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The 1974 Laverda SFC from Italy translated its racing success to great road performance. See more motorcycle pictures.

The 1974 Laverda SFC motorcycle represented the culmination of a steady evolution for a company that had begun modestly nearly a century earlier.

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Laverda grew out of an Italian agricultural-machinery company that had been established in the late 1800s.

The first motorcycle, a little 75-cc single built in 1948, was really more of "hobby" bike than a prototype, but people liked it and the company elected to go into full-scale production.

Though some Laverdas enjoyed a fair degree of racing success, they were mostly small-displacement machines, and the company's civilian offerings were decidedly on the pedestrian side. But that changed quickly in the mid 1960s.

Though the 650-cc twin that appeared in 1966 was hardly a space-age design, it did boast a single overhead cam when most British rivals were still using overhead-valve layouts.

Quite quick for its day, it also had electric start (something the Brits wouldn't adopt until much later), and was a quality piece of work.

The 650 soon grew to 750 ccs, and sportier versions appeared. Leading the performance pack was the SFC, with a high state of tune that produced 70 horsepower, along with pared-down bodywork, a sleek fairing, and triple disc brakes.

As such, the 1974 Laverda SFC motorcycle was really a racer for the street, and in fact did very well in competition.

For more pictures of the 1974 Laverda SFC motorcycle, continue to the next page.

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