Pietro Laverda senior established Laverda Macchine Agricole in 1873: it's unlikely that he ever envisaged his family's name appearing on the thundering superbike of the 1970s.
Born in the Veneto region of northern Italy, Pietro senior exploited his farming roots and applied his engineering knowledge to develop and produce agricultural tools and machines. Joined by his son Antonio in the early 20th century, the company developed a reputation for quality and control subsequently transferred to four grandchildren in the 1930s. Pietro junior, Giovanni Battista, Giorgio and Francesco modernised the company and made production improvements. They continued the family tradition of research and application of technological developments which saw the introduction of Italy's first combine harvesters. These went on to be sold worldwide.
After the economic devastation of the second world war, Dr Francesco Laverda persuaded his brothers of the need for a lightweight economical utility motorcycle. His proposal deliberately ignored the then widespread alternatives of mopeds and lightweight two-stroke machines. Instead he argued for the development of a small capacity economical four stroke motorcycle. The brothers eventually agreed to his concept in 1947 and Moto Laverda was officially established on 13 October 1949. Read on to find out how that company grew over the following decades....
- with thanks to Bob Dixon and
Marnix van der Schalk