Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We wanted to wish all our readers, blog followers, friends, advertisers and anyone else we've met this year a very Happy Christmas and a very peaceful and prosperous New Year for 2014.

Apologies that Issue 6 is taking so long to appear - it is just about done and will be sent out in the New Year so thank you for your continued support and patience.

And most of all - have fun!!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

For sale - barn find condition '61 Moto Guzzi Lodola 235cc

The clearout continues. This is a 1961 Moto Guzzi Lodola 235cc, single cylinder four stroke, 4 speed.

I found it languishing under a tarpaulin in a lean-to (ok, maybe not a barn..) last year, and the owner said he'd bought it years before from an autojumble here in the UK. I have recommissioned it but left it in an unrestored condition - cleaned, but nothing polished. It wears the marks of time. You either like this or you don't. You can always tear it down and restore to shiny shiny, but what's the point? Use as is, with loads of character, and maintain with an oily rag.

The Lodola is now fully UK registered with an age related plate, V5 in my name, new MOT and a a historic vehicle tax disc, e.g free! It has a wonderful patina. It has been serviced, so oil changed, points ands ignition timing checked, carb cleaned and adjusted, cables lubed, electrics sorted, brand new battery, new ignition key and new bulbs. The wheels, which are steel rims, have been checked, spokes adjusted and tightened, with a new front tyre and tube on the front. The fuel tank was cleaned out and two brand new fuel taps bought from Italy at considerable expense fitted. The speedo is broken and needs either repair (there are various specialists) or replacing, seen them on Italian Ebay (and I can help with this). Drips a little oil but these bikes have an oil tank so like to be used, or fit an oil tap.

It rides nicely, sort of 'bounces' along in a '50s style, nice tractable motor, great exhaust note, and a wonderful patina - check the Moto Guzzi eagles on the tank!

Cold start video of the Lodola here: Guzzi Lodola start-up

Loads more high qulity photos here: Guzzi Lodola gallery of photos

All manuals available online, in Italian. I also have a dating letter from the Moto Guzzi club with which it was registered.

If you want to know more, or any more details, or would like to come and see it, please contact me either here on the blog by leaving a comment or emailing me here: EMAIL

Thursday, 28 November 2013

'71 Moto Guzzi Stornello 160 Scrambler finished - and for sale

I finally got around to finishing the Moto Guzzi Stornello special whose rebuild will be coming up in Issue 6 of the magazine, and it's for sale too.

This is single cylinder four stroke 1971 160cc Stornello had been brought in from Italy and was a seized and ugly ex village traffic warden bike. A year later, it's a fully road legal one-off Guzzi, and and ready to go - it's registered with a V5 in my name, with an age related plate (1971), has a new year's MOT certificate, and has historic vehicle tax (i.e. zero). It has an alloy black and white plate, not yet fitted when these pics were taken. This bike has been recommissioned and rebuilt as a special, based on the Guzzi Stornello Scrambler, which were also used with success in the ISDT. The decals were made especially for the bike, which I decided looked better in bare metal than police blue. It hasn't been restored and has patina dripping off it - if you want shiny and something to polish, please look elsewhere! The Stornello is a robust and simple bike, and fun to ride. I used one for riding round London some years back, and currently own another three Stornello Scramblers (I love 'em..)

I have a long list of parts replaced and work carried out (and all photographed and documented), but it's had: a top end rebuild, brand new piston and rings (took me a few months to find one in Italy), rebore, new seals, gaskets, new fuel taps, new knobbly tyres, new inner tubes, front brake shoes relined, forks checked and oil changed, all the rims checked, spokes loosened off, tightened, checked, new battery, wiring checked and repaired, new bulbs, new brake light switch, beautiful alloy one-off silencer made by Chris at Silverback Manufacturing, rare Stornello parts that I scoured for in Italy (exhaust pipe, Stornello competition headlamp guard, very rare and unrestored Stornello single police seat), and some one-off brackets and a bash plate. There are an indicated 39,000km (24,000 miles) on the clock which works, as does the rev counter, so that's an average 42 miles a year since it was built! I also have all the manuals on PDF you'd ever need, though they're in Italian.

Here's a YouTube video of it cold starting and running: Stornello 160 Scrambler

This bike and its rebuild will also be featured in the next issue of ITALIAN MOTOR magazine.

I've got loads of photos so if you want to know more, or any more details, please get in touch. No timewasters or tyrekickers please.

Looking for £2500. Email to: jabATitalianmotormagazine.com or contact me here at the blog.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

'72 Maserati Indy America 4.7 coming up in Issue 6. Want to buy it?

Thanks to our clever contacts at Silverstone Auctions, we've scored an amazing Italian feature car for the upcoming Issue 6.

It's a 1972 Maserati Indy America, with 4.7 litres of smooth 8 cylinder power under the bonnet, decveloping 290bhp - plenty for cruising the autostradas of continental Europe in an era when fuel was cheap and grand touring in style was still an exciting way to travel.

This particuluar car has a fascinating history, and has recently had a full restoration, revealing some interesting secrets about its past. Read the full article coming up in Issue 6.

If in the meantime you're feeling flush, you can make a bid on the Mazza, whose owner now fancies a change, and has put it up for auction at the NEC Classic Motor Show sale this weekend. You can find all details about the auction from Silverstone Auctions on their website, or call them on 01926 691141

Monday, 11 November 2013

EICMA - best of show - Ducati 1200S - you like?

So the new Ducati 1200S has been voted by 10,000 EICMA show participants as being the 'most beautiful bike of the show', closely followed by the MV Agusta 800 Turismo Veloce. Seems like EICMA this year has served up few surprises or novelties - Moto Guzzi in particular have only really changed the paint schemes of their current modles - but what do you think of the Monster 1200S?

Beautiful best of show, or a monster?

Friday, 1 November 2013

Officina Moto Italia

With the big bike fest that is EICMA about to begin, Italian manufacturers and PR companies have gone into overdrive with information overload about what's going on, who's doing what, and what you will find where. One press release stood out and that talks of the setting up of a loose conglomeration of independent motorcycle manufacturers that are based in Italy, and it calls itself 'Officina Moto Italiana'.
Small manufacturers are nothing new in Italy - if you look down a list of small workshops putting together motorcycles in the first two decades of the 20th century, you would find hundreds of names, now mostly now all gone.

So, best of luck to (left to right),  Sarti (CR&S Motorcycles), Giovanni Magni (Magni), Pattoni (Paton) and Chiaia (Zaeta), who probably very wisely see strength in numbers, so may their independence flourish!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Gilera legacy

One place I always try and get to when I am back in Tuscany, Italy, is the Piaggio Museum at Pontdedera. Much as I enjoy wandering through the beautifully presented and very varied types of Vespa, and Piaggio trains planes and automobiles, it's the collection of historic Gileras that I like to head to. Squashed in slightly unceremoniously on an upper walkway above the rest of the museum, this collection is what was left in the Arcore factory when it was sadly shut by Piaggio in 1993 after 84 years of continuous motorcycle production. Gilera had a truly glorious history and racing success to match that of Norton or Moto Guzzi, so it's a shame to see its name used pretty much on just scooters nowadays, though of course the late and wonderful Simoncelli won the 2008 250 World Championship on a Gilera.

Highlight in the collection is the first motorcycle built by Giuseppe Gilera in 1909, the single cylinder 500cc VT 317, but there are many more, including the historic four cylinder Rondine, which set the pattern for the eventual all victorious Japanese race bikes.

Anyway, if you find yourself in the area (equidistant between Pisa and Florence), it should be a definite choice on the itinerary. More information here: http://www.museopiaggio.it

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Making stuff

Sorry no post for ages, trying to get the magazine finished, earn a living and spending some time in the workshop to try and complete my Stornello Scrambler project I've been working on for a few months - an hour or two a week, that is..

Anyway, I've enjoyed making some bits and pieces that I needed but wouldn't be able to buy. Luckily there's a metal working company near where I keep the bikes so there's always plenty of scrap around. I needed brackets for the mudguard to raise it up in the forks, then a simple bash plate to stop the front of the motor getting wrecked by the rocks that the bike will probably never ride over - but it looks good and though in aluminium is pretty strong. It's like anything, the more time you spend on it, the better it'll be, but I'm happy for these bits to do the job and not be perfectly polished.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Shocking stuff

Hagons, a proud British company with fantastic origins, what with Alf Hagon being the scourge of speedway, grass and sprint tracks from the 1950s onwards, have sent us a set of their twin shocks to test out on the Guzzi 750. The Guzzi has worn Koni (now called Ikons I believe) shocks ever since I've owned the bike and over 20 years or more have always done what is required of them, whether it's just me, two-up, scraching, touring and crashing too, but I have always wondered what something different may feel like. A revelation maybe? Or a disappointment? I've heard from other Guzzi owners that know what they're talking about that Hagons are a vast improvement over the Konis.

The Hagons shocks feel quality, and they look very much like the S3's originals with black body and chrome spring. There's a 3 postition pre-load adjustment and 10 position damping too, probably too much for my purposes, but it'll be interesting to see what the possibilities are.

Anyway, I'll fit them, and we'll report back, and there'll be a review on our product page in the mag in Issue 6 soon. Hagons Shocks can be found here: http://www.hagon-shocks.co.uk

Friday, 20 September 2013

Cog on - MV 175 project bike

If you're ad the mag regularly, you might remember that we had ambitiously set out on a couple of project bikes, one of which being a 1957 MV Agusta 175 AB model, in unrestored (read bad, no terrible) condition. If you're wondering what happened to it - well, it is still in the boxes we stripped it down into in the last issue, and that's because it has taken almost a year of searching to find these fine original and correct but weird plasticky NOS cogs to replace the knackered ones that came out of the motor (see bottom pic).

Someone in the MV design department in 1957 thought it'd be fun to experiment with a type of fibrous new-fangled (at the time) plastic for these gears, instead of the metal most other manufacturers employed. Didn't they realise that 50 years later, some poor bastard (i.e. me) would be trying to make this bike relive its glory days?

Anyway, I've managed to source a new oil pump with gear attached, and the other gear which goes, er, somewhere... Hopefully it'll all make sense once I've replaced the bearings, got the crank fixed, etc. etc. Please don't hold your breath.

Friday, 13 September 2013

New in the ITALIAN MOTOR store: repro vintage Italian road tax discs and holders

More excellent stuff to spend your hard earned cash on. If you're as obsessed as we are about the details of Italian motorcycles, especially unrestored ones, you'll love these repro vintage road tax discs and holders that we've sourced from Italy. Any year (within limits) and a choice of colours, we age them to make them look as authentic as your Italian bike. The artwork for the tax discs is, apart from a couple of small details, faithful to the original artwork. Printed on heavyweight 167gm paper, the disc is then trimmed to its 65cm diameter. Every year has its own colour or design, and you'll receive the relevant one for the year. These are for exhibition purposes only!

The tax disc holders are brand new reproductions of what were commonly used in Italy in the '50s and '60s, and feature a removable clear plastic cover and on the rear, a fantastic embossed St Christopher emblem to keep you safe as you ride. Made in durable plastic, the holder measures 66mm in diameter and 90mm at its widest point to include the mounting tab. The mounting hole is for an M6 bolt but there's plenty of material to file out for an M8 bolt. Can't guarantee that they're water proof.

£14.99 + Airmail or 1st Class UK postage shipped to wherever you are in the world, choice of colours, state what year tax disc you want and for what category of motorcycle.

For a more detailed description and lots more details and to buy online, visit the ITALIAN MOTOR store here: repro vintage Italian tax discs

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Mike Hailwood v Moto Guzzi V7 Sport, Monza 1971 - photo book back in stock in our store

We've had a fresh delivery of this fascinating photo book from Italy (now they're open again after August) but we've only got FIVE copies to sell, so be quick.

Cost is £30.00 inc. Airmail shipping to wherever you are in the world (1st Class post in the UK).

More info here, and even more details or you can buy from our online store HERE

Monday, 9 September 2013

Guzzi visits Norton

After far, far too long of not being able to ride my Guzzi 750, I managed to finally sort it out on Saturday morning, having woken inexplicably bolt upright at 5.30am and not being able to get back to sleep. Inspired and energetic (for half an hour at least..), I found the cause of the bike's lack of charging, a broken alternator brush holder (see pic below). Swapped it with one from another bike, hey presto, sorted, though the battery was pretty flat. Anyway, after a brief carb balance (I'd rebuilt them earlier this year), and then breaking down outside my house again, managed to jump start it, then threw caution to the wind and thrashed it over to the Norton OC Oxford branch café racer meet that they do every year at a nice little old fashioned boozer in the middle of nowhere on the other side of Oxord. There was a very eclectic mix of Nortons and other bikes present, including a great rat BSA twin alloy tank thing, and a beautifully engineered and very shiny Norvin. There was also one of the new Nortons, built at Donington, lovely motor but the rest a bit contrived for my taste. Was hoping to see John W of Motonero, but he'd gone, not surprising as I'd earlier sent him a text saying the bike wasn't working. The nice chaps at the Norton O.C. also gave me a certificate for turning up. Luckily the Guzzi started again. Thrashed home, and bike ran beautifully apart from a weird little cough here and there. 

Then, Sunday, decided to go along to my local Guzzi club meet just for an excuse for another ride, got soaked on the journey there (but it's good to ride in the rain again, otherwise you forget how to ride in it, or would never go out). Worth it to see an old guy who lives 500 yards across the pub where the bikes meet ride his 1972 V7 Sport helmetless across the road to show us. He bought it direct from the factory in 1972 when he was working in Geneva, and has recently got it back on the road. It's heavily modified for him, with additions and changes here and there, but great to see someone own a bike so long and still enjoy it. And no, it's not a genuine 'TELIO Rosso', as the guy in the hat on the right kept calling it.

Anyway, brilliant to be back out on the bike, just as one of the best summers we've had for years is coming to its end..