Despite an illustrious racing heritage, Benelli was in financial difficulty by the late 1960s and the firm fell into the clutches of Argentinian industrialist Alejandro De Tomaso in 1971. Under De Tomaso’s stewardship the revitalised company was soon grabbing the headlines with a host of new models, none more startling than the 750cc Sei of 1972, the world’s first six-cylinder production motorcycle.
The fact that Benelli was able to produce the design so quickly despite lacking previous experience of this type of engine was easily explained: it looked like a Honda CB500 four with two extra cylinders, which in effect was just what it was. Production proper began in 1974 and its 5-speed 747cc in-line six made 76hp at 9,000rpm which was good for a 120mph top speed.
Weighing 235kgs (dry) it had twin discs up front, Marzocchi forks, a big 23-litre tank and striking styling.
However, the big Benelli was overshadowed in 1978 by Honda’s 6-cylinder CBX1000. 750 Sei production ceased that same year after 3,200 had been built. The firm responded in 1980 with the 900 Sei, which used the 750’s SOHC engine bored and stroked to 905.9cc, and that stayed in production until 1987.
The Series 1 750 Sei offered here is an original, unrestored machine apart from the tank and side panels which have recently been correctly repainted. The speedo shows just 17,600 kms (10,900 miles), the six fabulous exhausts are original and the bike is presented in sound condition but would benefit from some further cosmetic TLC. Every bit as much of a dream machine today as it was in the mid ‘70s.