Publisher: Giorgio Nada Editore. ISBN: 88-7911-228-7.
Third revised and enlarged edition, December 2000.
80 Years of Moto Guzzi Motorcycles by Mario Colombo is the definitive work covering the history of Moto Guzzi and
contains many rare pictures and factory drawings. Published in both hardcover and paperback this 446-page book comprehensively covers all the engineers and designers involved with some of the world’s most innovative motorcycle designs.
include series production, the Grand Prix era, utility production, racing bikes and record breakers, goods vehicles, military and police motorcycles, military trucks, prototypes, and armoured vehicles. The book also has a 50-page colour portfolio showing most
of the models produced between 1921 and 1998.
As of November 2020, there are still some new copies available, but most are second hand. Prices range from £128 to £52 depending on condition.
Our copy was presented to us during a visit
to the Moto Guzzi factory on the 7th May 2004. The all-expenses paid visit to Mandello was the first prize in a competition we had entered at the main NEC motorcycle show in November 2003. The competition was being run on the Moto Guzzi stand and we filled
in a questionnaire never expecting to win. It was a very pleasant surprise when we did!
The prize included a personal tour of the museum and factory conducted by Umberto Todero, one of Moto Guzzi’s best known and most respected designers. He was
a lovely gentleman and spoke quite good English. We were extremely fortunate to spend a couple of hours with him and talk about his designs plus the company’s golden era in the 1950’s.
At the end of the tour we went down to the test department
where one of the recently introduced MGS01’s was located. The Guzzi team very kindly rolled out the machine for some pictures and an engine run-up. This track-only machine sounded glorious with the noise reverberating off the historic factory walls.
Umberto Todero started work at Moto Guzzi on 6th March 1939. He spent 66 years in the employment of Moto Guzzi, originally as a race mechanic on the World Championship winning single cylinder Grand Prix bikes of the fifties, and from there onwards, he worked
with the likes of Carlo Guzzi, Cesare Carcano, Enrico Cantoni, Lino Tonti, and Dr John Wittner and played a hand in the design of every Moto Guzzi from the legendary 500cc V8 racer of the fifties through to the transverse V-twin engines that have become the
marque's unmistakable signature.
As a race mechanic, Umberto turned the spanners for the Moto Guzzi Grand Prix machines ridden by Fergus Anderson, Enrico Lorenzetti, Bill Lomas, Dicky Dale, and Keith Campbell.
His influence continued through
the design of the V7 Guzzi, the first of the V-twins that are now synonymous with the marque and continued onwards through the Moto Guzzi Le Mans 850.
The V8 stunned the GP world of the fifties where single cylinder motorcycles with 52 horses were the
norm. To put the feat in perspective, by comparison, the Moto Guzzi V8 produced 78 bhp at a stunning 12,500 rpm and was timed at 178 mph in 1957.
In later years Umberto could be persuaded to start the V8 machine he had lovingly restored and ride it
around the grounds of the Mandello del Lario factory on the banks of Lake Como.
Umberto Todero passed away on the 1st March 2005 at the age of 82.