In a far corner of the historic Moto Guzzi factory outside courtyard at Mandello del Lario, just past the wind tunnel which is slowly rusting away, there is a battered door to a large workshop which is always locked. The old sign on the door with its rusty rivets, weathered surface and faded, peeling letters says ‘Reparto Sperimentale’, which means ‘Experimental Department’ in English. Who knows what might have been invented there over the years? The V8? The Le Mans 1? Who has worked in there – Carcano, Carlo Guzzi, Lino Tonti, Dr John Wittner, Bruno Scola?

We have reproduced that wonderful sign having seen it and desired it every time we’ve been to Mandello because we wanted one for our workshop door – and now you can too. We’ve kept the patina of the original sign faded by time and encapsulated it into hard-wearing vinyl and PVC. Perfect for your shed, garage, workshop, man cave, living room, toilet door, wherever…

More details about size, materials, cost and how to buy are all to be found in our IMM store, email us at ciao@italianmotormagazine.com or click on the link here:


MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800 – intensely enjoyable


It’s been a very busy few weeks with a few bike launches, including that of the MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800 in the South of France. It was one of most tiring, intense day’s motorcycling I’ve done for a long time as we rode at what felt like a manic pace (as is the Italian way on these things) with the roads rising up higher and higher above Nice, and the corners getting tighter and tighter. We ended up negotiating tunnels hewn from solid rock, Alpine melt water dripping off onto the road surface, and trying to get shots done with a procession of motorhomes, cyclists and other tourists dashing past.

The MV is a fine motorcycle, and did exactly what its name suggests, touring very quickly, with the added fun of using a quickshifter that works well and a slipper clutch too – we’ll have a full review in the next Issue 8 of the mag.

#mvagusta #mvagustaturismoveloce

HAILWOOD V GUZZI V7 SPORT – Back in stock!!

NEW STOCK – THIS PUBLICATION IS BACK IN STOCK, AND IS NOW IN PORTRAIT ‘MAGAZINE’ SIZE – ONLY 6 IN STOCK SO BE QUICK. £25.00 Including shipping to wherever you are in the world.

More details, and you can buy safely online from the IMM shop here: http://www.italianmotor.bigcartel.com/product/1971-mike-hailwood-tests-the-guzzi-v7-sport

Issue 7 of ITALIAN MOTOR on its way..

Finally, after various delays and problems, we’re pleased and somewhat relieved to say that Issue 7 of the mag is on its way. Should be back from the printers tomorrow, then posted out to all our subscribers in the next few days.

Sorry the blog has been quiet of late, not for lack of material but just been busy trying to get the mag sorted and doing other work to make a living. We hope to soon start a new website and blog which will be much more contemporary and easier to use and interact with, for us, and for you.

Onwards and upwards!!

Another piece of Italian motorcycling history gone: Franco Farnè

It’s very sad to see that the multi-faceted and historic ‘personaggio’ at Ducati that was Franco Farnè has died aged 81. We published a fascinating interview with him in Issue 5 of the magazine, and his passion for motorcycling, and for Ducati, was in his every bone and sinew.
There’s a heartfelt piece by Livio Lodi, curator of the Ducati museum, on Farnè’s passing here.

Here are a few images from our article with Franco Farnè.

Franco Farnè interview - ITALIAN MOTOR magazine

Franco Farnè interview - ITALIAN MOTOR magazine

Franco Farnè interview - ITALIAN MOTOR magazine

Franco Farnè interview - ITALIAN MOTOR magazine

New in the IMM store – huge A1 size 40 ITALIAN MOTORCYCLES POSTER

We have reproduced a fantastic poster that we’ve had in our collection for years. It’s from Italy, the late 60s/early 70s, and shows 40 very eclectic different Italian motorcycles, from Guazzoni to Guzzi, Mondial to Morini, Gilera to Benelli – their spec, and price, all in Italian. Cool for your workshop wall, door, or frame and put inside your house or office. You won’t find this anywhere else. £12.00 + £4.00 shipping in a cardboard tube to anywhere in the world. More details and buy securely online here: http://italianmotor.bigcartel.com/product/poster-40-italian-motorcycles

Smashing Speedometer Stories

I recently decided I’d had enough of my Guzzi S3’s Veglia blue-faced speedometer reading at least 25 miles per hour over what it should at standstill, let alone at speed, and sent it to Andy Barraclough at Speedy Cables (www.speedycables.com) to get it overhauled properly – and what a fabulous job they did – see the pics below. 

Speedy Cables sent it back fully stripped, overhauled, recalibrated at 1600 revs/mile, mileage set to what it was when it went in, and has been treated to a new bezel, glass and speed cup. In fact, the beautiful restoration even looks a bit too smart compared to the scruffier rev counter next to it, but doubtless once the bike racks up some more miles it’ll start to weather a bit. I’d never bothered too much about the speed because I’ve always ridden it just getting a feel with the revs from the motor and the gear I was in, but after using a sat nav on the bike a month or so ago (report soon..), I realised it was actually useful to know what speed you’re going at, some of the time.

There’s a story behind the low mileage though….see further down the page

Back in 2004, I was living in Italy, in Tuscany. Bit of a long story, but I ended up lending my S3 to an American to take part in the Moto Giro that was taking place in Sicily that year -on the strict understanding that if he crashed it, he’d have to pay for it. Three days after he left for Sicily, I got a phone call. American drawl on the other end of the line. “I’m in a hospital in Palermo, with a broken collar bone, arm in plaster and severe bruising. Sorry. It was a hairpin, and I took it too quickly. Ended up going straight on and over the bank the other side of the bend. The bike flipped over a couple of times. It’s badly damaged, and the speedometer has just disappeared…”

The important thing is that he was okay, just about, and to be fair, he paid out for me to get the bike to how it was before his mishap. He discovered that Guzzis are not made for taking fast, tight hairpin bends. So, the S3’s original kmh speedometer that was on the bike when I bought it, and was showing approximately 45,000km was last seen just before flying off into a grassy meadow somewhere near Marsala, Sicily, Italy. It’s probably still there.

The end of the story is that I bought a replacement 160mph speedo in excellent condition and with just around 2,000 miles on the clock from Motorworks UK, who in those days sold Guzzi spares. It read fine for a few years, until it decided three years ago that its needle would sit at 25mph at standstill. Now that’s been sorted, finally.

Happy Christmas 2014 from ITALIAN MOTOR H.Q.

From a flu-ridden ITALIAN MOTOR H.Q, we’d like to wish all our subscribers, readers, advertisers, friends and people we’ve met on the road this year of you a very Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2015. Apologies for the lack of posts, we’ve been busy trying to get Issue 7 completed which should be out in the next few weeks – thanks again for your patience as always! Also, hopefully a new, much more modern blog done soon, so watch this space. Have fun!

NEC Bike Show 2014

I went up to the NEC Bike show yesterday with mate Dan to check out the bikes on show this year, and it was worth the trip. It felt slightly smaller than years past as in less exhibitors and floor space used, but it was much more interesting, with smaller manufacturers and companies out in force. Lots of specials too, some nice and some awful, by various builders and the manufacturers too that have tapped into the ‘hipster’ scene. The Piaggio, i.e. Guzzi, Aprilia, Vespa range was very strong – the build quality and innovation is impressive. Ducati too have a comprehensive range, though apart from the stunning Panigale, the Diavel and the Scrambler, I have problems telling some of the Ducati (Ducaudi?) models apart nowadays.

Anyway, here a few pics to give you a flavour, mostly Italian stuff and other bikes too. 

Moto Guzzi Eldorado 1400

Dan likes it. Low and comfy

New colour for the California 1400

Moto Guzzi Griso with new paint scheme

Aprilia Caponord 1200

Great looking bike. Looks capable too

Decent crash protection too

Aprilia Tuono V4 1100

Aprilia RSV4 RF – tiny and sculpted so you can really fold into it well, if you’re still that flexible..

Moto Guzzi V7 Alce – a one-off by Guzzi that harks back to the military Superalce of the 1930s/40s

Nice paint scheme on the new V7 II. Lower too.

Stelvio NTX

Piaggio MP3 – if you’ve never ridden one, try it – they are amazing..

Rear of Guzzi special built I think by Motostrada

I really liked this Vespa – the attention to detail is superb, as is the build quality. A real mix of retro and new. After all, Piaggio invented the Vespa so have the right to re-employ their own heritage

Guzzi special based on a Sport 1100i motor. Not my cup of tea style-wise but very nicely constructed

Love the master cylinder!

Photographed this seat spotted on a Harley chopper. Ouch!

This company Zircotec provide various coating methods for motorcycle silencers. Ideal for all those old black Italian silencers. It felt very durable too, and looked just right

The Tomos stand was fascinating, with mopeds with retro looks, and petrol or electric motors

Metisse café racer. Nice but a bit bulky

This Norton café racer, one of 50 built apparently last year, and all sold, was stunning. Not often you see a factory special that looks just right

The Ducati Scrambler.  The young Scrambler PR guy working on the stand had a very impressive ‘tache, and it slightly disarmed me. The Scrambler is small, for sure, and interesting, but I’ll be honest, doesn’t do much for me as it is. To be fair, there were signs saying that the bikes on show were pre-production models, but running my hand across them felt that they just seemed a bit cheap and plasticky. We’ll see, no doubt if priced right they will sell well to the youngsters. They’re also all about lifestyle and accessories, and the list of accessories is extensive. Clever marketing, no doubt.

Ducati Panigale – just stunning

Ducati Multistrada – many of the Ducatis seem to have this slightly beaky front end look now

Ducati Testastretta DVT motor

Herald Motorcycles – check them out. Chinese imports restyled over here, and sold at a decent price. Don’t know about reliability, but if I was in my 20s and wanted a 125 or 250, I’d love to jump on one of these

The only shot I took of the new Ariel, not sure why

BMW S 1000 RR Sport – beautiful

BMW by Kevils Speed Shop – nice and understated

Deconstructed Royal Enfiedl on the wall

Gulf Fizzy, cool..

Moto Guzzi Audace – we found the stretch to the bars was a bit too far for us to be comfortable