22nd Oct, 2010 14:15

Haynes International Motor Museum

  Lot 29

1983 Benelli Sei

Estimated at £5,000 - £6,000

Lot details
Registration No: Un-Reg
Frame No: BO-11220
Engine No: BO-11208
cc: 900
MOT Expiry Date: None

Benelli was better placed than many of its Italian rivals, who were struggling in the face of declining domestic sales as the 1960s came to a close. A range of mini bikes and the Tornado 650 twin gave the company a presence in the States and new designs were under development. However, it needed help to survive. This arrived in the form of Argentinian entrepreneur Alejandro de Tomaso who acquired the ailing company in 1971. He pushed through the launch of a pair of new two-stroke twins, displacing 125cc and 250cc and instigated the design of a range of multi-cylinder four-stroke machines which were intended to compete directly with their Japanese rivals. The revised range was to be headed by the world's first production six-cylinder machine. The 750 Sei, announced during 1972, featured an across the frame single overhead cam air-cooled engine coupled to a five-speed gearbox housed in a conventional tubular cradle frame. The model's styling was conventional, except for the three stacked silencers on each side, which together with delays in availability, examples not becoming available until 1974, are cited as being the reason for the model's limited impact in terms of sales. In an attempt to increase the model's appeal Benelli announced a revised model for the 1980 season. The new version featured revamped styling with an attractive seat and tank unit combined with a handlebar fairing and cast alloy wheels. The engine capacity was increased to 905.9cc resulting in a rise in power output to 80bhp at 8,400 rpm (compared to the 750's claimed 71bhp). However, perhaps the most significant change was the reduction in weight which was now lower than the original 750 at 220 kg, making it one the lightest 1000cc class machines available at the time, with only the twins from Guzzi and Ducati weighing less and the lightest "six" on the market. Today the Sei is rightfully regarded as a ground breaking motorcycle.

The silver example offered has had only one owner from new prior to its acquisition by the vendor and has never been restored. The vendor informs us that the totally original machine has recently been serviced and is "running excellently" although the front brake cylinder needs replacing.

Auction: Haynes International Motor Museum, 22nd Oct, 2010

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