Laverda (Moto Laverda S.A.S. Ц Dottore Francesco Laverda e fratelli) was an Italian manufacturer of high performance motorcycles. The motorcycles in their day gained a reputation for being robust and innovative.
The Laverda brand was absorbed by Piaggio when, in 2004, Piaggio absorbed Aprilia. Piaggio has elected to quietly close all activities related to the Laverda brand and has publicly stated that they would be willing to sell the rights to the brand if an investor should appear. Currently Laverda.com redirects to Aprilia's website.
The roots of the Laverda Motorcycle company go back to 1873, when Pietro Laverda (1845-1930) decided to start an agricultural engines enterprise Ц Laverda S.p.A. Ц in the small rural village of Breganze in Vicenza province (North-East of Italy).
The manufacturers of LAVERDA motorcycles, facing a declining market in that field, have turned their hand to four wheel drive trucks. For reasons best known to themselves they have picked a market sector that isn't renowned for the vast quantity of vehicles required and is, anyway, dominated by Mercedes-Benz with their Uni-mog range.
Nevertheless, the machine looks good (so did the Land Rover 101 and Dosco HS 100-4) with its forward control layout, short wheelbase of 2350mm (92.5 inches) and versatile transmission. Powered by a 2.5 litre SOFIM diesel producing 72 bhp at 4,200 rpm (!) it features a five speed primary box from Fiat and Laverda's own two speed transfer case. The latter is interesting as it is a part time system, but features a lockable diff, thus offering two wheel drive, four wheel drive with inter axle differential and four wheel drive with locked differential. This isn't as daft as it sounds and both axle diffs are lockable too. It is clearly going to be a very determined little machine.
Two power take offs will be provided, one mechanical, one hydraulic and independently controllable regardless of what the vehicle is doing.
Approach and departure angles are very reasonable, at 40∞ and 45∞ respectively, with a minimum ground clearance of 260mm (10 inches) and a ramp breakover angle of 135∞. The Laverda offers very little that is new; were it fitted with portal axles its specification would be very similar to the, now defunct, Dosco HS 100-4. I just hope that "market forces" don't finish this one off too. Time will tell.