This Exhibit Showcases the Art of Italian Motorcycles
Stuart Parr is a man who knows what he likes, and fortunately, he is now sharing it with the rest of us. An international renaissance man, Parr has his hands in artist management, design, and film production (among other films, he produced 8 Mile), pursuits which have enabled him to indulge his exquisite taste in motorcycles, a sampling of which can now be viewed from a Manhattan street.
Now installed in a ground floor retail space at 285 Madison Avenue – an updated, prewar office building located at the corner of Madison Avenue and 40th Street – the Art of the Italian Wheel is a selection of 26 of Parr’s classic Italian motorcycles from the 1960s and 1970s, including significant models from Ducati, MV Agusta, Laverda, and Magni.
As Parr himself notes, “This collection represents an era when the greatest design and engineering talent took Italian motorcycles from the race track to the road.”
Stuart Parr put the show together with Aby Rosen, whose company RFR owns the building. The two have been friends ever since they were neighbors in Tribeca in the mid-1980s.
Highlights of Art of the Italian Wheel include:
• Ducati 750 SS – The 1974 Ducati 750 Super Sport is considered the archetypal factory café racer and the most collectable of all production Ducatis. It was a limited production replica of the 1972 Imola 200 factory competition bikes.
• Ducati 900 SS – An evolution of the 750 Super Sport, the 900 Super Sport was the genesis of a highly successful line that would continue until 1982. These bikes provided the finest balance between performance and handling available at the time.
• Laverda 750 SFC – Laverda was a small family agricultural machinery company situated at the foot of the Dolomites. The company’s director, Massimo Laverda, was a passionate motorcyclist. After developing a 750 sport bike in the early 1970s, he built the 750 SFC for endurance racing where it was extremely successful.
• MV Agusta 600 – Between 1950 and 1966 MV Agusta four-cylinders dominated 500cc Grand Prix racing, and when a new three-cylinder replaced it during 1966, Count Agusta, founder of MV Agusta, decided to produce this limited production street version. To prevent private teams from developing the bike to compete with his factory works squad, Count Agusta’s street version was a 600cc touring model, with shaft final drive.
• MV Agusta 750 S – The lukewarm response to the touring 600 saw Count Agusta relent and allow the introduction of a sporting 750 S during 1971. Produced in very limited numbers until 1975, this hand built machine was one of the most exotic and expensive motorcycles available.
If you find yourself in Midtown Manhattan, why not wander over to 285 Madison Avenue and take a peek through the windows? We think you’ll like what you see. And if you would like more information, or if you’re interested in public or private viewings of the collection, you can check out the exhibit’s website.