- first V7 Sport ever to be imported into the UK


I got a brief mail a couple of months ago from Andy Allinson in the UK about his V7 Sport, and he's now been kind enough to supply more photos and a fascinating story to go along with them. What's so unique about this bike - apart from the fact it is number 60 of 100 Telaio Rosso V7 Sports - is that it was the first V7 Sport to be imported into the UK.......and also features in many Guzzi books being seen featured in black and white photos taken on roadtests. here's the bike's story in Andy's own words and pictures;

I've been a bike fan since I was a teenager (in the 70's) and I have a soft spot for Italian bikes, and enjoy the classic bikes from the 60's and 70's in particular. I own a totally restored 1976 850T3, which has turned out to be a great practical 'classic' for regular use. These bikes are very under rated, they offer great comfort, good lights lights, indicators, brakes, handling and most of the time enough pace. If I feel the need for speed I can always jump on my Aprilia RSV, but this isn't often.


I first became interested in Guzzis when I acquired one as part payment on a loan (long story). This was a late Mk 5 Le Mans 1000, which had been in store for over a year while the owner was abroad. I had a little work to do to get things going, then got the bike taxed and tested, with the intention of selling it to help fund a classic Triumph Bonneville which I did eventually buy. But, buy this time the seeds had been sown, and my interest in the Moto Guzzi marque had started to grow.

I kept an eye on bike ads in the press, looking for a Mk1 Le Mans or S3 etc as I liked the classic look of these early 70's bikes. In February 1997 I spotted an ad for a V7 sport in Classic Bike. I went to have a look. The bike looked a little tired, but was complete, it started easily and seemed to run okay. I discussed price with the owner, who claimed that it wasnt 'just' a V7 Sport, and produced a box full of documents relating to the bikes history. I knew that V7 sports were a little hard to find, but at this time knew nothing of the Telaio Rosso. I declared my interest, but went home to do some research, and give the rather stiff asking price some consideration. I bought the bike the following weekend, and trailored it back to Wiltshire from Kent.


Over a period of three or four weeks I fettled the bike, sorting out the timing and carbs, and setting up the brakes. Then put it back on the road. Once accustomed to the Guzzi gear change, slow and deliberate, right hand side, upside down, things began to look fine, though accidental application of the (left side) rear brake can take the wind from your sails, this is some rear brake!Compared to my 750 Bonnie (1977), the Guzzi was a revelation, superior handling from about 60 mph onward, almost no vibration worth a mention, first time starting on the button and a smooth reliable tickover. All this plus more top end speed that can be used (90 mph +) without things falling off, what must this bike have been like when new!

BACK DOWN TO EARTH (with a bump!)

After a year or two of occasional use, I began to suspect all was not well in the go department. The engine was running okay, but oil changes were showing up a tell tale metallic residue in the sump. Performance was difficult to assess, as I had nothing to compare the bike with except the Bonnie (a 750cc Silver Jubillee with only 3000 miles on the clock) which did seem a tad more crisp, though the V7s was still sweet runing, and would get up and go when given a little extra throttle. Anyway I had to sort out a leak from the flywheel oil seal, so I dropped the complete engine and gearbox and decided to take a look at the innards. To my surprise the engine was completely worn out!
Every bearing surface was shot. Mains, big ends, crank, camshaft, followers, rocker spindles, cylinders etc etc.

The good news is that the engine is original, sand cast cases, polished crank and rods etc, as is the gearbox which apparently has a unique set of ratios. Three years later the engine is now back in the bike! With a new clutch, and MOT and is all set to be run in. The reason for this expensive amount of wear (damage) isnÕt clear, the bike did have a hard life in its first years, it had been a show bike and demonstrator for almost two years, and still carries the scars with damage to cylinder head fins (dropped off the stand by a road tester back in 1972). Another reason may be the lack of air filters in the rubber air box, a situation soon to change, though IÕm not sure this can be blamed for the deeply scored main and big end bearings. Perhaps fuel wash from badly set up carbs may be part of the story. The long period of time taken to restore the motor was partly due to a short supply of parts and lack of time, the completed engine spent almost a year on my garage floor! Needless to say the list of parts to be replaced or restored, replated, reground, was a bit of a blow.

Now that the engine is in better health, I am thinking of a bit more cosmetic restoration, the fuel tank decals are not original, indicating that the tank has been resprayed, some time in the distant past. I think these need to be replaced with the original black band with red pinstripe white logo and gold eagles.


- Hand built in 1971 in the Moto Guzzi research workshop, number 60 of 100.
These original 'Telaio Rosso' bikes have many minor differences to the production bikes, e.g., thin-wall chrome-moly frame, gear driven timing, polished engine internals, forged 'swan neck' clip-ons, different gear ratios, 'star burst' final drive.

- Imported by Rivetts of London in 1971-2 and used as show bike. Reviewed by Peter Howdle - MCN March 1972 one of many reviews around this period. Including - The Book of Superbike Road Tests published by Bruce-Main Smith 1972

- First registered in July 1973

- Purchased by second owner in 1988

- Registered as a Classic Racing Motocycle May 1989 Reviewed in Classic Bike - December 1989 against BMW R90s

- Purchased by myself in March 1997 Frame is number VK11171 (No. 60?).
Odometer reading: 33,100km The bike is very original except for crash bars, new Koni shocks, side stand and (later) tank decals - the side and main stands are chromed, perhaps as prepared for Rivetts.

Note: I have a letter from the factory to the original owner dated 26.9.73 relating to an inquiry regarding a manual. The factory draws attention tothe fact that te bike is one of only 100 pre-production units, and maintains that "a manual will be available soon". Also included is a resume of all models in production in 1973 and a list of all Moto Guzzis race victories.

Featured in the Guzzi 750 Owner's register here