Craig Rodsmith’s Turbocharged Moto Guzzi Ambassador
There are custom motorcycle builders, and then there’s Craig Rodsmith. The Australian native, who owns Rodsmith Motorcycles that resides on the back streets just north of Chicago, lives by a two-part customizing philosophy: it must be handmade and created with bare metal.
This takes moto uniqueness to a new level, and this sentiment is clearly evident with his turbo-charged ’69 Moto Guzzi Ambassador build.
With its superior shining, hand-crafted full-aluminum fairing, this bike was an immediate standout when it debuted at Revival’s The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show in Austin during MotoGP weekend. Visitors flocked to the Guzzi, the “dustbin racer” throttling up conversations throughout the three-day show.
Rodsmith’s creation began with a 1969 Ambassador loop frame, which was chopped three inches. Also, the rear section was entirely reshaped for a smoother flow.
In typical Rodsmith fashion, no machines were used to create the custom parts, such as aluminum fairing, tank, dash or seat; all parts were designed using an English wheel, hammer and dolly. Rodsmith also electro nickel plated most of the Ambassador's other components.
Powering the Guzzi is a 950cc turbocharged motor that began life as a base 850 Eldorado engine. The engine, built by Joe Walano at The Guzzi Doctor, breathes through a set of 36mm Dell’Ortos carbs and features a four-speed transmission.
Other attributes of the Rodsmith Ambassador build are 1960s forks, 18” Borrani wheels, and custom Super Shox suspension out back.
Rodsmith’s Moto Guzzi is currently on display at the Haas Motorcycle Gallery in Dallas, sitting among other custom motorcycles.
We liked this bike so much we personally commissioned him to build another Moto Guzzi in our Custom Builder Project; Rodsmith is currently working on a “V9 Retro Racer.” Through Rodsmith’s unique vision and passion for using only his hands for creation, we’re sure the V9 build will rival the Ambassador.
Images by Chris Corona of Revival Cycles