My poor old friend – 21 Oct 2014.

This morning a full size articulated car transporter pulled up outside my house. All that was on it was my 750S3. It took some work to get it off the lorry as the front wheel doesn’t turn. I took a brake caliper off as it was on a broken disk but the wheel is too buckled and jammed on the mudguard to turn.

As if it wasn’t bust up enough, the salvage/transport company had broken the GIVI rack while they had it. They must have tried to lift the bike by the cast aluminium rack – plonkers! All the damage was to the front end till then.

The bike was left at the end of my (uphill) driveway so two friends were called upon to drag it to the workshop. The front wheel was strapped down to a trolley jack which was then pulled with a rope while the rest of us stopped it falling over. I say “us” but I didn’t do an awful lot. My arm is still in plaster. The cast comes off tomorrow, hopefully for good, then the real work begins getting the use and strength back in my right arm and wrist.

Here is the sad truth

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The front wheel has ended up against the right hand exhaust header pipe so the forks are bent back and to the side. The impact has also turned the forks so hard that they have over-ridden the lock stop on the frame by bending it back.

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The left hand front brake rotor has been smashed. The brake caliper has been tied up out of the way by me in an effort to free off the front wheel. There is no sign of the horn!

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This side of the wheel shows the big dent in the Borrani valanced rim. I would think it takes quite a bit of force to bend one of those. What you can’t see is how buckled the wheel is. The tyre has stayed up.

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Although the forks are bent, the yokes appear to have survived. I can’t tell for sure if the frame is straight without at least taking off the tank and I can’t do that at the moment. I need to examine the steering head. The ignition switch isn’t in the centre of the fuel tank cut out but I’m hoping that’s just because the tank is “on the huh” (that’s Suffolk for not straight).

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The fuel tank has gained this scratch which has pushed the metal in. No idea what did it. The round mark is where the end of the handlebar grip was pushed on the tank. I moved it.

Generally, provided the steering head is ok, the damage doesn’t look too severe and the bike is repairable. This really should be done if remotely possible as it’s a rare bike which is eminently usable. Having said that, at least the complete front end will need to be replaced.

I’ll take a look at the steering head and, if it’s good enough, I’ll probably sell the bike as a lump for someone else to rebuild. I’ve got some other bits that can go with it. I will only consider breaking it if the frame is so bad that it’s not repairable and that would be going some on a Tonti Guzzi. The vultures have already started circling but I will fight them off for now.

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Vigili del Fuoco? – 20 Oct 2014.

I know it’s dangerous but, I’ve been thinking.

Why would someone buy an ex-Carabinieri bike, strip it completely, then paint every part which was blue (including some very small parts like the stop light switch) bright fire-engine red? Could it be that it always was fire-engine red. Like this?

This is a photo of a firefighter on a V7. Other photos show firefighters in the same group on Guzzi Nuovo Falcones.

Carabinieri or Vigili del Fuoco both might be shown as “Motociclo proveniente dal minister dell’interno dispaccio” when sold on.

The 1971 parts book for the V7 shows how to order bits for bikes sold to Italian government agencies. There are specific part numbers for Grey – military(?), blue – Carabinieri and olive green – Polizia Stradale. Then there is a column of part numbers for “other public entities” asking you to specify the colour.

It’s just a suggestion but…

A new Guzzi friend for Rhino – 15 Oct 2014.

Well my arm is still in a cast but that hasn’t put me off old Moto Guzzis. With the S3 badly damaged in the accident and still to be returned by the insurance company I did what any old Guzzi nut would do and started surfing the net looking for more. I couldn’t do much else anyway! I have always fancied an old “loopframe” Guzzi and I came across one for sale. This is one of the photos from the advert.

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Correspondence and phone calls ensued, the deal was struck, and last week my friend, Bunny, took me to fetch it on his trailer.

The bike is a 1972 V7 700cc model. I’ve had the year confirmed by the machine dating officer of the Moto Guzzi Club GB. Although the civilian model was sold for only a few years prior to 750 and 850cc models being introduced, the original 700 continued to be supplied to the Italian military and police forces.

I think my V7 was released from government service in 1986 and was then painted the bright red it is now. I think it is ex Carabinieri as there is some evidence of blue paint in the odd place. The Italian documents just say “Motociclo proveniente dal Ministero dell’Interno dispaccio 1l.4/4824 del 30/04/86”. I guess (using google translate as my friend) this means it was disposed of by the ministry of the Interior on 30/04/86. My understanding is that the Carabinieri come under that ministry. If anyone can explain things better please get in touch.

The bike seems in generally good condition and the speedometer says it has done about 43,000 Km which is not much. It has gained a dual seat and pillion footrests at some stage. It would have had a single seat and a rack/mounting for a radio. I have already started making a list of things to look at but I don’t intend to do more than I need to, for now, to keep it well maintained and usable. So far the list is nothing much;

  • Check to see if it’s still on the original chromed cylinder bores. Likely it is.
  • Re-glue the edge of the seat cover to the frame.
  • Change the headlamp for UK roads. Currently part of the lense is masked off.
  • Add some MPH markings to the speedo.
  • Pin-striping is missing and the decals are wrong. I’m not sure if I care.
  • The oil pressure light doesn’t work.
  • It has plastic winkers and the chrome paint has come off. The rubber stalks are a bit perished.

This is the only photo I’ve been able to take since bringing the bike home.

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I can’t get far enough away in the garage and I can’t take it outside down the slope while I have an arm in plaster. The other arm’s not that good either! As I say, if any one can help me find out anything about the bikes’ history, speak up. I know it’s last Italian registration number (AP 66909) but it would likely have only gained this on leaving government service which may have been in another part of the country.