Guzzi goof?

Old Bike Australasia - - BLOW YOUR OWN -

As a now and again pur­chaser of Old Bike Aus­trala­sia, I de­cided is­sue 57 was a must-have, sim­ply on the ba­sis of the Moto Guzzi El­do­rado fea­ture and the 1400 El­do­rado test. I own an 850 El­do­rado my­self although it’s not quite as stun­ning as the beau­ti­ful bike in your in­ter­est­ing and in­for­ma­tive story. Un­for­tu­nately the story’s in­tro­duc­tion once again trot­ted out the myth that the orig­i­nal V7 703cc en­gine was based on the 20hp 754cc twin de­vel­oped for a mil­i­tary and civil­ian use three wheeler. In his book “Moto Guzzi Big Twins”, Greg Field ex­plains that Guzzi en­gi­neers Car­cano and Todero (who had been with Guzzi since the mid 1930s and had both been in­volved in the 500cc V8), started work on the mo­tor­cy­cle en­gine with a clean slate and although both had worked on 90 de­gree V tins in the past (Car­cano de­signed a 600cc en­gine that was to power the Fiat 500 car and Todero had helped de­velop the 754cc fan cooled en­gine for the three-wheeled “Mue”), none of th­ese en­gines was used as the ba­sis for the V7 703cc mo­tor­cy­cle power plant. Greg Field writes that all the V7 en­gine and the other two shared in com­mon was the 90 de­gree v an­gle. He quotes Todero as say­ing “com­par­ing the head de­sign and struc­ture, the dis­tri­bu­tion, dis­place­ment, lube and fuel sys­tems and en­gine crankcases is enough to demon­strate that the en­gines are to­tally dif­fer­ent and come from dif­fer­ent ideas.” He quotes Car­cano as say­ing, “The Mule en­gine has noth­ing in com­mon with the V7, it had a forced cool­ing sys­tem and its cylin­ders, heads and en­gine cas­ing etc dif­fered com­pletely”. My own ex­pe­ri­ence af­ter hav­ing re­stored a num­ber of 1970s Guzzis over the last 20 years (V7 Spe­cial, El­do­rado, 2 x 850T, 850T4 and Mk II Le Mans) is that what Car­cano and Todero cre­ated in the mid 1960s was a clas­sic piece of sim­ple rugged mo­tor­cy­cle de­sign that was easy to main­tain, gave long life and had good per­for­mance for the time. With the cylin­ders out in the breeze, there were no cool­ing prob­lems, with a shaft drive there was no chain to fuss with and with a 90 de­gree V an­gle per­fect pri­mary bal­ance was achieved with a sin­gle crankpin and no bal­ance shaft which largely elim­i­nated the fin­ger whiten­ing vi­bra­tion that still blighted many of Guzzi’s twin cylin­der con­tem­po­raries. The fact that to­day’s Guzzi still has the same ba­sic en­gine con­fig­u­ra­tion, with some vari­ants even re­tain­ing pushrods and air cool­ing, says much about the in­tegrity of the orig­i­nal de­sign. Keith McKech­nie War­nam­bool Vic

In­spi­ra­tion for Car­cano or Todero? The Lam­bretta 250cc v-twin shaft drive racer from 1952.

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