No matter how far apart the world of cars and bikes is, one thing that binds the two is the beautifully sculpted aesthetics on these machines, which can skillfully charm even the strongest of minds. And when one decides to honour the other, they always do it in their own special way. Like this Benelli 512M from Plan B Motorcycles – a two-wheeled custom builds dedicated to the iconic and legendary Ferrari 512M Endurance race-car… A Hat tip from one Italian to the another.
Starting off on a rusty old Benelli 354 Sport that was lying in garage for over twenty years, Christian Moretti – the man behind Plan B Motorcycles, was quick to swap the existing small-ish 354 engine with a bigger 500cc motor with more horsepower and increased torque, albeit retaining the lighter and smaller frame of the original 354. Furthermore, the new engine was ported and polished for better performance results while the archaic points and condenser system originally on the bike was replaced by an advanced electronic ignition unit from Dynatech giving the 512M that extra spark!
Feeding the motor are four flat-slide carburettors while the outward gases are routed via an unusual 4-2-4 exhaust configuration ending with beautifully crafted HP Corse Hydroform end units. True to the seventies era, the four pipes are ceramic coated in white and really present the 512M with a nostalgic persona. The chassis too underwent some modifications like the entire sub frame was trashed and a new aluminium unit made way to hold the seat, battery and other electrical fittings. The twin suspension on the rear too was replaced by a fully adjustable mono shock rear suspension provided by Gears Racing.
Of course, since the rear suspension was updated, so was the front-end with the complete fork assembly and a massive 340mm rotor with six pot calliper braking unit taken off a Buell M2. As we found out, the only original bit on the bike are the 18-inch wheels that are now shod with purpose-built vintage racing tyres from Avon. Most of the bodywork is made out of fibreglass and aluminium to keep the weight as low as possible and in line with the machine’s racing aura.
This is certainly one of the best motorcycle customs out there that celebrates and acknowledges a racing legend from the car world and does it so in a befitting manner. Moretti has added a touch of tech-bits too onto his creation giving the Benelli 512M that elite feel. There is an electronically actuated side-stand that otherwise hides inside the aluminium belly pan. The compact and busy cockpit housing the warning lights and an analogue tachometer also gets a digital stopwatch that is electronically operated via buttons on the handlebar for the crucial lap-time keeping on track days.
Once again Plan B Motorcycles has churned out yet another fantastic example of Italian craftsmanship and engineering with the 512M. A machine that can be your everyday ride as well as keep the pace up on weekend track outings, executing both in a stylish manner than only the Italians can do. You can catch Plan B crew and the Benelli 512M racing at the on-going Glemseck 101 Festival in Germany competing against some of the best customs from around world there. Get’em trophies home lads!
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Photos by Marc Holstein