A great story always has a strong incipit. The “Moto Guzzi” public limited company (società anonima) was established in Genoa on 15 March 1921. The three founders were friends bound by ties of courage and esteem: shipowner Emanuele Vittorio Parodi, his son Giorgio and Carlo Guzzi, a former comrade in the Italian airforce, designed the spread-winged eagle. The emblem, which would come to be an epic symbol, was chosen in memory of their friend Giovanni Ravelli, a pilot like Parodi himself, who had died on 11 August 1919 during a test flight.
The birth of the Legend
The first Moto Guzzi creation immediately established an absolute benchmark: this was the Normale, with 8 Hp. But it was a project combining passion and technology that took the Eagle from the success of the Normale to the legend of the Guzzi G.T. in 1928: the bike was nicknamed the “Norge” after an unforgettable journey of 4,429 km to the Arctic Circle. Seventy-eight years later, in July 2006, 14 journalists would repeat the triumph of Carlo Guzzi’s brother Giuseppe, known as Naco, on the new Norge 1200. The company was also making a name for itself in motorcycle racing: its first triumph was in the Targa Florio race in 1921, which paved the way for a dazzling success story of 3,329 wins: by the time Moto Guzzi withdrew from racing in 1957, its accolades included 11 Tourist Trophies (notably Omobono Tenni’s 1937 victory) and 15 world speed titles.
A triumphant postwar period
After the tragedy of World War II, Moto Guzzi made history with the unforgettable Airone 250: developed in 1939, for more than 15 years this bike was the most popular mid-ranger in Italy. It provided an excellent foundation for new decades of Guzzi successes, led by models like the Falcone and the Guzzino 65, the best-selling Guzzi ever. Subsequently, the legendary brand was consolidated by the Galletto (1950), the Cardellino (1954) and the Lodola 175 (1956). In 1950 Moto Guzzi was the first motorcycle manufacturer to build a futuristic wind tunnel, in Mandello del Lario. The racing team was a brilliant group including engineers Umberto Todero and Enrico Cantoni, and a designer whose name would soon go down in history: Milan-born Giulio Cesare Carcano, creator of the Guzzi V8 (Otto Cilindri), a motorcycle capable of achieving 285 km/h at top speed.
The glorification of power
Another decisive step for Moto Guzzi came at the end of the 1960s, with the development of the 90° V-twin engine. A robust high-performer, the V-twin would come to be regarded as the symbol of the Mandello del Lario constructor. It was the splendid heart of bikes like the Guzzi V7, the V7 Special and another legend, the Guzzi V7 Sport, the first mass produced model to beat the 200 km/h threshold. The fabulous V-twin was also developed in smaller displacement volumes with the V35, V50 and V65.
Consolidating the Legend
An archetypal tourer, the California is the most famous Moto Guzzi in the world. Developed for the Los Angeles Police Department, who re-named it the Ambassador, it has been the flagship of the Moto Guzzi range for forty years. Seven generations, four engines, 750, 850, 1000 and 1100, electronic injection and integrated braking have built a myth celebrated and consolidated today by the futuristic California 1400. Meanwhile, the Moto Guzzi racing legacy was embraced and enhanced by models like the Le Mans 850, the Daytona and the Sport 1100. A unmistakeable taste and flavour that made a powerful comeback in the 1990s, with the new California series, Nevada, Centauro and V11 Sport.
The new Millennium
On 30 December 2004, Moto Guzzi became part of the Piaggio Group. And the Eagle soared to even greater heights. In racing, the MGS01 won the Battle of the Twins at Daytona for two years running. Innovation has been continuous: a rapid series of debuts began in 2006 with the Norge and the 1200 Sport, followed in 2007 by the Griso 1200 V8 and the Bellagio, a custom bike powered by a short-stroke 940 cc twin-cylinder engine, in 2008 by the Stelvio 1200. In 2009 three cutting-edge prototypes designed by Miguel Galluzzi and Pierre Terblanche won the Motorcycle Design Association award for best motorcycle design. Almost simultaneously, the Piaggio Group announced an investment program for the development of the product range and the Mandello del Lario production facility.
Ninety years of Future
In 2011 the Mandello Eagle celebrated its ninetieth anniversary. It continues to fly high and to progress, powered by its industrial solidity, its successful products (one example will suffice, the restyled V7 with a new single-cylinder engine), and the Guzzi World Days, when thousands of Guzzi devotees gather to celebrate the power of a high-profile brand. A brand capable of uniquely developing its epic tradition of courage and sporting endeavour with the most modern outlook on production technologies and state-of-the-art design.
Built with pride in Italy
The new California 1400 is a bike of firsts, starting from the 1400 engine, a record size for a V-twin motorcycle engine in Europe. The powerful 90° transverse V-twin, elastically mounted on a brand new chassis, delivers a torque of 120 Nm at just 2750 rpm. Everything on the California Touring and the California Custom contributes to combining the best of modern, cutting-edge technology with the classic style and elegance of the Moto Guzzi brand: multimap Ride by Wire accelerator, cruise control, MGCT traction control system and two-channel ABS. Hand built in the Mandello del Lario plant, where Moto Guzzi bikes have been turned out without interruption since 1921, the California 1400 models stand out for the attention to craftmanship with which each single component is assembled. A level of care that makes every Moto Guzzi California a unique piece, with the powe to match and accentuate the strong personality of a passionate and exclusive clientele.