Somewhere out there - And if I were the owner of this time-warp on wheels I wouldn’t tell you where it was either.
Grant Duguid, a member of the Laverda Owners group, posted these pictures less than two days ago on the group’s Facebook page of a brand new 1974 Laverda 3C (the predecessor to the legendary Jota), which a friend of his had bought at auction late in 2016 - in the crate! - for €19 000 (then R275 000).
All the original factory tags and labels, protective wrapping and (most valuable of all!) the owners handbook, were there, just as they were when the bike left the Breganze factory 42 years before.
Then the friend - who prefers to remain anonymous for reasons that will become obvious - took the momentous decision to uncrate the bike, replace the tyres (as well as whatever seals, rubber components and gaskets had perished during the past four decades) and get it running.
The result was a veritable firestorm of criticism from members who felt that, while there are many Laverda 3Cs still on the road (they are very durable machines) this was likely to be only one still in its original factory packaging and that, just by breaking open the crate, he had destroyed its historic value.
Timothy Pickering wrote: “There’s plenty of Laverdas still being ridden. Only one that’s still in the crate. Crazy to open it. That’s like unwrapping a mummy. Archeology is an experiment that can only be done once. To reveal something you have to destroy it.
”Can't re-wrap factory wrapping. Could have sold it as-is and used the dough to buy three Laverdas that can be ridden. But too late now.
“I'm all for bikes being ridden. It's absolutely the owner's right to decide. I just don't think the owner has thought this through properly. And has shot themselves in the foot $$$-wise. A "courageous" decision, or bone-headed? There were strong arguments to leave this bike alone and ride another.
“I am not just a motorcycle rider. I'm also a motorcycle historian. I know most of you here probably just ride for the moment, and regard a bike that's not being ridden as a waste. Personally I also have an eye for motorcycle history, and for protection of that history through preservation of key artifacts. There are clear examples of significant motorcycles that should be, and are, regarded as artifacts.To me, this bike would have had more value (intrinsic value, not $$$ value) as an artifact than as a rideable bike. There are very few bikes I'd ever say that about, because I'm mainly a rider at heart. But the historian in me says that this bike was best left as it was. There are other Laverdas out there available to be thrashed as their maker intended.”
“Agreed”, commented Ariel Marx, “I would have left it in the crate!”
On the other hand…
But Duguid argued: Maybe some people don't care about that. If I had the money to buy it I would have done exactly the same.
Steve Lacey: “It's not a bike in a crate; bravo to that man and what a beautiful 3C”
Tyrone Hughes: “Beautiful bike but Laverdas are meant to be ridden. I would definitely ride it, why on earth would I just want to just look at it? The best analogy I heard was it is like not sleeping with your girlfriend to save her for her next boyfriend.”
To which Pickering replied: “The best analogy here is ‘Have more than one girlfriend’.”
Hughes: “I have more than one bike and I want to ride them all. I don't have much to do with things that do nothing. I would buy a picture or statue if I wanted to look at something.”
Anders Larsson: “Well done, a nice bike that must be used to be fully appreciated. Like a fine wine that you must drink to feel the taste. Much more fulfilling than money in a bank account. Congratulations to the ones that can afford it.”
And Duguid agreed” “Buyer's choice. It's a motorcycle, not a Rembrandt.”