Of all the streetbikes ever created with a clean-sheet V-8, the Morbidelli came closest to production success. However, a frighteningly high price tag ($45k, listed by Guinness in 2001 as the most expensive motorcycle in the world) and Morbidelli’s shaky financial footing resulted in just four V8s (including the prototype) making their way through production by 1998, and the once-proud Morbidelli (with five GP world championships) was eventually shuttered. The V8 was also hampered by odd styling from noted car-design house Pininfarina, particularly the first version seen in 1994 with its disturbing bug-eye headlights and two-tone paint. The styling was soon updated to a more flowing design seen here that was perhaps ahead of its time. It was criticized in 1997, but it looks a little less jarring to today’s eyes.

The heart of the Morbidelli, of course, is its jewel-like 847cc V-8. Its tidy size and exquisite attention to detail pleases eyes to a sublime extent when compared to a Boss Hoss Chevy that was never intended to be looked at without being covered by a hood. The 440-lb Morbidelli is the gentlemanly way to ride a V-8 motorcycle. A mild state of tune delivered a claim of 120 hp at 11,000 rpm being transferred through a shaft drive, said to be enough for a 150-mph top speed.

One of the ultra-rare Morbidelli V8s can be seen at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Birmingham, Alabama. You can hear it in the video below.