily for Italian Formula racing, but quickly came to dominated the 200cc class in the UK and elsewhere, despite a list price higher than that of a Manx Norton! In fact, it was one of these little MVs, bored out to 196cc, which provided the great Mike Hailwood with his first ever race win, at Oulton Park in 1957.
Based on the single-overhead-cam 175, the machine offered here is an example of the much rarer bialbero (twin-cam) version, only available during 1954 and 1955. Its duplex loop frame is almost identical to that of the Grand Prix 125cc bialbero racers, as is the Earles-type front fork. Some machines featured removable upper frame tubes to facilitate access to the twin-cam cylinder head, which was available as a very expensive 'extra'. It is estimated that only ten or so were made. A maximum output of 18bhp was claimed for the bialbero, three horsepower more than the single-cam engine. Ignition is by an external magneto at the left side of the engine, while the gearbox of this particular machine is a four-speed unit. The fuel tank was designed for long distance races and could hold 22 litres. Top speed was 145km/h (90mph). Accompanying documentation consists of a Belgian Carte Grise and MV Agusta Historic Register Certificato di Iscrizione. Single-cylinder MVs do not come any rarer or more desirable than this beautiful bialbero.