Cardani - GP
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Cardani D2-492-13-15
Photo ou archives : D. Ganneau

Capacity : 500
Model : GP
Production : 1969 -
Category : (R) Racing


500 Grand Prix - 1968

Cloning the MV Agusta

In 1968, the MV Agusta of Agostini ruled the roost in 500cc GP racing. For two seasons, the marque raced a three-cylinder machine which was lighter and more compact than the old four-cylinder model. After Honda withdrew from racing in 1967, the field largely consisted of old British singles, and MV's dominant role prompted two skilled technicians, Carlo Savarè and Daniele Fontana, to mount a challenge. They called their machine the Cardani.

Borrowed from the Best Sources

The Cardani looked remarkably similar to the MY, with cylinders inclined forward at 30 degrees from the vertical and its twin overhead camshafts driven by a train of pinions from the end of the crankshaft. Even the appearance of the frame was similar; only the Cardani's yellow finish and a few curves told the two machines apart. Above all, the engine layout had been adapted to the requirements of Jack Findlay, who had been signed as rider.

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Findlay had always favored a heavy weight bias towards the front, and had made special frames to house his engines. The Cardani's engine was set well forward compared with most machines of its day. But the funds to develop the machine were lacking and it never raced. Sensibly, Fontana and Findlay eventually decided to use a Suzuki engine in their own frame with a similar geometry which presaged the design trends of the Eighties. They called the result "Jada."


Engine: 498cc (62x55mm) air-cooled three-cylinder four-stroke

Power Rating: 75 hp@ 3,000 rpm

Valves: twin overhead camshafts/4 valves per cylinder

Fuel System: 32mm carburetors

Transmission: 7-speed

Suspension: telescopic forks (front);

swinging forks with twin spring/dampers (rear)

Brakes: drum (front & rear)

Wheels: 3.00x18 inch (front); 3.50x18 inch (rear)

Weight: 320 lb

The Cardani closely resembled the MV Agusta which it hoped – unsuccessfully – to rival on the track.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

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