The case of 60 roadworthy, street-legal Foggy-Petronas FP1s that were supposed to be shipped to the headquarters of the Petronas-financed motorcycle make in Malaysia has been floating at various altitudes since 2010, when the bikes were found hidden in Essex. Now the bikes are set to go up for sale by a British company, Lanzante Motorsports.
When discovered, the FP1 had already left the SBK Series scene, not having achieved much in spite of heavy investments by Malaysian oil giant Petronas, which had hired the Formula 1 team Sauber to develop the project. Sauber had been selected because they were racing F1 cars powered by the mighty Ferrari V-12 engine which was regarded as a very promising source of engineering inspiration for the project.
The bike was powered by a 900cc three-cylinder engine that must have used some pretty extreme valve timing in terms of overlap, judging by the flames that erupted from its exhaust—like a broadside cannon volley. But all the show was not worth much go, even in the hands of the great champion Troy Corser and Chris Walker. The bike did not bring any meaningful results, and the whole team was withdrawn at the end of the 2006 season.
To get the FP1 duly homologated as a legitimate superbike, 150 units had to be submitted to the FIM authorities. Of them, 75 were supposed to be built in the UK and the remaining 75 in Malaysia, in the newly established premises from which Petronas had intended to launch the name as competitor to the great names of the sport and of the most refined and exclusive motorcycling. The 75 bikes of British birth were never shipped, apparently.
The case gave life to a nasty legal case between Petronas and its Malaysian partner, Momoto, that went on for so long that the bunch of lost bikes were forgotten.
Now a British dealer and race car restoration firm, Lanzante Motorsports, has somehow acquired the bikes and refurbished them to their original aqua green color, with all the original equipment. Fitted with period-correct or old new-stock parts, like the older-style Brembo four-piston calipers and Öhlins fork legs, these machines will most likely be snapped up by collectors quickly.
The road-legal FP1 are said to produce 127 hp and weighs 399 pounds—still a good power-to-weight ratio today. These very attractive collectors pieces are speculated to sell for around $32,000.
Reading all the sequence of very odd events that led Lanzante Motorsports to acquire those 60 bikes, I can only wonder how Momoto and Petronas will react. Stay tuned, this might get interesting.