Seventies Superbike: 1977 Laverda Jota

Laverda Jota
The Laverda Jota sticks in my mind as the ultimate seventies superbike: it’s the two-wheeled equivalent of the iconic Lamborghini Muira. This 1977 Jota is owned by Alex Ozzard-Low, and after digging around, I was surprised to find that the Jota was not a true factory bike.

According to Classic Mechanics, “Developed by Roger Slater [the UK importer] from the 1000cc 3C triple, the bike had higher compression pistons, beefier cams and less restrictive (read ‘loud’) exhausts, and was tested at MIRA that August by John Nutting, who got a best one-way top speed of 140.04mph and said it had ‘easily the highest recorded top speed for a road-going production motorcycle’.”

The Jota shown here was one of three reportedly delivered from Slater’s to Albuquerque in New Mexico. It was customized early on in its life and treated to the fairing from a Laverda SFC, the front fender from a Yamaha TZ, and a new paint job. By the time Alex bought the bike in 2007 it was doing racetrack duties, and somewhat the worse for wear.

Laverda Jota
So he gave the bike to renowned Laverda specialist Scott Potter to return to 3C spec. Alex says, “The original intention was to get Scott to do a reasonable cosmetic restoration, but as usual with these things it all got a bit out of hand, so what we have is the beautiful machine in the photos.”

Scott has detailed the restoration on his website; apart from stripping and cleaning, it involved a rewire, new Excel rims, Race Tech emulators in the forks, and a blueprinted engine fitted with Axtell-spec camshafts.

The frame was powdercoated and the bodywork was given a base coat of Lamborghini’s orange ‘Ishtar Arancio’ color, followed by two coats of orange pearl and a clear coat. Isn’t it gorgeous? [See Classic Mechanics for an excellent overview of the Jota and a comparison with the Yamaha XS1100.]

Laverda Jota