First 6-Cylinder: 1979 Benelli Sei With Zero Miles!

1979-benelli-750-sei

Alejandro de Tomaso may be best known for his automobiles, but did you know that his company also built motorcycles? Well, he purchased a few manufacturers that did anyway. Benelli was one of them and their 750 Sei become the world’s first production six-cylinder bike. So, this would be an interesting find even if  someone hadn’t stashed it away in a barn before putting a single mile on it! It’s going to need some cleaning, but could be one heck of a find for a Italian motorcycle enthusiast. It’s in North Florida and is listed here on craigslist for $12,000.

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Comments

  1. Sebastien

    The Honda CBX is the first 6 cylinder bike, the Benelli is the first Italian 6 cylinder bike. The Kawasaki kz 1300 was also 6 cylinder
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_CBX1

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    • wuzjeepnowsaab

      Actually, Benneli made the first 6 cylinder production bike

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benelli_Sei

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    • Howard A

      Hi Sebastien, the Benelli 6 cyl. came out in 1972. The CBX didn’t come out until 1978. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_CBX

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      • Sebastien

        My apologies, I did not double checked and assumed they were saying that the first 6 cylinder bike
        was from 79…

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  2. Howard A

    Let me be the 1st to say, this is quite a find, especially with 0 miles on it. The Honda CBX out shadowed the Benelli 750 ( and later, a 900) but the Benelli, as stated was the 1st 6 cyl. production bike. The engine was modeled after the Honda 500 in line 4, only with 2 extra cylinders. Performance was described as “brisk”. I don’t ever recall seeing one up close. I knew someone with a CBX, and the performance was intense, but not the fastest production bike ( I think that was the Kawasaki 750 triple) I’d have to think parts would be a problem, not many were sold here. Cool find.

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    • geomechs

      Hi Howard. This one was a total surprise for me; I never saw a Benelli that wasn’t a single. It seems to me that Benelli built the Mojave 360 that was sold through Montgomery Wards back in the late 60s. I remember the Kawasaki 500 triple and thought it was insane enough; the 750 must have been pure lunacy….

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      • Howard A

        Hi geomechs, apparently, this bike wasn’t as fast as you’d think, for a 6 cyl. Did the 1/4 mile in 14.0@92 mph ( compared to a Kawasaki 750 H2, that did the 1/4 in 12.3@ 105) Even the 900 sei claimed 13.3@99mph. Still, I’d have to think an inline 6 cruise ability would be unsurpassed.

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      • Sebastien

        I owned a few triples myself, they were insane because they didn’t brake or handle and had those skinny tires. I had a kawi super rare 250, a 500 and a super rare 750 with electric star and ignition. Lots of fun!

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  3. Jeffro

    You can still buy parts for these. Be ready to take out 2nd mortgage. And possibly put up a kidney for sale. Beautiful bike. Love the exhaust system.

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  4. wynkin

    In the 1930’s there were Henderson sixes.

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    • geomechs

      Hi wynkin. I heard that Henderson, and even Indian, experimented with 6 cyl motors but I wasn’t aware that they ever made it to production. That would’ve been quite a beast to kick-start, let alone ride. The photo is great by the way…

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    • David Stigall

      i saw a Cleveland straight 4 year unknown in a second hand store window in early 70s.

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  5. angliagt

    I’ve been tempted (again!) to pick up another older street bike,
    as my ’78 Bonneville is still sitting in the garage,awaiting restoration.
    I looked at a cherry Honda 500-4,for $4,000.Guess I’ll pass,as
    the market’s gone crazy on these old bikes – no more good buys out there.

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    • Andy

      Stay with the Triumph. Parts are getting scarce for old Hondas, and worse for the other Japanese makes, but you’ll be able to get parts for British bikes darn near forever. The British never figured out how to keep a major motorcycle industry going, but nobody beats them at cottage industry! And the 750 twins are great riding bikes with more charisma then anything on the road.

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      • Doug Towsley

        Andy is correct, The Triumph is a damn fine machine. They were built to a price and thus have areas of improvement but I am more than happy to explain what upgrades to do and how to do it,. I can rebuild a Triumph with my eyes closed.
        While later Triumphs (post 71 aka OIF) are better riders but still classics they dont tend to be as valuable for resale So i always advise those looking for a nice affordable classic the mid 70s Triumphs are good value. Parts availibility and cost/expenses.
        As to the Italian bikes, they make some amazing machinery. Moto Guzzis tend to be near bullet proof, But most are expensive and finicky. This feature bike is super collectible and worth a lot in value and investment. But I would not suggest it as a rider. Asian bikes are climbing in value for vintage, I have dabbled in those and own Kawasaki, Suzuki and Hondas. But with a few exceptions I would rather own a classic British bike. Better IMHO all the way around.

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  6. Howard A

    Can’t forget this 7 cylinder Kawasaki. ( and it runs) http://i.imgur.com/l1XFvil.jpg

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  7. Scott in San Jose

    About the same time my buddy had the little brother to this a 250/4. That was a screamer. Was just as much fun to listen to as to ride

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  8. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    Raced one of these for a while in New Hampshire, nice ride though carb syncing was a pain. I always wondered how the later fuel injected version was, but Italian electric scare me, make Lucas look positively competent.

    The Kawi………nice Photoshop of a triple. Not made by factory….EVER!

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    • Howard A

      Hi Ross, not a photoshop.( or chop) Here’s the video. Now, whether all 7 cylinders are actually going up and down, could be another matter. This guy also claims to have made a 5 cylinder, as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbLm7KECp5Q

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  9. David Stigall

    i had 2 susuki 380 3s pain mixing oil with the gas. a Honda 500 4 that i put 22,000 miles on it. just changing the filters, chain, tires and brakes. finally i had a 68 650 Bonneville.i still ended up putting down newspapers for the leaks even after a professional and expensive rebuild. but it was decked full out as a chopper. so i didn’t get ragged on by the gangs too much. back in those days the Sporters 1000 (883) was for the gangs and the 1200 Eletra Glide was for cops and old men. and you never never ever wore patches or colors on your demin or leather. i was in a strong Outlaws territory and The Vikings an all black gang out of Canton,Ohio. so, you if you rode a chopper you minded your Ps and Qs. but , hey i had a Captain America helmet. if you want to piss off a Harley owner. who made a better Harley. AMF or Benilli. LMAO

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  10. Rod Davie

    I’m two days older than dirt and have owned or ridden almost every bike mentioned here. But, as to the Benelli: It handled okay, never pushed it very hard in the corners (it was not my bike). It was not as fast as many others. It was very pretty. And…it sounded like a V12 Ferrari at full chat. THAT was worth the ride for me. !!!

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  11. angliagt

    I forgot to ad that that is a cool bike,aside from my
    feelings of the current market.
    Doug,you and others here may be interested in a local
    place here lots of old bikes inside,& they block off the street
    in front of it for a “ride in” bike show every year.
    Come by,& I’ll buy you a cup of coffee!

    http://www.blacklightningmotorcyclecafe.com

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