Moto Guzzi - 3-cylinder Supercharged
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Moto Guzzi D2-492-87-20
Photo ou archives : archives FMD

Capacity : 500
Model : 3-cylinder Supercharged
Production : 1940 - 1940
Category : (R) Racing


500cc Supercharged Three-Cylinder -1940

Immensely Creative

One, two, three, four and even eight cylinders: Moto Guzzi tried everything, and this threecylinder bike was one of its best efforts. Yet the ban on superchargers after WWII brought its career - which was limited to a single race in 1940- to an end. The three-cylinder, which was a personal project of Carlo Guzzi, debuted in 1939, when most European factories were investigating supercharged multi-cylinders.

Short-lived superbike

With nothing in common with the touring three-cylinder model of 1932, whose cylinders were virtually horizontal, this competition bike was one of the most innovative of all time and -like his first design of 1921 –demonstrated the immense creativity of Carlo Guzzi.

Breaking the Mold

It broke with all his normal concepts: The unitconstructed engine was as compact as it was light, thanks to the intensive use of magnesium and other special light alloys. A massive casing covered the chain driving the twin overheadcamshafts, while the capacious cover for the clutch was mounted on the end of the crankshaft (an unusual configuration for Guzzi). The Cozette vane-type supercharger and the carburetor were mounted above the gearbox, which - another original feature - had five speeds. The cycle part was also unorthodox: The engine, which contributed to frame rigidity, was hung from a single upper beam, and the swing arm rear suspension was controlled by a horizontal spring beneath the engine.


Engine: 492cc (56x60mm) air-cooled threecylinder four-stroke inclined at 45 degrees; sleeved light-alloy cylinder block and head; dry-sump lubrication

Power Rating: 80 hp @ 8000 rpm

Valves: twin chain-driven overhead-camshafts

Fuel System: Cozette supercharger and Dell'Orto carburetor

Transmission: 5-speed; dry multi-plate clutch; chain final drive

Suspension: Brampton girder forks (front); swing arm with horizontal spring beneath engine and lateral friction dampers (rear)

Brakes: magnesium drum (front & rear)

Wheels: 21 inch (front & rear)

Weight: 386 lb

Maximum Speed: 110 mph


Just one incomplete example of this superbike survives - in the Moto Guzzi museum.


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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