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A spin-off from the Agusta aviation company, Count Vincenzo Agusta and his brother Domenico formed the company to save the jobs of their aviation employees following the Second World War. MV, or Meccanica Verghera, started with small capacity scooters and motorcycles. Both Count Vincenzo and Domencio were passionate about racing, so in similar fashion to Moto Guzzi, they concentrated on racing success to build their name.
Although they won at the first attempt with a 125cc single at the Italian Grand Prix in 1948, it was the 1952 season which started the racing heritage of MV Agusta with an Isle of Man win and world championship for Cecil Sandford, and followed with additional success in the 175cc class in the mid 1950s. Having originally agreed to withdraw from GP racing due to costs alongside Gilera, Moto Guzzi and Mondial, Count Agusta had second thoughts, which lead to 17 consecutive 50cc world championships with legendary riders including Giacomo Agostini, Mike Hailwood, Phil Read, John Surtees and Carlo Ubbiali. Following the death of Count Domenico Agusta in 1971, the company won its last GP in 1976 and retired from racing in 1980, before stopping motorcycle production altogether.
The brand was resurrected after Cagiva bought the name in 1991, and launched the F4 range of 750cc sportsbikes in 1997, before switching to 1000cc in 2004. The naked 750cc and 910cc Brutale were also introduced, and the strategy has continued to focus on producing limited numbers of bikes to keep them desirable, including special editions such as the F4 750cc and F4 100cc Senna editions in memory of the late Ayrton Senna.
In 1999, the Cagiva group was restructured with MV Agusta becoming the main brand, including Cagiva and Husqvarna. 10 years of ownership changes then followed with Proton, finance company GEVI SpA, and Harley-Davidson all had a try, and during this period Husqvarna was sold to BMW. Finally in 2010, the company was sold to Claudio Castiglionio and MV Agusta Motor Holding S.r.L