100 years of making motorcycles is quite an achievement. The oldest being Indian Motorcycle at 120 years and Harley-Davidson at 118 years. Now Moto Guzzi joins Indian and Harley-Davidson today with their iconic 100th anniversary of magnificent motorbikes. A century of history, splendid motorcycles, triumphs, adventures and extraordinary personalities. A capacity for innovation, boldness in moving ahead of the times, a competitive spirit, love for the product and meticulous attention to production quality are the skills that over the years Moto Guzzi has combined with its unique relationship with the local community. Moto Guzzi has always been admired and respected by bikers all over the world.
To celebrate the centenary, the entire Moto Guzzi range is also available in the special Centennial Livery, in an exclusive edition for 2021 only, inspired by the legendary Otto Cilindri racer.
Inspired to learn more about Moto Guzzi? Wonderful! Read below and don’t forget to check out our Moto Guzzi Motorcycle Model Guides as well as the latest 2021 and 2022 models right now on Total Motorcycle!
Happy Anniversary Moto Guzzi, I’ll be on my own Moto Guzzi V7 today to celebrate your success. 100 years – March 15th 1921 to March 15th 2021.
Last Month we featured the new 100th Anniversary models but now you can Check out our exclusive Iconic 100th Anniversary of Magnificent Motorbikes coverage below. It may take you an hour to read through it all, but it will be well worth it.
MOTO GUZZI 1921-2021: THE EAGLE BRAND
On 15 March 1921, the company “Società Anonima Moto Guzzi” was constituted in the offices of the notary Paolo Cassanello in Corso Aurelio Saffi, Genoa, for “the fabrication and sale of motorcycles, and all other activities pertinent or correlated to the metalworking and mechanical engineering industries”. The partners in the Company were the renowned Genoese ship owner Emanuele Vittorio Parodi, his son Giorgio and his friend Carlo Guzzi. Guzzi was a former comrade of Parodi’s in the Italian Air Corps, as was another friend Giovanni Ravelli, an aviator – like Parodi – who died, however, on 11 August 1919 during a test flight. It was in memory of this friend that the spread-winged eagle motif in the Moto Guzzi badge was chosen.
The company’s first motorcycle was the legendary 8 HP Normale. This was followed by successful models such as the 1928 Guzzi G.T., dubbed “Norge” to commemorate the expedition to the Polar Arctic Circle, and the Airone 250 (1939), which remained Italy’s best selling medium capacity motorcycle for over 15 years. In the meanwhile, the marque also notched up numerous racing successes. The first was in the prestigious Targa Florio in 1921, which marked the beginning of an impressive succession of victories: up until its withdrawal from motorsports in 1957, Moto Guzzi accumulated an enviable collection of accolades including, among other titles, an astonishing 14 world GP championships and 11 Tourist Trophies.
The years following the Second World War spawned models such as the Guzzino 65 (“Cardellino”), which was Europe’s best selling motorcycle for over a decade. This was followed by the legendary Galletto (1950) and the Lodola 175 (1956). In 1950, Moto Guzzi installed a state of the art wind tunnel at Mandello del Lario, making it the first constructor worldwide to do so. The company’s racing division was a team of brilliant minds, with engineers such as Umberto Todero, Enrico Cantoni and a designer who would soon become a legend: the Milanese Giulio Cesare Carcano, father of the Guzzi Otto Cilindri with its top speed of 285 Km/h.
At the end of the 1960s, Moto Guzzi presented the 90° V-twin engine that was to become the very symbol of Moto Guzzi itself. This powerplant was used as the basis for models such as the Guzzi V7, the V7 Special and yet another legend, the Guzzi V7 Sport. The glorious twin cylinder was also produced in a smaller engine capacity with the V35 and V50 variants. The Gran Turismo par excellence was the Moto Guzzi California, which evolved to include electronic injection and a triple-disc integral braking system. Dedicated to the US market, together with the Ambassador and Eldorado variants, the California boasted the classic 850 cc engine capacity, a displacement that has since been rediscovered and brought back into the current range. Models like the Le Mans, Daytona, Centauro and Sport 1100 kept the sports heritage of the marque alive. The unmistakable style and character of these bikes came blazing back into fashion in the 1990s with the new California, Nevada and V11 Sport series.
On 30 December 2004, Moto Guzzi became a part of the Piaggio Group, the European leader in the two-wheeler market and one of the world’s major manufacturers in the sector. And it was under the sign of this relaunch that, in March 2005, the Breva 1100 naked sport bike was introduced. September that same year saw the widely acclaimed launch of the Griso 1100, a bike boasting original engineering solutions and unique styling.
In May 2006, the Norge 1200 marked Guzzi’s return to the Gran Turismo genre: total protection, refined chassis architecture and new 1200cc twin-cylinder engine.
Testifying to the great passion that unites all Moto Guzzi owners, from 15 to 17 September, 15 thousand Guzzisti from more than 20 different countries flocked to Mandello del Lario for the fourth edition of GMG (‘Giornate Mondiali Moto Guzzi’).
The sporty heart of Moto Guzzi began to beat again: in March 2006 , when Gianfranco Guareschi took a historic “brace” on the Daytona circuit with two wins in the Battle of Twins. And he repeated the result in the 2007 edition. In the wake of these racing victories on the other side of the Atlantic, a new model was created to embody the sporting spirit of Moto Guzzi, the 1200 Sport, presented in October 2006, a naked sport bike with personality to spare, powered by the latest evolution of the 1,200cc 90° V-twin.
For 2007, the Mandello based brand proved to be more vital than ever, presenting the Griso 8V – an evolution of brand’s mesmerising naked powered by a new 4-valve engine producing over 110 HP – and the Bellagio, a custom powered by a 940 cc short-stroke twin cylinder. 2007 was also the year of the Giornate Mondiali Moto Guzzi event, which was given an even more exclusive touch by the appearance by the cinema star Ewan McGregor. The actor had come to Mandello del Lario to collect his white California Vintage, which he had purchased a few months previously when filming scenes for his adventure TV show Long Way Down at the Guzzi factory. EICMA 2007 was the setting for the world preview presentation of two models at opposite ends of the spectrum in the comprehensive Moto Guzzi range: the Stelvio 1200 and the V7 Classic. The Stelvio 1200 was presented to the international press in March 2008 in the medieval town of Rocca Salimbeni, the home of the Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank, while the following May, journalists were given their first chance to test the abilities of the nimble V7 Classic on the streets of Milan.
A significant testimony to the brand’s quality came when Guzzi won the contract to supply 35 Moto Guzzi Norge GTs to the Berlin police, while 20 Moto Guzzi California Vintage bikes were delivered to the Corazzieri Italian Presidential guard corps the same year. 2009 saw the introduction of the V7 Cafè, a sports variant of the V7 to join the existing Classic, presented in Rome together with the Griso SE in March, and of the Stelvio NTX, which marked the introduction of ABS on the Guzzi’s maxi enduro. This bike, introduced to the international press on the roads of the Dolomites, is powered by the first upgrade of the “Quattrovalvole” engine, with new camshafts.
At the end of 2009, during the 67th International Motorcycle Show in Milan, Moto Guzzi captured the world’s attention with three futuristic prototypes designed by Miguel Galluzzi and Pierre Terblanche: V12LM, V12 Strada and V12 X, which immediately received the Motorcycle Design Association Award (a design association with 165 members in four continents) for the best motorcycle design.
A spate of new Moto Guzzi models was also unveiled at the 2010 edition of EICMA Milan. The big 1200 8V bikes with four valves per cylinder were presented – the Stelvio 1200 8V, the Stelvio 1200 NTX and the Norge GT 8V – which had its street launch in the spring of 2011 on the roads of Tuscany.
The V7 Racer was also born, a genuine 750cc production special on a V7 Sport base.
In 2011, Moto Guzzi celebrated its 90-year anniversary. In April, the new range of premium Stelvio and Norge 8V models made their début, protagonists of the Mandello – North Cape International Raid in July of the same year. To close out the anniversary celebrations, more than 20,000 Guzzisti descended on Mandello for the Global Moto Guzzi Days.
2012 began under the sign of the new V7 range, equipped with a revamped, high efficiency powerplant which managed to catapult the new medium-sized bike from Mandello to the top of the standings for most sold bike in the group in just a few months.
At the end of the year, with the rumour mill in high gear, the new Moto Guzzi California 1400 arrived on the market in the Touring version. In early 2013, the Custom was also introduced. Both were powered by a brand new, powerful 1400cc V-twin engine, the largest engine of this kind every manufactured in Europe. Scottish actor Ewan McGregor was the testimonial for the new California 1400 and in May 2013, Robb Report, one of the most authoritative American magazines and a global reference point in the luxury segment, included that big custom in its Best of the Best Luxury Portfolio: In August, more important recognition arrived, also from the United States, when the California 1400 won first prize in the Cruiser category in the contest initiated by Cycle World.
In 2014, the V7 was completely revamped and the Moto Guzzi V7II was born. The sixth gear, the ABS braking system and Traction Control were some of the most significant new features on the new model.
2015 ushered in two new and spectacular motorcycles on the powerful 1400cc V-twin base: Eldorado and Audace, whereas 2016 opened up with the market launch of the Moto Guzzi Stornello, a light offroad version of the V7II range. The year 2016 also brought the V9, a new medium engine capacity custom, and the MGX-21 Flying Fortress made its début, one of the most spectacular Moto Guzzis ever. In fact, the MGX-21 was the most nonconformist, luxurious and technological of the big 1400 cruisers built in Mandello del Lario, a unique bagger anywhere in the world for its design, technological features, construction quality and attention to detail.
2017 was the 50th anniversary of the Moto Guzzi V7, celebrated with the arrival of the third generation of what had, at that point, become the uncontested best seller in the Moto Guzzi camp. The V7 III was entirely revamped, leaving the originality and authenticity typical of this iconic motorcycle intact Since 1967, the year the first units were sold, the V7 had become a pillar of the product range and the representative of the Italian motorcycle par excellence, standing out for its content and design, highly popular with a transversal and varied public. V7 III is available in the three versions, Stone, Special and Racer that, compared with the past, now take on stronger connotations and greater characterization.
The 2018-2019 period was marked by the static introduction (at EICMA 2018) and then the marketing (spring of 2019) of the anxiously-awaited V85 TT, the bike that would mark the Eagle brand’s return to the large travel enduro segment. Moto Guzzi V85 TT creates the new classic enduro segment, capable of providing performance and modern technology wrapped up in a stylish body, rich in Moto Guzzi’s almost centennial values and tradition. Moto Guzzi V85 TT was created on a new technical platform and powered by a brand new 80 HP and 80 Nm engine, a transversal 90° V-twin. It came standard with Ride by Wire Multimap throttle control, ABS and traction control. The Moto Guzzi MIA application lets you connect your smartphone to the instrumentation, significantly expanding functionality. Last, but not least, there is a vast range of dedicated accessories. In 2020, the Travel version arrived as well, outfitted with panniers and travel accessories, coming alongside the new V7III Stone S and V7III Racer 10th Anniversary models.
In 2019 and 2020, Moto Guzzi returned to the most classic form of track racing with the Moto Guzzi Fast Endurance trophy. The Trophy, organised with the Italian Federation and dedicated to teams of two riders astride V7 III machines, was enormously successful thanks to an accessible and engaging formula. Much of the credit goes to the “seven-fifty” from Mandello which, outfitted with the Gcorse Racing Kit and Pirelli tyres, proved to be unexpectedly fast and extremely reliable, but above all easy, intuitive and usable on the track even by those who do not boast any racing experience.
WITH 2021, THE YEAR OF MOTO GUZZI’S CENTENNIAL IS LAUNCHED
Moto Guzzi celebrates 100 Year Anniversary with special models this year for riders! Introducing the 2021 Moto Guzzi V85 TT Centenario, V7 Stone Centenario and V9 Bobber Centenario in 1921 Moto Guzzi colors.
TO CELEBRATE ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF THE EAGLE, THE GMG – GIORNATE MONDIALI MOTO GUZZI ARE BACK, FROM 9 THROUGH 12 SEPTEMBER IN MANDELLO DEL LARIO, WITH AN EXTRAORDINARY EDITION A SPECIAL CENTENNIAL CELEBRATORY LIVERY IS UNVEILED, PRODUCED IN AN EXCLUSIVE EDITION ONLY IN 2021 AND INSPIRED BY THE LEGENDARY 8 CILINDRI, AVAILABLE ON ALL MODELS
A century of history, one hundred years of spectacular motorcycles, victories, adventures and iconic characters who have built the legend of the Eagle Brand.
Moto Guzzi celebrates this extraordinary birthday with a 2021 full of initiatives that will culminate in the GMG – Giornate Mondiali Moto Guzzi, scheduled to be held in Mandello del Lario from 9 through 12 September.
The GMG – Giornate Mondiali Moto Guzzi are always a must-attend event for any enthusiast and, eagerly anticipated, they are back ten years after the last edition. Tens of thousands of enthusiasts will flock from all over the world to experience a unique and unforgettable event, made possible by the collaboration between Moto Guzzi, Motoraduno Internazionale Committee and the municipality of Mandello del Lario.
For such a special occasion, Moto Guzzi will produce a limited series of their models in a special Centennial Livery, which will be available on V7, V9 and V85 TT only throughout 2021. An exclusive, elegant and attractive colour scheme, evocative of a unique heritage, drawing its origins from the aesthetics of legendary bikes which made motorcycling history, first and foremost, the 8-cylinder of 1955. A mad and visionary idea, an extraordinary bike created to compete in the World Championship 500 class, a project so bold that it was ten years ahead of all global motorcycle production.
This milestone in motorbike history has an extremely elegant colour scheme in its purely racing essence, combining the satin-finished metal of the fuel tank with the green of the fairing and the leather on the seat. Colours that also characterised the 350 Bialbero, one of the most victorious bikes in history, the unbeatable dominator of the 350 class in World Championship GP Motorcycle Racing, with the amazing record of 9 consecutive world titles (5 Rider and 4 Manufacturer) from 1953 to 1957.
Green was also the first colour “worn” by a Moto Guzzi with the Normale, the first model, and probably the most iconic of the Eagle’s colours. The Style Centre reinterpreted it in a modern approach with a matt finish and associated with metallic colours the express the solidity and authenticity of the Larian brand. The body colours are matched with a saddle covered with a natural coloured material, like that of leather, to highlight the typically Italian attention to detail.
Other distinguishing details are the eagle in a gold finish and the dedicated logo that graphically celebrates Moto Guzzi’s 100 years.
100 YEARS OF HISTORY FOR THE MOST AUTHENTIC BRAND OF GLOBAL MOTORCYCLING
More specifically, it was 15 March 1921 when the “Società Anonima Moto Guzzi” was established with the goal of “Manufacturing and sales of motorcycles and any other activity pertinent or connected to the metal mechanical industry”. And it was precisely in that moment, in memory of one of the founders’ brothers in arms, that the eagle with spread wings was chosen as the new company’s symbol. Since then, the eagle, which quickly gained notoriety all over the world, has been Moto Guzzi’s symbol.
And so, the operational headquarters were opened in Mandello del Lario – in the same plant where Moto Guzzi are still produced to this day – an industrial enterprise that had marked the history of global motorcycling through bikes that have become a part of the collective imagination such as the GT 500 Norge (1928) ridden to the Arctic Circle by Giuseppe Guzzi, brother of founder Carlo, the Airone 250 (1939), the Galletto (1950) which contributed to mass motorisation in the postwar period.
In those years, the wind tunnel was opened – the first in the world in the motorcycling segment, which can still be visited in the Mandello plant – greatly desired by a close-knit team that included extraordinary engineers the likes of Umberto Todero, Enrico Cantoni and a designer who would soon become a legend: Milan native Giulio Cesare Carcano, father of the incredible 285 km/hour Otto Cilindri (in 1955) and the prototypes which, between 1935 and 1957, won no fewer than 15 world speed titles and 11 Tourist Trophies.
In the ’60s, after the Stornello and Dingo light motorcycles, Moto Guzzi breathed life into the 700cc 90° V-twin with cardan shaft final drive, destined to become the very symbol of the Manufacturer from Mandello through legendary models like the V7 Special, V7 Sport, California and Le Mans. This engine has been consistently evolved on this architecture, all the way to driving, supported by the most advanced electronic control features, the most popular modern Moto Guzzis such as the V7 and V9 range in the Roamer and Bobber versions and the V85 TT traveller, the first ever classic enduro in the world.
A CENTURY OF MOTORCYCLING HISTORY CONSTANTLY AT THE CUTTING EDGE, WITH THE ABILITY TO INNOVATE WHILE KEEPING FAITH WITH VALUES AND TRADITIONS
PIAGGIO GROUP CHAIRMAN AND CEO ROBERTO COLANINNO: “THE MOTO GUZZI CENTENARY IS A PROUD MOMENT FOR ITALIAN INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE. TODAY THE BRAND IS ENJOYING A FRESH NEW SEASON OF SUCCESS AND CONTINUES TO INSPIRE GENUINE PASSION IN BIKERS ALL OVER THE WORLD”
A HOST OF MOTO GUZZI INITIATIVES TO MARK THE ANNIVERSARY, CULMINATING IN MOTO GUZZI WORLD DAYS IN MANDELLO DEL LARIO FROM 9 TO 12 SEPTEMBER
Mandello del Lario, 15 March 2021 – On 15 March 2021, Moto Guzzi will celebrate its first legendary 100 years.
A century of history, splendid motorcycles, triumphs, adventures and extraordinary personalities, who together built the legendary Eagle Brand. Moto Guzzi celebrates this exceptional milestone at a time when it is enjoying a fresh new season of success.
The motorcycle range has been extensively renewed, with the deployment of state-of-the-art technical features in terms of electronic rider aids, while the brand values of style and authenticity have been kept intact. Each Moto Guzzi motorbike is constructed at the Mandello del Lario plant with craftsmanlike care and commitment to a unique, authentic identity, skilfully balancing the classic Moto Guzzi style with cutting-edge technology and reflecting a construction philosophy that creates an exclusive relationship between the bike and the rider.
Piaggio Group Chairman and CEO Roberto Colaninno said: “The Moto Guzzi centenary is a proud moment both for the Piaggio Group, which was joined by the Eagle brand in 2004, and for Italian industry as a whole, not just the motorcycling sector. A capacity for innovation, boldness in moving ahead of the times, a competitive spirit, love for the product and meticulous attention to production quality are the skills that over the years Moto Guzzi has combined with its unique relationship with the local community. Ever since 1921, every Moto Guzzi bike that has gone out into the world has been built at the Mandello factory, the place where the company was set up exactly one hundred years ago. All this will continue through its second century of history. Moto Guzzi is an example of all-Italian excellence,” added Colaninno. “It has gone down in our country’s history without ever losing its youthful spirit and continues to inspire genuine passion among thousands of Guzzi bikers all over the world.”
The eagle logo, the unmistakable Moto Guzzi emblem, has in itself helped to create the legend of a brand that has always been indissolubly tied to the history of Italy.
The spread-winged eagle dates back to the military service of the company’s founders, Carlo Guzzi and Giorgio Parodi, in the Italian Royal Navy’s Aviation arm during World War One. It was during the war that the two friends, and pilot Giovanni Ravelli, decided to go into motorcycle manufacturing once the conflict ended. Ravelli was killed in an accident in 1919 and was never able to achieve his dream. Guzzi and Parodi chose the Eagle as their symbol to commemorate their companion.
Over its one hundred years, Moto Guzzi has won victories on racing circuits around the world, raising the Italian flag for an impressive 14 World Championship Titles. It was the motorbike of the speed record, the symbol of growth of a country looking to the future, the motorcycle of the police force and the army, and extended its vocation to the international stage, equipping the Californian Police and, more recently, the police forces in Berlin and many other European cities, as well as the sovereign’s escort in Jordan. Moto Guzzi is also the motorcycle of the Corazzieri, the elite corps that escorts the President of the Italian Republic.
From the very start, Moto Guzzi has been the motorcycle of choice for long-distance travel. It was 1928 when Giuseppe Guzzi reached the Arctic Circle on his GT “Norge”, starting a tradition that still continues, with travellers setting off on their Moto Guzzi bikes every day, somewhere in the world, bound for distant lands.
Today Moto Guzzi is a core division of the Piaggio Group, Europe’s leading constructor of motorcycles and scooters, which has conserved Moto Guzzi’s original characteristics, promoted its values and returned it to a forefront position.
The move back into competitive racing with the Moto Guzzi Fast Endurance Trophy, to be held this year on a European scale, and a new family of motorbikes have brought Moto Guzzi back to a prime market position and introduced its name to a younger public. The classic V7, which has just come out on the new 850 twin cylinder, and the classic enduro V85 TT intended for travel and designed for comfort and easy riding, are the best-sellers of a brand that has been enjoying a revival for a number of years.
Moto Guzzi has always been admired and respected by bikers all over the world, whatever motorcycle they own, and bikers will be the protagonists of Moto Guzzi World Days at Mandello del Lario from 9 to 12 September, the clou event in the festivities for the Moto Guzzi centenary, the main celebration for this special anniversary.
Moto Guzzi World Days has always been an unmissable occasion for bikers and now makes its eagerly awaited comeback, ten years after the last edition. Tens of thousands of enthusiasts will arrive from every corner of the planet to enjoy a unique and unforgettable event, made possible thanks to the collaboration between Moto Guzzi, the Comitato Motoraduno Internazionale and the municipality of Mandello del Lario.
100 YEARS OF HISTORY FOR THE MOST AUTHENTIC NAME IN WORLD MOTORCYCLING
It was 15 March 1921 when the “Società Anonima Moto Guzzi” company was established, for the “manufacture and sale of motorcycles and any other activity related or linked to the metalworking industry”. That was the moment when the founders, Carlo Guzzi and Giorgio Parodi, chose the spread-winged eagle as the company logo, in memory of their comrade-in-arms Giovanni Ravelli. The trio had served together in the Royal Navy’s Aviation arm, where they had developed the idea of setting up a business to build innovative motorcycles once the war had ended. Ravelli died in 1919 during a test flight and his two friends decided to commemorate him with the symbol of the air division. The eagle has been the symbol of Moto Guzzi since then, and rapidly became a world-famous trademark.
This was the beginning of an industrial enterprise based in Mandello del Lario – in the factory where Moto Guzzi bikes are still manufactured today – that has gone down in the history of world motorcycling, producing bikes that have become part of the collective imagination: bikes like the GT 500 Norge (1928) ridden to the Arctic Circle by founder Carlo Guzzi’s brother Giuseppe, the Airone 250 (1939), the Galletto (1950), which powered mass motorisation in the postwar period.
The 1950s saw the debut of the wind tunnel – a world first in the motorcycle industry, and still open for visits today at the Mandello factory – the brainchild of a close-knit team of extraordinary engineers including Umberto Todero, Enrico Cantoni and a designer whose name would quickly acquire legendary status: Milan-born Giulio Cesare Carcano, father of the incredible Otto Cilindri, or V8, with a top speed of 285 km/hour (1955), and the prototypes that won 15 world speed titles and 11 Tourist Trophy titles between 1935 and 1957.
In the 1960s, after the lightweight two-wheelers Stornello and Dingo, Moto Guzzi brought out the 700 cc 90° V-twin engine with cardan shaft final drive, destined to become the symbol of the Mandello manufacturer on such legendary models as the V7 Special, the V7 Sport, the California and the Le Mans. The engine was consistently evolved on this architecture and today, flanked by cutting-edge electronic control features, powers the most popular Moto Guzzi two-wheelers, such as the V7 range, the V9 Roamer and Bobber, and the great V85 TT tourer, the world’s first-ever classic enduro.
To celebrate the centenary, the entire Moto Guzzi range is also available in the special Centennial Livery, in an exclusive edition for 2021 only, inspired by the legendary Otto Cilindri racer.
THE BRAND OF THE EAGLE IS FOUNDED
On 15 March 1921, the company “Società Anonima Moto Guzzi” was established in the offices of notary Paolo Cassanello in Corso Aurelio Saffi, Genoa, for “the manufacture and sale of motorcycles, and all other activities pertinent or related to the metalworking and mechanical engineering industries”. The partners in the Company were the renowned Genoese ship owner Emanuele Vittorio Parodi, his son Giorgio and his friend Carlo Guzzi. Guzzi was a former partner of Parodi’s in the Italian Air Corps, as was another friend, Giovanni Ravelli, an aviator who died during a test flight on 11 August 1919. It was in memory of Ravelli that the winged eagle motif of the Moto Guzzi logo was chosen. This area of the museum is dedicated to the Moto Guzzi brand, showcasing iterations that evoke the spirit of decades past. You can further explore this history at Mandello del Lario, where the Moto Guzzi Museum houses a more extensive collection of items related to the Moto Guzzi brand.
THE PRESERVATION OF A DISTINCTIVE SOUL
Rather than talking about “restoring vehicles,” we should talk about “preserving the distinct soul” of the Moto Guzzi brand, which is deeply rooted in its rich heritage. By adopting a philosophy highly characterised by the historic nature of the vehicles, the Moto Guzzi brand has become synonymous with authenticity. The brand’s history is represented with a new, contemporary flair in the Moto Guzzi Museum located in Mandello del Lario, Italy. In fact, the most valuable Moto Guzzi bikes have been entrusted to the care of a skilled restorer who has breathed new life into Moto Guzzi vehicles, always emphasizing the importance of maintaining their originality. The authenticity of the bikes in the Museum has been preserved through careful restoration, cleaning, and overhauling engines, as well as vigorous removal of encrustation and soft degreasing. This is done in preparation for skilful and uniform chroming of the bikes, which is necessary to restoring them to their authentic, original splendour. The goal of a state-of-the-art makeover isn’t something one notices at first glance, however, it ensures that the overall look of each bike is genuine and attractive. To achieve this result requires research into period-specific paints, as well as a skillful selection of the best-matching parts and original finishes to make the historic Moto Guzzi vehicles the most accurate match to their original condition.
- Motoleggera “Guzzino” (1947)
- Gambalunghino 250 (1949)
- 500 GP 8 Cilindri (1955-1957)
- Dingo Turismo (1963-1966)
- V7 Sport (1972-1974)
- V California 850 (1971-1974)
- 850 Le Mans (1976-78)
- Daytona 1000. Dr. John (1992)
- C 2V 500 (1923-1927)
- Airone 250 Turismo (1939)
- Gambalunga 500 (1946)
- 500 Bicilindrica (1933-1951)
- Galletto 175 (1952-1953)
- 350 GP Monocilindrica (1955)
- Stornello 125 Turismo (1960-1968)
- Trotter 50 Mark M (1966-1973)
- V7 Special (1969-1972)
- V 1000 I-Convert Polizia (1975-1984)
- V35 Imola (1979-1984)
- V65 NTX (1986-1990)
- V7 Record (1969)
- Falcone Turismo 500 (1953-1967)
- V50 Custom (1982-1986)
- Quota 1000 Gara (1999)
- 4 Cilindri 500 (1953)
- Normale 500 (1921-1924)
- Norge GT 500 (1928-1930)
- 2VT 500 (1931-1934)
Motoleggera “Guzzino” (1947)
The Motoleggera, affectionately nicknamed Guzzino, was built from 1946 to 1954 at the behest of the patron Carlo Guzzi, who urged Antonio Micucci to create an economic vehicle that would meet the mobility needs of a war-torn population. With the design of a light motorcycle with small engine displacement (no more than 50 cm³) and high wheels, a very simple model was created. The model was simple both mechanically and in terms of operation: it had just a few controls all within easy reach. The 65 from Mandello immediately became a commercial success, as well as a racing success. Not only did it win the hearts of all those who came to Mandello del Lario for a celebration in 1949, but it also set various world records, beating benchmarks previously achieved by motorcycles competing in a single category of brand, type and engine capacity. In fact, it would be impossible not to be impressed by the Guzzini’s success. The bike achieved victories in Reggio Emilia in 1947, in the Milan-Taranto in 1950 and 1951, and the Italian Gimkana Champion in 1953. In addition, it achieved the various flying-kilometre and flying-mile speed records for the 75 class in 1948 on the Charrat-Saxon road, in Switzerland. In the same year and for the same class it won 19 “world firsts” at the Monza Racetrack. In addition to its racing achievements, the bike was also known as a vehicle for adventure. On the occasion of the 4th World Rover Moot in Skjåk, Norway, a special equipment package was created for the adventurous expedition tackled by the legendary Guzzino from Milan to Oslo.
Gambalunghino 250 (1949)
The renowned Gambalunghino was born in 1949 from a fortuitous experiment carried out by Lorenzetti and Mastellari on the Albatros model, which was introduced a decade earlier to compete in races reserved for “gentlemen riders.” The Gambalunghino was created when Lorenzetti, himself a Guzzi rider and tester, accidentally destroyed an Albatros while racing. In order to restart quickly, he replaced the damaged parts with those of the Gambalunga 500. This hybrid proved to be a fantastic racing motorcycle, used by both Italian and foreign riders the likes of Bruno Ruffo, Bruno Francisci and Gianni Leoni, as well as Fergus Anderson, Mike Barrington and Tommy Wood. Bruno Ruffo won the first title in the 250 class in the bike’s début year, 1949, which was also the first win for the Moto Guzzi. Over the years, the Gambalunghino was improved and perfected, thanks in part to aerodynamic research. Despite being initially reserved for factory or assisted riders, many private individuals managed to procure the parts needed to modify their Albatros bikes into Gambalunghinos, which considerably increasing the number of models on the road and the popularity of this ingenious bike.
8 Cylinder GP 500 (1955-1957)
The model shown here, from 1957, is a restyling of the first model which came out in 1954, by the engineer Giulio Cesare Carcano. Production of a second version had been the long-time dream of Carcano, which became a reality in 1957 and the most famous Moto Guzzi racing bike of all time. Thus, the final version of the famous 90-degree V four-stroke eight-cylinder engine with a capacity of 498.5 cc became an icon in the history of motorcycle racing. Its new, more powerful and modern engine, in addition to allowing a top speed of 275 km/h, adopted innovative technical solutions, such as the single spar frame which allowed for smaller oil and coolant reservoirs and freed up valuable space around the sizeable engine.
Dingo Turismo (1963-1966)
In April of 1963, the Dingo was officially introduced. Although it was designed with a clear utilitarian purpose, it adopted trendy and modern design principles, which delighted many young people who held dreams of owning their first vehicle. Initially set up in the Turismo version and sold for 79,900 Italian Lire, in a later Sport version, the Dingo had a tank that closed the frame and a long seat. From 1966-67, three new versions were introduced that perfectly suited the taste of young people who wanted to own a vehicle with characteristics similar to a true light motorcycle: the Super, Cross and Gt models. These three models also introduced a decidedly sporty look to the vehicle, thanks to some carefully researched features. A series of upgrades and equipment packages followed, which sustained production of the Dingo until 1976 when production ended. Features and upgrades included an upgraded engine with a new, 4-speed, pedal-shift gearbox (1967); fins on the head, a larger cylinder, an improved gearbox (1970), and new styling for the seat and fuel tank (1970).
V7 Sport (1972)
The V7 Sport is considered the masterpiece of Lino Tonti, the engineer and designer involved in the evolution of the V7. Tonti contributed significant innovations, such as a new frame and a powerplant with an abundantly ribbed crankcase which ensured the necessary stiffness in proportion to the increase of available power. The V7 Sport made its début at the Monza Racetrack in June 1971 on the occasion of the “500 kilometres” race – competed by Raimondo Riva. Later, it appeared on the starting grid of many endurance races. The restored model in the Moto Guzzi Museum is a 1972 second series and compared to the previous model, varies in terms of timing and ignition. It still has a double-switch distributor and a single coil per cylinder. It can be easily distinguished from its black painted frame, which differs from the red of its forerunner.
V California 850 (1972)
In the ‘60s, brothers Joe and Mike Berliner – who were major local importers of foreign bikes and huge fans of Italian products – were determined to break the hold held by Harley-Davidson among American riders and especially with the police departments. In fact, the Moto Guzzi V7 owes part of its success to them: in 1968, the Moto Guzzi Manufacturer supplied the local Mandello police with its vehicles. This introduced the greater “civilian” public to Moto Guzzi, for whom some particular versions were outfitted: The Ambassador, the Eldorado and the California. The latter would go on to become one of the greatest and longest-lasting models of Moto Guzzi, both abroad and in Italy. Despite the various changes that the first California units, made in 1971, were subjected to they have retained their popularity. In fact, the 1972 model on display at the Moto Guzzi Museum is a symbol of Moto Guzzi’s motorcycling success: its aesthetics, solid frame (inherited from the V7 Special), outstanding road holding and its sturdy, powerful and reliable engine. At an affordable price (1,056,000 lira in early 1972), Moto Guzzi presented the market with a bike that allowed a different and more relaxed experience of riding.
850 Le Mans (1976)
The Le Mans model was first prototyped in 1972 and then mass produced in 1975. The bike was in showrooms until 1993 where it won over the hearts of “corsaioli” (racing) Guzzisti through its various versions: Le Mans II in 1978, Le Mans III in 1981, Le Mans 1000 in 1984 and Le Mans CI (Full Fairing) in 1987. The Le Mans CI was a model that made Italian motorcycling history and is remembered, first and foremost, for its accomplishments on the track in addition to its use for pleasure riding. Presented during the Varrone Award ceremony (a prestigious recognition that is awarded by a panel of fans to the “bike of the year”) the Le Mans was a super-fast and ultra-sporty bike which, in its first year in production, was already capable of hitting 210 km/h. To the joy of speed and track lovers, a special upgrade kit took the Le Mans’ top speed up to 240 km/h. In addition to its engine power, which was considered state-of-the-art, the typically design features of the Le Mans were exquisite: lightweight alloy components, a small top fairing, an angular shaped fuel tank and side panels and seat. The features also included ultra-sporty stylistic and technical details, such as the raised exhaust painted black and the “integral” 3-disc braking system.
Daytona 1000. Dr. John (1995)
Moto Guzzi responded to the popularity of motorcycle competitions held on the vast, sandy beaches of Florida (Daytona Beach) and California by developing the Guzzi Daytona project, which progressively came to life on the racetracks of the United States. It is here that the large twin-cylinder Guzzis enjoyed well-deserved consideration in American races, such as the Battle of Twins in Daytona. To participate in these beach events, a former dentist from Philadelphia who was also a passionate motorcycle racer, Jon Wittner (affectionately known as “Dr.John), created a special bike in 1987. Wittner used a well-tuned Guzzi engine and a chassis architecture that he designed with a single spar steel frame and large, fibreglass fairings. After achieving outstanding results, Moto Guzzi decided to outfit a small series of these super bikes, which were further upgraded and perfected. This small outfit of bikes was the prototype for the Daytona 1000, presented in 1990, which had a new engine that was designed to reconcile the needs of high performance in competitions and on the street. Many modifications were made to this fleet of prototypes in order to achieve the final iteration. Inspiration was taken from the “Dr. John model,” which acted as a driving force for future development of both the Daytona and other Moto Guzzi models. The 1995 model displayed here pays tribute to this productive phase of cutting-edge engineering.
C 2V 500 (1923-1927)
The C 2V (“Corsa 2 Valvole”), which is ideal on mixed-terrain routes, was the first bike designed in 1923 by Carlo Guzzi for racing. It stands out for various technical innovations with respect to the previous model (the Normale) due to its new frame, which improved stability on straight routes. It made its début in a consumption competition won by the rider Valentino Gatti, who travelled at an average of 51.545 km/h. But the first great success was achieved in the Giro Motociclistico d’Italia (Motorcycling Giro d’Italia) a 2,300 km multi-stage race with special speed trials. Success at the Lario Circuit soon followed with Gatti taking the overall win ahead of Achille Varzi’s Garelli. The C 2V remained in showrooms for the general public, with small modifications, until the end of 1926 priced at 9200 Italian Lire. It briefly reappeared in 1928 before being definitively replaced in 1930 by the 2 VT.
Airone 250 Turismo (1939)
In 1939, the Airone appeared and quickly became the most widespread, popular and versatile Italian 250 bike. Due to substantial and constant upgrades completed over the years, the model proved to be suitable for multiple purposes: work, touring, and competition. Beginning in 1947, the modern Airone was born and reached its peak with the 1949 Sport model. In fact, it was this version that had an original state-of-the-art fork, which had the classic design of the modern “upside down” fork to ensure greater rigidity and sturdiness for the bike. It was also fitted with a powerful and gritty engine capable of reaching 120 km/h, allowing Moto Guzzi to rack up wins in the 250 class races, both in Italy and abroad. The Airone 250 remained in production until 1957.
Gambalunga 500 (1946)
Designed by the engineer Carcano, the Gambalunga 500 was the first postwar competition Guzzi model conceived for use on mixed tracks. Luigi Ruggeri raced the Gambalunga on 8 September 1946 at the Superba circuit in Genoa. A week later, Balzarotti achieved victory on the model in Bergamo. The model derived from the Dondolino but differed by being suited for longer distances since the Gambalunga’s design decreased the thrusts on the bearings and included a 35mm carburettor, as well as a new tele-hydraulic fork designed by Carcano himself. However, when the short-travel engine returned to popularity in 1948, the Gambalunga underwent other tweaks to its chassis architecture in order to improve aerodynamics and road holding. It also adopted a powerful engine that allowed the bike to reach a top speed of almost 190 km/h. At the end of 1951, when this model’s adventure came to an end, a few Gambalunga models wound up in the hands of “assisted” racers (Italian and foreign) who continued to use them. Today, the Gambalunga 500 is a highly coveted, collectable bike.
500 Bicilindrica (1933-1951)
The Bicilindrica (twin-cylinder) was ingeniously designed by in 1933 by Carlo Guzzi. The renouned rider, Omobono Tenni, débuted the Bicilindrica in Rome on 15 October of the same year and Moretti rode the bike to its first victory on 10 December in Naples. The model includes distinct characteristics, such as its open, double-cradle, rigid frame, the Brampton , its parallelogram fork (considered one of the best at the time), and its oscillating swingarm rear suspension that included springs on the outer part of the wheel to contain the height of the bike. Throughout its extremely long career it underwent substantial changes, especially to the chassis architecture which directly links to the work of Antonio Micucci. These changes made the bike technically competitive. Its cylindrical (“butter stick”) fuel tank, which extends beyond the headstock, was introduced in 1949 and soon after became fashionable and widely imitated by other manufacturers. The bike was retired at the end of the 1951 season, after Lorenzetti’s win in Senigallia.
The Galletto was one of the most popular Guzzi models of all time. Its early prototype (which was presented in Geneva) already included the technical and design solutions that set it apart: a horizontal cylinder, pushrod and rockers timing, natural air cooling, a 3-speed gearbox with a foot-shifter (and the option of a hand-shifter available on request), oscillating single-sided swingarm, sophisticated chassis architecture, a cantilevered rear wheel (which foreshadowed what was to come 30 years later on sport bikes) and 17” wheels, which were large enough to ensure stability and road holding and just small enough to easily lodge the spare tire. The standout innovations of the Galletto include the application of a 6V dynamo mechanical part above the engine, as well as an increase in engine capacity from 160cc on the first series to 175cc on the second series to almost 192cc on the third series.
350 GP Single-cylinder (1955)
The Moto Guzzi 350 GP was a legendary bike that earned a lot of sporting success for Moto Guzzi starting from its début in 1953 when its Mandello-based manufacturer decided to compete the bike in the 350 class in order to gain notoriety throughout Europe. Raced for the first time in the German Grand Prix on the Hockenheim circuit by Fergus Anderson, the bike won by an average speed of almost 164 km/h ahead of its competitors. After Hockenheim, the Guzzi 350 was victorious in the GP competitions of Holland, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Spain (Barcelona). In Monza’s GP, the top 3 winners rode on Guzzi’s 350 GP. One of the most efficient and profitable Guzzi bikes at the time, the 350 GP won the world title without interruption until 1957, when it retired from speed competitions. There are many reasons for this vehicle’s success, beginning with its light weight, stability, and perfect aerodynamic shape (designed in the Mot Guzzi wind tunnel). In addition, the 350 GP had an extremely low fuel consumption for a Grand Prix bike (about one litre every 20 km), which symbolized the deep convictions of its engineer, Cesare Carcano, on the performance advantages of combining simple design and light weight.
Stornello 125 Turismo (1960-1968)
Designed to maximize structural efficiency, the Stornello 125 Turismo quickly proved to be a winning product. The bike was designed as a utilitarian vehicle with a parallel-valve engine and four-speed gearbox (later known as the Turismo). Its design also made the bike achieve distinction as a brilliant, light motorcycle with a modern, youthful and unconventional character. Its success the Regolarità (a time trial) secured its popularity and lead to subsequent versions which also dominated in many important national and international competitions. The first model in 1960 sold for 179,000 Italian Lire and was followed in 1961 by the Stornello Sport and in 1965 by the Stornello America. The Stornello Regolarità (derived from official races) and its “sweetened” Scrambler version also included an inclined-valve engine. At the end of 1967, the Scrambler America and Stornello 160 appeared, both with an inclined-valve engine. At the end of 1969, the 125 and 160cc models were fitted with a 5-speed gearbox and a redesigned body, which was the first design-related feature separate from purely mechanical upgrades. The Stornello model was retired in 1975.
Trotter 50 Mark M (1966-1973)
In the spring of 1966, the Trotter was introduced as an affordable moped – priced at just 54,000 Italian Lire. It immediately gained success both domestically and in countries such as Belgium, Holland and Switzerland, where stiff-frame mopeds were legally road permissible. This small and fortunate Guzzi moped gained immediate popularity for the simplicity of its chassis architecture, along with its small engine that included an original-conception centrifugal automatic clutch which made it easy to ride, even for a novice. In the following years, the original Trotter was joined by other versions that included various new features: in 1968 the Super was designed and included a telescopic fork; the Special M included an oscillating fork on a single-sided swingarm; the Special V included an expandable belt and pulley with automatic transmission; the Mark M and Mark V featured oscillating swingarm rear suspension, a centrifugal clutch and, on request, automatic belt transmission.
V7 Special (1969-1972)
The 1969 V7 Special version was developed and perfected by Lino Tonti based on the prvious model, which was introduced in 1966-67. The 1969 model featured improvements in speed showed a great attention to technical detail: 757.6cc engine capacity, 45 HP at 6000 rpm, modified gear ratios to achieve better acceleration, instrumentation enriched by a reverse-counter, and a larger fuel tank. Considering that the V7 is still one of the longest-lasting and successful models of the Moto Guzzi range, the iconic 90° V-twin, air-cooled engine conceived by the ingenious designer, Giulio Cesare Carcano, has withstood the test of time. Since the late 1970s, the V7 has proved to be a competitive bike by providing riders with the thrill of speed and securing victory. In June and October of 1969, the fairing-clad prototype of the V7 Special, powered by the new 757cc engine, set numerous world records in the 750 and 1000cc classes on the high speed ring of the Monza track, including the achieving a record for distance racing: 100 km completed at the average speed of 218.426 km/h and 1000 km completed at the average speed of 205.932 km/h.
V 1000 I-Convert Police (1975-1984)
When the V1000 I-Convert (designed by Lino Tonti) arrived on the market in the mid-1970s, the industry press and many riders were pleasantly surprised by the technical levels that Moto Guzzi had reached. It was the first time that the Mandello-based manufacturer had achieved such a high engine capacity, and the bike was equipped with the most features any Gran Turismo enthusiast could want: two-speed automatic transmission, integral braking, top-quality accessories and complete features for long-distance trips. The V 1000 I-Convert (the model with a hydraulic converter) was chosen by the California police, and a special model was developed specifically for corporate use. The model was appropriately equipped for use by other Police departments in other American states, Europen countries, and other continents.
V35 Imola (1979-1984)
With the goal of offering competitive riders and speed enthusiasts an attractive bike that could push them towards more adrenaline-charged extremes, the V35 Imola was introduced in 1979 and remained in the Guzzi catalogue until 1989. The model took technical inspiration from the V35 but upgraded features: power increased to 36 HP at 8200 rpm to reach a top speed of 160 km/h. The Imola also had a decidedly competition-oriented set-up: it was impossible not to notice the raised exhaust, fuel tank and newly-designed seat, as well as the top fairing that moved with the steering. Equipped with a two-valve-per-cylinder engine and a top fairing on top of the fork, the V35 Imola was particularly popular for its handling, precision going into turns, powerful braking system and stability on straight paths. This model was followed by a second version in 1983, the V35 Imola II, which further improved on the engine, the chassis architecture and the body design, ultimately allowing it to reach 170 km/h and bringing this vehicle close to other models featuring larger engine capacity.
V65 NTX (1986)
Beginning in 1986, The V65 NTX replaced the previous V65 TT model and adopted the same body as the contemporary V35 NTX, which drew inspiration from the Paris-Dakar racing world, particularly for the presence of the large “African” style fuel tank. This type of design ascended into the spotlight from the great desert races. Compared to the previous model, the frame was higher off the ground and it had a two-in-one exhaust and a new body, which was more suited for travelling than racing. Some of the major technical and aesthetic characteristics included achieving a top speed of 170 km/h, a weight of 170 kg, a body colour scheme in white and blue with red stripes, an engine assembly painted black, lower guards, as well as spoked wheels with gold coloured anodised aluminium rims. In was retired in 1993 and was replaced by the updated 650 NTX P.B. version.
V7 Record (1969)
In 1969, while conducting research the future V7 model, the Moto Guzzi experience department – headed by Lino Tonti and Umberto Todero – created a sports bike prototype which demonstrated exceptional features and achieved the rare, on-off V7 Record. The prototype, equipped with a full fairing, was presented to the press at the Monza National Racetrack that same year. In the two test sessions held, a team of exceptional test riders – Guido Mandracci, Angelo Tenconi, Silvano Bertarelli, Roberto Patrignani, Remo Venturi, Vittorio Brambilla and Alberto Pagani – rode the new motorcycle and broke 19 world speed records. In fact, in June and October of 1969, the fairing-clad prototype of the V7 Special (powered by the new 757cc engine) set numerous world records in the 750cc and 1000cc classes on the high speed ring of the Monza track, including achieving the distance record of 100 km at the average speed of 218.426 km/h and achieving 1000 km at the average speed of 205.932 km/h.
Falcone Turismo 500 (1949-1954)
As one of Guzzi’s legendary creations, the Falcone 500 (in its first version from 1950) immediately appeared destined to become a legend: fast and, above all, robust. The Falcone became a favourite not only among lovers of classic bikes, but particularly among lovers of fast, long-range touring bikes. The Falcone 500 also became a leader (with the appropriate modifications) in long-distance races that were making a comeback in the early 1950s. And it was precisely to emphasise the touring capabilities of this vehicle that in November of 1953, the Falcone Turismo was created and equipped with the mudguards, sliding gear gearbox, timing, steel wheels, handlebar, chassis setup, leg guards and performance of the Astore (1949-1953) and included the distinct addition of a red and black painted fuel tank.
V50 Custom (1982-86)
The Moto Guzzi V50 is the most balanced of the “small series,” twin cylinder models and ran from the late 1970s to the middle of the following decade. It became the patriarch model of the Guzzi family because its design gave rise to larger smaller and larger engine capacity versions. Having a widespread presence on Italian roads, the Moto Guzzi V50 earned a reputation as a sturdy and economic motorcycle, easy to ride and maintain. It was a versatile vehicle for both shorter city trips, as well as for touring over long distances. Deriving its form and function from the V35, the Moto Guzzi V50 followed a new uniform production method in order to streamline and economise production. Models had a brand-new paint job, accompanied by new graphics on the tank and side panels. From its début in 1977, the range of models and versions expanded: the 1979 V50 II with Nikasil cylinder liners from the Germany company Mahle, the 1981 V50 III with Nigusil cylinder liners, the Custom in late 1981, and the prototype of the V50 TS or Tuttoterreno in 1981 for on and off road use, and the V50 Monza, a sports version presented at the 1980 Bologna Motorshow.
Quota 1000 Gara (1998)
Manufactured from 1992-2001, the Moto Guzzi Quota is a large enduro equipped with an outstanding frame and engine (designed in the famous V-twin configuration), which has an engine displacement of 1000 cm³. Featuring unexpected agility, this bike differed from other Guzzi models of the period: despite having the same engine, the Quota had a slightly tamer power output to simplify off-road use. The 1988 version of the Quota stood out for its increased engine capacity (1,100 cm³), a lower seat, a new-design unified headlight on its front end, Brembo brakes, and larger diameter fork stanchions. Furthermore, the rather extended fairing proved to be protective even at high speeds, allowing use both on the road and on the motorway.
4 Cilindri 500 (1953)
The design of the 4 Cilindri 500 engine was completed in 1948 and features four-cylinders aligned longitudinally. It remains a unique example of post-war motorcycling history. The arrangement of the engine, the water cooling, the timing positioned on the front side, the gearbox, the clutch assembly and the cardan final drive were all considered new solutions at the time. The beating heart was a sophisticated fuel injection system that used a small Roots compressor, which was a mechanism later replaced by conventional carburettors. The initial tests of the 4 Cilindri 500 at Monza showed that the 4-cylinder engine was faster than a twin-cylinder model by a few seconds per lap. The 4-cylinder engine demonstrated to be both stable and fast on straight road segments, but proved rather demanding on corners, perhaps because riders were not accustomed to the combined reactions of the engine and cardan final drive. The 4 Cilindri 500 was not particularly successful on the racetrack, gaining only two wins on the Hockenheim circuit in Germany. However, the model was particularly popular with the specialised press for “its happy combination of motorcycling and automotive technical aspects.” Its engineering proved to be useful in creating a different and truly competitive model: the V8 engine, which (despite having the bulk and dimensions similar to a four-cylinder engine) became one of Moto Guzzi’s most famous designs.
Normale 500 (1921-1924)
The Moto Guzzi Normale was the first mass-produced motorcycle built by Moto Guzzi and showcases the main characteristics found in many subsequent Guzzi models. It is a direct evolution of the prototype G.P. 500 made in 1919. Production of the Normale 500 began in 1921 when the first 17 units were assembled in the Mandello del Lario plant. Its competition début took place at the Milano-Napoli race in 1921 with two Moto Guzzis ridden by Mario Cavedini and Aldo Finzi who boldly tackled the demanding 877 km of the Gran Fondo race. The following month, Gino Finzi won the top prize during the gruelling Targa Florio race, giving Moto Guzzi its first absolute victory, which consecrated the reliability and notariety of the Normale. Able to reach 85 km/h, the Normale remained in production until 1924. Until that time, 2065 units each priced at 8500 Italian Lire were made.
Norge GT 500 (1928-1930)
The Norge GT 500 was the first unit to have an elastic frame that provided more comfort to the rider, without compromising stability. It is fitted with a 498.4cm³ carburreted single-cylinder, 4-stroke engine and a three-speed gearbox. Nicknamed Norge, it was the first Gran Turismo from Moto Guzzi and lead the race to North Cape in 1928 ridden by Giuseppe Guzzi (“Naco”, brother of Carlo Guzzi, founder of Moto Guzzi). Because of this, it is also called “the bike of the undertaking,” as the Norge allowed “Naco” to reach the Arctic Circle after travelling no fewer than six thousand kilometres in 28 days over impervious Scandinavian roads. The journey consumed 182 litres of fuel and required three tires. This adventure made such an impact on motorcycling history that the Arctic Circle is now considered one of the major bike touring destinations of modern times. In fact, to commemorate the heroic and representative undertaking of 1928, the same route was followed in 2006, but this time using the new Norge 1200. The unit is the current cornerstone of Guzzi, and it was designed to renew the “grande ruoutière” fame of its precursor. By doing so, it has established itself among an elite group of foreign maxi-tourers.
2VT 500 (1931-1934)
As a legendary, record-breaking pre-war bike, the 2VT 500 made its official début at the 1931 Milan Motorcycle Show. This model was predecessor to the Sport 14 – a 4-stroke bike from 1929 that represented a leap in quality in 1929 and whichand achieved modest success on in the market. However, it represented a “new and attractive line” with distinct overhead valves, a new fuel tank, and a seat defined by the industry press as “severely elegant”. It quickly gained popularity as a sturdy and extremely reliable bike suitable for daily use and touring, and it proved to be the ideal vehicle for work, trips, two-up riding and an attached sidecar. The 2VT 500 is tireless and loved by collectors. So much so that it is one of the most represented bikes during the numerous vintage rallies held on both the national and international stage. This special model (with a two-tone light and dark amaranth colour scheme) constituted another step forward in Moto Guzzi’s technical and stylistic evolution and – for enthusiasts everywhere – it still represents a great deal in both technical and historic terms.
** TIMELINES 100 YEARS OF MOTO GUZZI **
> TIMELINE MILESTONES <
1889: Carlo Guzzi is born
March 15, 1921: Birth of Moto Guzzi / Factory
1921: the logo of the new company is an eagle
1921: The first bike is the Normale 500 (or GP – Guzzi Parodi 500)
1925: 1,200 motorcycles are built in Mandello by over 300 workers
1928: Raid in Caponord by Giuseppe Guzzi (brother of Carlo Guzzi)
1929: Production reaches 2,500 units
1934: Moto Guzzi is the largest motorcycle manufacturer in Italy
1939: Moto Guzzi presents the Airone 250, a very successful motorcycle so as to reach 29,926 units built
1939/1945: Production is almost entirely aimed at the military market (the Elk, the Trialce and the Military Heron are created for the Royal Army)
1946: The company becomes a joint stock company (Moto Guzzi S.p.A.) and starts the production of its first small displacement two-stroke motorcycle – the Motoleggera 65, also known as “Guzzino”, of which 50,000 units will be built in three years. This light motorcycle was produced in the fifties under the name of Cardellino with a displacement finally increased to 73 cm³ –
1950: The Falcone 500 is launched, the last Moto Guzzi with a horizontal single-cylinder engine
1950: A wind tunnel is inaugurated in Mandello
1950: The Galletto, the first high-wheeled scooter in history, enters the market
1958: Moto Guzzi creates the first engine in the world with a chromed cylinder barrel, an innovation then applied to the Zigolo
1964: Carlo Guzzi dies
1965: Giulio Cesare Carcano designs the longitudinally mounted 90 ° V2 engine that will become a hallmark of Moto Guzzi to the present day
1967 – The management of Moto Guzzi passes to SEIMM (Società Esigianato Industrie Moto Meccaniche)
1967: The V7 equipped with the 90 ° V2 with a displacement of 703cc is produced
1971: The V7 Sport is presented, a sports bike destined to make history.
1971: The Special, California, Ambassador versions are prepared for the American market
1973: The De Tomaso Industries Inc. group, also owner of Benelli, acquires ownership of the company and Alejandro De Tomaso takes over the management.
1973: From the successes of the V7 Sport in racing, the 750 S and later the 750 S3 are born, equipped with three disc brakes
1974: The 850 version of the Moto Guzzi California is presented
1976: The most popular and successful model of those years, the Le Mans, debuts. Four versions of this bike were produced, designated I, II, III and 1000
1977: The Moto Guzzi Museum is born
1987: California III enters the market
1988: The new Guzzi-Benelli Moto company (G.B.M. S.p.A.) is born.
1992: The Daytona 1000 IE is released
1996 – G.B.M. S.p.A changes its company name again returning to the old name of Moto Guzzi S.p.A. Finprogetti acquires a substantial share and subsequently controls De Tomaso Industries Inc. transforming it into TRG – Trident Rowan Group Inc.
1996: The V10 Centauro designed by Marabese Design is presented to the public
1999 – A new 1000 cm³ liquid-cooled engine called VA10 is presented to the press in the Moto Guzzi factories, characterized by the classic V-shaped architecture but of 75 ° capable of delivering a power of over 140 hp
2000: Aprilia buys Moto Guzzi and launches an industrial rehabilitation program. The first product is the V11 Sport Rosso Mandello, a particular version of the V11
2001: Electronic injection is introduced in Guzzi engines
2004: Moto Guzzi becomes part of the Piaggio Group, European leader in motorcycles and scooters and one of the main world manufacturers in the sector.
2005: Breva 1100 debuts, a new Italian proposal in the “naked” segment
2005: The Griso 1100 is launched
2006: The 1200 Sport, a naked with great style, and the Norge 1200, which marks the return of Moto Guzzi to the GT market, are presented
2007: the Mandello house proves to be more vital than ever by debuting the Moto Guzzi Griso 8V, Bellagio and Stelvio
2007: The Moto Guzzi World Days (GMG) are ennobled by the presence of the actor Ewan Mc Gregor, who arrived in Mandello del Lario to collect his California
2009: The production is enriched with two new models (the V7 Classic and the V7 Cafè). At the EICMA show in Milan, Moto Guzzi gains the limelight by presenting three futuristic prototypes designed by Miguel Galluzzi and Pierre Terblanche: the V12LM, the V12 Strada and the V12 X, awarded with the Motorcycle Design Association Award for the best motorcycle design in the year
2010: Stelvio 1200 8V, Stelvio NTX and Norge GT 8V are presented, all built around the new 1200cc V-twin engine with eight valves. The V7 Racer is born, a real production special
2011: A monument to Carlo Guzzi is dedicated in Mandello del Lario
2011: Moto Guzzi turns 90 and a special California edition is produced to celebrate them
2011: the new range of premium models Stelvio and Norge 8V debuts
2012: New V7 range, equipped with a renewed high-efficiency engine capable of projecting the new Mandello average to the top of the Group’s best-selling bikes in a few months
2012: California 1400 Touring introduced in Europe
2013: California 1400 Custom introduced in Europe
2014: Moto Guzzi The Clan is born
2014: In addition to the new Eldorado and Audace models, the prototype of the futuristic MGX-21 debuts at EICMA
2014: Moto Guzzi V7 II makes its debut – second generation of the most popular Guzzi – in the Stone, Special and Racer versions
2016: An off-road version (scrambler) of the V7 II, the Stornello, is released
2016: The MGX-21 Flying Fortress debuts, a unique limited edition version of the bagger presented two years earlier
2017: The Moto Guzzi Experience project kicks off
2020: The historic vehicle restoration project begins at the Moto Guzzi Museum in view of the Eagle brand’s centenary
2021: Moto Guzzi’s 100th birthday
> TIMELINE HISTORICAL VEHICLES <
• (1921) Normal 500
• (1923) C 2V 500
• (1928) Norge GT 500
• (1931) 2VT 500
• (1933) 500 Twin cylinder
• (1939) Airone 250 Turismo
• (1946) Gambalunga 500
• (1947) Motoleggera “Guzzino”
• (1949) Gambalunghino 250
• (1952) Galletto 175
• (1953) Falcone Turismo 500
• (1953) 4 Cylinders 500
• (1955) 500 GP 8 Cylinders
• (1955) 350 GP Single cylinder
• (1960) Stornello 125 Turismo
• (1963) Dingo Turismo
• (1966) Trotter 50 Mark M
• (1969) V7 Special
• (1969) V7 Record
• (1971) V California 850
• (1972) V7 Sport
(1975) V 1000 I-Convert Police
• (1976) 850 Le Mans
• (1979) V35 Imola
• (1982) V50 Custom
• (1986) V65 NTX
• (1992) Daytona 1000. Dr. John
• (1999) Quota 1000 Race
TIMELINE CORSE <
1921: The victory in the Targa Florio inaugurates the Moto Guzzi sporting history
1924: Moto Guzzi wins the European Championship with the C4V: wins first, second and fifth place, making a strong statement on the sports scene
1935: Stanley Woods wins the Tourist Trophy on the Isle of Man in two different categories, respectively riding the 250 single cylinder and the 500 twin
1937: Omobono Tenni wins the Tourist Trophy in the 250 category
1949: Bruno Ruffo becomes world champion in the 250 category of the newborn World Championship. In the same class, Moto Guzzi wins the constructors’ title
1951: Bruno Ruffo wins his second world title in the 250 class. Moto Guzzi wins the constructors’ classification
1952: Enrico Lorenzetti (I) triumphs on Moto Guzzi 250, riders and brands world title arrive in Mandello
1953: Fergus Anderson wins the world rider title in the 350 class and Moto Guzzi wins among the manufacturers
1954: Fergus Anderson does an encore by winning the riders ‘title in the 350 category for the second consecutive year, while Moto Guzzi collects another constructors’ world title for the same class
1955: The formidable 8-cylinder 500 makes its debut
1955: Bill Lomas wins the Rider’s title in the 350 class, once again driving Moto Guzzi to success among the Manufacturers
1956: Bill Lomas triumphs for the second consecutive year in the 350 Drivers’ World Championship, and wins the Brands Title in the same category
1957: In agreement with other important Italian motorcycle manufacturers such as Gilera and Mondial, Moto Guzzi retires from the racing world after accumulating an exceptional palmarès which includes 3329 victories in official races, 14 world titles and 11 victories in the Tourist Trophy
2006: On the legendary Daytona circuit, Gianfranco Guareschi hits a historic “double” with two victories in the Battle of Twins driving the MGS 01
2007: Still Guareschi, riding the faithful Moto Guzzi MGS 01, repeats the success of the previous year by triumphing in the 2007 edition of the Battle of Twins.
TIMELINE CINEMA <
1947: The Honorable Angelina by Luigi Zampa (Moto Guzzi Egretta 250 from 1939)
1950: La strada theatrical show (Guzzi Ercole motorcycle modified with the insertion of an electric motor to replace the fuel one, prohibited in theatrical performances)
1951: Guards and Thieves by Mario Monicelli and Steno (Airone Guzzi)
1953: Roman Holiday by William Wyler, with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck (motocarro Guzzi)
1954: La strada by Federico Fellini, with Anthony Quinn and Giulietta Masina (Guzzi motorcycle); An American in Rome by Steno (Moto Guzzi Falcone 500)
1955: Don Camillo and the Honorable Peppone by Carmine Gallone, with Fernandel and Gino Cervi (Moto Guzzi 500 Sport 14 with sidecar, from 1929, driven by Peppone); The girls of San Frediano by Valerio Zurlini (Ercole motorcycle)
1957: The White Nights by Luchino Visconti (Airone Guzzi)
1959: I harassed by Steno with Totò and Aldo Fabrizi (Moto Guzzi 500 GTV from 1935 with Tittarelli sidecar)
1960: Luigi Zampa’s Vigile with Alberto Sordi and Vittorio De Sica (Moto Guzzi Falcone Sport)
1961: Il federal by Luciano Salce (Moto Guzzi 500 S sidecar from 1939); Accattone by Pier Paolo Pasolini (Ercole three-wheeler)
1963: Ermanno Olmi’s boyfriends (Airone Guzzi)
1968: The Prophet by Dino Risi with Vittorio Gassman (a Moto Guzzi 98 Zigolo Lusso and a Moto Guzzi V7)
1970: Investigation of a citizen above all suspicion by Elio Petri (Moto Guzzi 500 Falcone)
1972: Federico Fellini’s Rome (carousel of motorcyclists on Moto Guzzi)
1973: Without reason by Silvio Marizzano (Moto Guzzi 500 Falcone)
1978: I tigro, you tigers, he tigrates with Cochi and Renato Pozzetto (Ercole motorcar)
1980: Federico Fellini’s city of women with Marcello Mastroianni (Moto Guzzi 500 Superalce from 1955)
1992: The child thief by Gianni Amelio (Ercole motorcycle)
1999: A tea with Mussolini by Franco Zeffirelli (some Moto Guzzi bikes)
2001: Vajont: Renzo Martinelli’s dam of disgrace (an Ercole three-wheeler used in the displacement scenes, a Moto Guzzi 500 Falcone and several Galletto.
2003: Caterina goes to the city of Paolo Virzì (Sergio Castellitto’s bike is a Guzzi)