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Origins of the Moto Guzzi V-twin


docc
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 While it is widely known that the V700 motorcycle introduced by Moto Guzzi in the 1960s was designed by engineer Guilio Carcano (along with Umberto Todero), the myth that it was derived from "a tractor" (the 3x3 Mulo Meccanico, or mechanical mule) has been so often repeated to have become (wrongly) accepted as fact. Many thanks to Greg Field, Moto Guzzi Big Twins, MBI publishing, 1998, for his outstanding research on this.

 

Beyond that, though, many would say the concept of a shaft drive, longitudinal V-twin dates to the Indian Model 841(military) built in the early 1940s. The architecture is certainly there:

Indian-Model-841.jpg

 

 

Today, though, I came across this Lambretta 250GP from 1953 pictured in Motorcycle Classics magazine, Nov/Dec 2013, in an article about Vittorio Tessera's Museo Scooter & Lambretta in Rodano near Milan.  (museoscooter.it).

I've never seen this bike before, but the formula is fabulously familiar!

lambrGT3.jpg

lambrGT2.jpg

lamrGT1.jpg

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Phelon and Moore of Panther fame did a guzzi style V twin in the late twenties /early thirties :the Panthette

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:P%26M_Panthette_250_cc_1927.jpg

Very advanced but also had some flaws like leaf valve springs...sadly got killed by the depression.

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Ahh, Ratchet..

 

Ironic that in 2007 Ratchet couldn't get a search result and now we search and find him! :rolleyes:

 

Also ironic that he (rightfully) cast aspersions on Wikipedia as a final source, but was thrilled with Mick Walker. The irony is that it is very likely Walker's writing that perpetrated the whole tractor engine misconception.

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Field interviewed and quoted both Guilio Carcano and Umberto Todero who designed and executed the V700 engine for the original police specification trials. They both gave clear responses that the V7 had nothing to do with the Mulo V-twin which was designed primarily by Micucci.

 

Field also presents clear photographs of the engines for comparison. 

 

Of the origins of the misconception, he said only, "Neither the Fiat 500 nor the Mule engine was used as the basis for the V700 engine, however, and it's somewhat puzzling how the whole misconception got started, given the fact that the Mule engine was designed by Micucci, rather than by Carcano."  (emphasis added by today's poster)

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Try also this:

 

Ian Faloon

 

It seems as if these oldtimers gave a lot of interviews during their retired days :)

 

In my eyes asking such a question, or better giving such pointed answers, makes not very much sense. Could be that the Mule and the V7 had not very much in common, but normaly such projects are rather based on 'company domain' than on the 'genius' of one single person. So probably the V7 has its roots planted on more than just one project. My personal believe is that the main thread comes right out of this Lambretta 'racer'. Even, if not especially, in those days the engineers knew very well that such a concept would never give a competitive racer - so why did they do it? Maybe it was just a feasibility study for something completely different. Who knows.

 

Hubert

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I must admit that I tire of writers in the magazines and other press throwing out the tractor motor thing. It is a definite misconception; one that has been thrashed about thoroughly in the Moto Guzzi community. The more it is repeated, the more it seems to become the accepted truth.

 

I very much agree with Hubert about the cross pollination of projects, especially within a company. I suppose it irked me to come along believing the Guzzi V-twin really had been in a farm tractor first and grew somewhat indignant when I found this to be very far from the truth. Even the "military tractor" history does not support the relationship well. But, Guzzisti have known this for a rather long time.

 

I posted this thread for a few reasons:

 

1) To get some searchable posts in our archives that anyone coming to this website can get the 'tractor engine" myth set straight. V11LeMans.com has become a reliable world-wide resource about Moto Guzzi because of the knowledge and superb breadth of our membership.  :thumbsup:

2) To explore the point at which the "Tractor Myth" began, and perhaps the source.

3) It's winter, the Sport is cold and lonely, and there is only so much beer. :grin:

 

Certainly, the neat little Lambretta is very interesting. No telling whether it influenced Moto Guzzi in any way toward the V-twin, but it is a lovely thing. It would be fantastic to stand beside it in Rodano and consider its beauty first hand!

 

I have Falloon's 1999 book, The Moto Guzzi Story, and will sit down this evening to the link above. Thanks, Hubert!

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The given link mentions an interview with Ivar de Gier and Carcano in 2005, so don't search too long for this chapter ;)

 

Another truth quoted rather often is the story about the concrete mixer drive. You ever heard about that?

 

Hubert

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The given link mentions an interview with Ivar de Gier and Carcano in 2005, so don't search too long for this chapter ;)

 

Another truth quoted rather often is the story about the concrete mixer drive. You ever heard about that?

 

Hubert

OH, MY, NO! Let's not let that mixer business get further on . . . :o

 

I may have to order Falloon's "bible." (Although, much of the book, page by page, is on that link).

 

I did order a copy of Walker's first Guzzi title from 1986; curious to see if his conclusions changed after the 1990 first English translation of Mario Colombo's (1977) "Complete History."

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