The Six-Cylinder Sei That Benelli Should Have Built | Six on Wheels

Wild File

By Alan Cathcart, Photography by Alex Photo

Italy’s oldest existing motorcycle manufacturer, Pesaro-based Benelli, built plenty of gorgeous motorcycles over its 100-year history. The 250cc four that Kel Carruthers rode to the world championship in 1969, for example, remains one of the most soul-stirring racebikes to ever circulate a road course. The progressive company established its share of firsts, too: first production streetbike with gear-driven cams; first four-cylinder 250cc GP racer; and the firm’s crowning glory, the first six-cylinder streetbike, called the Sei, launched in ’72.

Though the Sei was technically stunning, it could hardly be called stylish with its tragic de Tomaso styling and a dull-looking powerplant that plagiarized Honda’s CB500 Four. Noted Dutch classic racer Joop Berghorst has set out to right this aesthetic oversight by re-imagining his 1981 Benelli Sei 900 as a ’60s-style GP racer. Period bodywork complete with a dolphin-nose half-fairing, covered in lusty Italian racing red, looks a damn sight better than the slabby original plastic, and the flowing, 6-into-6 racing exhaust is much more emblematic than the original, pencil-thin 6-into-2 megaphones. No doubt it sounds the business, too…

Berghorst’s phantom racer is the aesthetic equal of any production Benelli, Ducati or MV Agusta from the same timeframe. Bellissimo!

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