The man who saved Ducati and MV Agusta, Claudio Castiglioni, died in Varese, Italy this week at the age of 63.
“There are so many bikes that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Claudio,” said British designer Adrian Morton. “In an era when most people who run businesses wouldn’t care if it was motorcycles or washing machines their factories turned out, Claudio was the last of a breed.”
MV Agusta was founded in 1945 in Cascina Costa, Italy. The started as a division of Agusta Aviation. Count Vincenzo Agusta and his brother Domenico formed MV Agusta at the end of the Second World War to take advantage of the post-war market for inexpensive and efficient transportation. The initials MV stand for Meccanica Verghera after the name of the city where the first MV’s were constructed, and the firm originally specialized in small-displacement, Café racer style motorcycles in the 125cc to 150 cc class throughout the 1950s and 1960s.
Castiglioni founded CAGIVA and saved Ducati from sure death in the mid 1980′s. He was also credited with reinventing the companies.
“There are so many bikes that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Claudio”
Claudio and Gianfranco Castiglioni transformed CAGIVA from a manufacturer of combination locks for briefcases into one of the most innovative motorcycle manufacturing firms during the 1970′s, and in 1985, Claudio bought Ducati. At the time, the company was near collapse and had only produced 1,800 motorcycles for the 1984 model year.
Castiglioni brought in engineer Massimo Bordi to oversee the development of a new, modern engine from the ground up, and what Bordi came up with was the liquid cooled, 4-valve 851 powerplant which was the basis for all modern Ducati engines.
The development of the “Desmoquattro” engine ultimately led to the iconic 851 and the sales and racing success of the 916 models.
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