Moto Guzzi - V8
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Moto Guzzi D2-492-02-13
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 500
Model : V8
Production : 1955 - 1957
Category : (R) Racing

Moto Guzzi

500 cc V 8 Grand-Prix – 1955

THE Masterpiece


With such achievements as a four-valve single in the Twenties, a supercharged four cylinder in the Thirties, and pioneering work in aerodynamics, there's no question that Moto Guzzi has been one of the world's most creative manufacturers. But perhaps this V8 racer was its clear masterpiece.


Fast and Powerful

Designed by the engineer Giulio Carcano (also famous for his racing motorboats) at the end of 1954, the Guzzi V8 was the fastest and most powerful of the postwar bikes. After two years' development it was at last ready to do battle with the opposition - which was fiercely competitive at the end of the Fifties - when Guzzi, Gilera and Mondial decided, at the end of 1957, to withdraw from the world championships.


Mechanical Complexity

The choice of a four-stroke V8 power unit was without parallel in motorcycle racing - it involved a degree of mechanical complexity that no other manufacturer had dared confront. Apart from the 1938 Galbusera two-stroke V8, the monstrous (and unique) Scripps-Booth "Bi-Autogo" (now preserved in the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan), and the aeroengined V8 recordbreaking bike built by pioneer American aircraft manufacturer Glenn Curtiss around 1910, it's difficult to think of another V8 motorcycle. The 90-degree Guzzi V8, with its transverse two-plane crankshaft and tiny, short-stroke pistons, was in a class of its own.



Engine: 500cc (44x41mm) liquid-cooled fourstroke V8 with dry-sump lubrication

Power output 68 hp @ 12,000 rpm

Valves: gear-driven twin overhead camshafts

Fuel system: eight 20mm Dell'Orto carburetors

Transmission: 4-, 5- or 6-speed gearbox; chain final drive

Suspension: (front) leading link; (rear) trailing fork

Brakes: two-leading-shoe drum

Wheels: wire (front) 2.75x19 in; (rear) 3.00x20 in

Weight: 330 lb.

Maximum speed: 170 mph


Hard times brought Guzzi's V8 to an end at the end of 1957. Its styling was typical ofthe period— aerodynamic but very vulnerable to side winds.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

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François-Marie Dumas

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