Moto Guzzi Museum Motorcycle Tour 1 (1920-1940) in Mandello del Lario, Lecco in Italy

Tigh Loughhead: NYDucati visits the Museo Moto Guzzi in Mandello Del Lario, Italy
Alex and I arrived exactly at the Moto Guzzi Museum, in the small town of Mandello del Lario, at exactly 3pm, which was perfect, as the museum only opens for an hour per day.

NYDucati visits the Museo Moto Guzzi in Mandello Del Lario, Italy
We weren't able to see the famous Moto Guzzi wind tunnel, but we did get a chance to visit the museum.
Tigh and Alex at the Moto Guzzi World Club on Lake Como

Moto Guzzi used to be the Ferrari of the motorcycle world, which was arguably replaced by Ducati, but I had no idea of the real racing heritage the Italian bike manufacturer really had.
Tigh and Alex at the Moto Guzzi Museum on BMW Motorcycles

Introduction 
Our journey traces the evolution of Guzzi motoring from the first 500cc horizontal single cylinder engine (that gave birth to the legend with its large external fly-wheel and unmistakable sound) up to and including the V engine of undying fame. We analyze the technological developments and innovations which lie at the heart of Guzzi  history. 

When. in 1920, Carlo Guzzi first contemplated the qualities which a motor bike should have, he focused primarily on the rider. He wanted a a reliable. robust, easy to repair and user friendly machine. Looking back over the guts of a century we can say. with no small amount of pride, that his dream has been realized. All this has been made possible by the men and women who go to make up Guzzi's history: people like Carlo Guzzi and Giorgio Parodi or the legendary riders of yesteryear such as Stanley Woods and Omobono Tenni, designers 3r like Giulio Cesare Carcano who unfurled their genius onto the drafting machines; the workers who sweated in the factories and, last but not least, all those individuals who still today do their utmost to help make this historical trademark grow. A Guzzi bike is a blend of people and values, but above all it is made for men and women like you who are reading these lines and have remained loyal to us to this day. 

To you our heartfelt thanks for the energy with which you continue to nurture the Guzzi legend. 

1920 -1930

The first Guzzi motorcycle had a four stroke single cylinder 500cc engine, with two or four valves arranged differently according to whether the bike was for racing or mass production purposes was the first jewel in the Guzzi crown.

The first engine produced and mounted on the G.p. (Guzzi-Parodi) was a single cylinder model with distribution via four overhead inclined valves in turn driven by an overhead camshaft actioned by the engine via a spindle and two pairs of cone shaped gears. Valve return was by means of needle springs and there was twin ignition. 
For mass production. this prototype was modified to guarantee greater reliability and lower production costs. Indeed. the propulsor mounted on the "NORMALE" (i.e. standard) version had distribution using two the nickel_ standard) steel valves. the side inlet valve mg a cylindrical spring and the overhead exhaust valve being driven by a shaft with rocker arrn and returned by means of a needle spring. 
This architecture characterised the early years of production initially only as regards the 500cc but from 1926 also the 250cc

1919 Model Guzzi Parodi

The first motorcycle built by Carlo Guzzi.  Built as a GP prototype. note the exposed, external flywheel. The company was actually known as Guzzi Parodi (or GP) at the time. 
How the legend began: The very first motorcycle built by Carlo Guzzi with the financial aid fo Giorgio Parodi in the smithy of Mandello blacksmith Giorgio Ripamonti.  The bike bore the the name of GP (Guzzi-Parodi).  Moto Guzzi was set up on the 15th of March, 1921 and work started on the first series produced motorcycle, the Normale, a substantially different machine to the GP prototype.  The basic layout of the Guzzi-Parodi, with its horizontal cylinder, external flywheel, gear primary drive, unit gearbox, nevertheless remained the basis of Guzzi motorcycle design for many years. The original four valve overhead cam design was to prove too expensive, however, and the Normale therefore features opposed valves. 

1921-24 Moto Guzzi Normale
NYDucati: 1921-24 Moto Guzzi Normale

NYDucati: 1921-24 Moto Guzzi Normale fender
1924-33 Moto Guzzi CV4
NYDucati: 1924-33 Moto Guzzi CV4

1924-27 Moto Guzzi Corsa CV4

NYDucati: 1924-27 Moto Guzzi Corsa CV4

The four valve overhead camshaft engine, too costly to manufacture for series production, makes this the first Guzzi motorcycle a Carlo Guzzi's original engine design. The fact that the C4V's was to prove a significant milestone in the history of motorcycling demonstrates the validity of the original idea. The C4V was the first successful Italian machine in the the 500 class competitions, and took Guido Mentasti to victory as the firstEuropean Champion in 1924.  The C4V's success in racing later convinced Guzzi to produce a limited series of 486 machines, various versions of which returned excellent results for privateer racers. 

1926 Moto Guzzi TT 250 Sperimentale

NYDucati:  1926 Moto Guzzi TT 250 Sperimentale

1928-30 Moto Guzzi GT Norge

NYDucati: 1928-30 Moto Guzzi GT Norge

NYDucati: 1928-30 Moto Guzzi GT Norge 2

1929-30 Moto Guzzi Sport 14

NYDucati: 1929-30 Moto Guzzi Sport 14

1926-30 Moto Guzzi TT250 

NYDucati: 1926-30 Moto Guzzi TT250

NYDucati: 1926-30 Moto Guzzi TT250

1929-34 Moto Guzzi 2VT 500

NYDucati: 1929-34 Moto Guzzi 2VT 500

1931 to 1940 

The range of engines expanded as GUZZI unravelled all of its engineering genius. The classical single cylinder was still in production and would be for some time to come. Now, however, it was accompanied by V-shaped valve distribution. A new four cylinder supercharged model was designed for races as was the ingenious two cylinder 500 cc. the protagonist of many victories. Three cylinder engines also mad their appearance both for mass production and racing, though the approaching war did not allow these to be exploited to the full.

1931-39 Moto Guzzi Sport 15

NYDucati: 1931-39 Moto Guzzi Sport 15


1938-40 Moto Guzzi Condor

NYDucati: 1938-40 Moto Guzzi Condor

1932-33 Moto Guzzi Tre Cilindri

NYDucati: 1932-33 Moto Guzzi Tre Cilindri

1939 Moto Guzzi Cicogna
NYDucati: 1939 Moto Guzzi Cicogna


NYDucati: 1939 Moto Guzzi Cicogna 2


1934-40 Moto Guzzi GTS 500
NYDucati: 1934-40 Moto Guzzi GTS 500

1938-52 Moto Guzzi Compressore
NYDucati: 1938-52 Moto Guzzi Compressore

NYDucati: 1938-52 Moto Guzzi Compressore Supercharger

Supercharged machines were permitted to race throughout the late thirties and forties. In order to compete and maintain its 5uprernacy in the 250 cc class, Moto Guzzi fitted a Cozette supercharger to at:, VT 2:,(3 The 250 "Compressore" immediately proved a valid heir to Guzzi racing tradition. Riding it at the beginning of the 1938 season, Mello Pagani set 7 new world records on the Monza circuit, including the 54 km flying start during which the 250 "Compressore" reached 180.81 km/h, The 250 "Compressore" continued to set new records in 1939, including the hour and the flying kilometre, with 180.502 km/h and 213.270 km/h respectively. These incredible figures earned the machine the Blue Arrow award of the Italian Motorcycle Federation. When the rules were changed to disqualify supercharging in the post-war period, the 250 "Compressore" continued to set records for Moto Guzzi in the 350 sidecar class. 

1937-57 Moto Guzzi Airone 250
NYDucati: 1937-57 Moto Guzzi Airone 250

1937-57 Moto Guzzi Airone 250

1940 Moto Guzzi Tre Cilindri
NYDucati:  1940 Moto Guzzi Tre Cilindri

NYDucati:  1940 Moto Guzzi Tre Cilindri 2

1940-43 Moto Guzzi Trialce
NYDucati: 1940-43 Moto Guzzi Trialce

NYDucati: 1940-43 Moto Guzzi Trialce 2

1939-49 Moto Guzzi Albatros
NYDucati: 1939-49 Moto Guzzi Albatros
The Albatros was one of the first machines to emerge from the fruitful design partnership of Carlo Guzzi and Giulio Cesare Carcano, who had only just joined Moto Guzzi. The Albatros was introduced in 1939 as the official Moto Guzzi machine in the gentlemen's category, reserved for production motorcycles. Later in the post-war period, at the end of the supercharging era , the Albatros became Guzzi's official 250 class machine. The Albatros was immediately much sought after by private racers, and was sold in large numbers at the price of 12,500 bras (19391. The machine was finished in red with a dark red tank. It remained in production until 1949, when it was replaced as Guzzi's racing machine by the Gambalunghino.  
NYDucati: 1939-49 Moto Guzzi Albatros 2


1934-47 Moto Guzzi GTW 500
NYDucati: 1934-47 Moto Guzzi GTW 500

NYDucati: 1934-47 Moto Guzzi GTW 500 2
1932-39 Moto Guzzi GT 17 Militare
NYDucati: 1932-39 Moto Guzzi GT 17 Militare

1939-57 Moto Guzzi Airione 250
NYDucati: 1939-57 Moto Guzzi Airione 250

1946-51 Moto Guzzi Dondolino

NYDucati:  1946-51 Moto Guzzi Dondolino
The Guzzi Dondolino was the direct descendent of the Condor. The Dondolino established itself in long distance races like the Milan-Taranto, and became the most popular half litre racing motorcycle with privateers in the immediate post-war period. The frame is that of the Condor, but the engine features a 35 mm carburettor, an improved valve train and valve gear, and a higher compression ratio. As a result of these improvements, the Dondolino's power unit delivered 33 HP at 5,500 r.p.m.. Produced in small series of 25-50 units at a time, directly by Guzzi's Racing Department, the Dondolino was manufactured until 1951. even after production motorcycle racing was abolished. These machines were later sought after as high speed tourers and distance racers. 

NYDucati:  1946-51 Moto Guzzi Dondolino 2

1940 Moto Guzzi Tre Cilindri

NYDucati: 1940 Moto Guzzi Tre Cilindri 2

 The Tre Cilindri was designed by Carlo Guzzi to compete with other supercharged machines in the 500 class. This motorcycle differed radically from Guzzi's mainstream designs not only for its power unit with chain driven double overhead cam, magneto ignition and crank mounted clutch, but also for its original backbone frame with light alloy engine mounting parts. The Tre Cilindri is one of Moto Guzzi's least well known motorcycles. Since supercharged machines were disqualified from racing shortly after the war, the Tre Cilindri was never fully developed. It nevertheless demonstrates the tremendous capacity to innovate that existed at Mandello del Lario in that period. 
NYDucati: 1940 Moto Guzzi Tre Cilindri

1942 Moto Guzzi GTE
NYDucati: 1944 Moto Guzzi GTE

1944 Moto Guzzi 4T
NYDucati: 1944 Moto Guzzi 4T

Moto Guzzi proudly displayed a 250cc Compressore engine, a 500cc Bicilindrico engine which looked a lot like a vertical, Ducati-like "L Twin", a 250cc Gerolamo engine, and a 350cc engine. 


© 2015 Tigh Loughhead

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