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.