Montag, 22. April 2024

The V7 History

The attempt of a quintessence of numerous legends

The history of the V7 begins in the fog of history sometime in the years before 1960. And history begins not - as could be expected from a successful motorcycle manufacturer - with a motorcycle, but with a strange military vehicle. This 3x3 vehicle held the predecessor of the V-2 engines, which until today provides for the propulsion of Moto Guzzi motorcycles. It is said that this engine actually had to become an engine for the Fiat Topolino and/or Cinquecento. However, because of discrepancies with Fiat, the engine did not pass the prototype stage - at least in a car.

In the beginning of the 1960's the Italian government was looking for a worthy successor for their ageing authority vehicles. All considerable Italian motorcycle manufacturers took part in the advertised bidding. Moto Guzzi began in 1963 with their first attempts and in 1964 tested the first prototypes. The basis was a crosswise inserted V-2 engine with 704cc. In December 1965 the V7 was introduced to the public on the Milan bike show, shortly afterwards a civilian version was presented. The reputation of the company, which had badly suffered after the retreat from racing, was to be regained by the V7.

However the prospective customers still had to wait some time. First, in February 1966, the liquidator knocked on Moto Guzzi's door. Since the competitor's vehicles still were not ready to go into production Moto Guzzi got the order and managed to reorganise themselves. Not only in Italy but all around the world authorities ordered the V7 for their police and military. Only in late 1966 after the annual motorcycle exhibition in Cologne the V7 could be tested by the German motorcycle magazine 'MOTORRAD'. In 1967 the first 13 bikes were imported to Germany by the Röth company in Hammelbach.

In 1969 the V7 Special with 750cc came out. For the American market it was received the name 'Ambassador'. In 1971 the 850 GT and the California were introduced in Milan. By an enlargement of the stroke of the 750cc engine by 8 mm the replacement arrived at 845cc. In addition those motorcycles received a 5-speed gearbox. The California was a V7 pepped up by numerous accessories: wind shield, luggage cases, footboards, broad seat, and crash bars in the back as American police motorcycles sported them. The 850 GT was sold as 'Eldorado' in the US. In the last year of construction the front double twin leading shoe brake was replaced by a 300 mm disc brake.

While the civilian variants benefited from the capacity increase, the V7 700 was still cultivated for authority purposes until 1976. In the last years however she received both the strengthened engine mount, and the timing chain of the 850 models in place of the spur gears.

With the introduction of the V7 Sport in 1971 a successor to the V7 models appeared. The engine was unchanged in its basic concept, however the generator - not to the least because of the smaller frame height - was mounted on the front crankshaft end. The frame was a complete reconstruction. With the 850 T model the innovations were also introduced in the touring motorcycles and finally replaced the V7 models once for all.

Thanks to Christian for the translation!

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