LAPD Moto Guzzi 850 T3

1976 Moto Guzzi 850 T3 Indiana Police Department bikes

With Phil Aynsley


Moto Guzzi have a long history of producing Police machinery
Moto Guzzi have a long history of producing Police machinery for various markets

Many motorcycle companies have produced versions of their bikes for use by the military or police forces over the years. Moto Guzzi has had a long history of doing so with both its singles and later V-twins.

Originally the Moto Guzzi V7s were a popular choice in America for the police forces
Originally the Moto Guzzi V7s were a popular choice in America for the police forces

It wasn’t until the late ‘60s however that they began exporting to the USA in any numbers. The US Guzzi importers, Berliner Motor Corporation, supplied two 700cc V7s for evaluation in Los Angeles in early 1968.

These machines were specifically built for LAPD needs
These machines were specifically built for LAPD needs

This resulted in an LAPD officer being sent to Mandello to oversee the construction of ten 750cc V7 bikes for use in the Traffic Enforcement Division.

Specific requirements for the LAPD included lights and sirens, and a bullet proof screen among other features on the first V7s, with the 850 T3 also kitted out
Specific requirements for the LAPD included lights and sirens, and a bullet proof screen among other features on the first V7s, with the 850 T3 also kitted out

LAPD specific requirements included a spring-loaded side stand that could be operated from the single seat, footboards, left side gear change, a bullet-proof Lexan screen plus siren, radio and extra lights. The required time of 16 seconds for the standing quarter mile was easily bettered with a 14.3s time.

Moto Guzzi's performance was also plentiful compared to that required by the LAPD
Moto Guzzi’s performance was also plentiful compared to that required by the LAPD

With the 750 V7s proving themselves very popular with the LAPD, it wasn’t long before other police departments (most famously the California Highway Patrol) also ordered V7s.

The 850 T3 was later purchased by the Indiana Police Department in 1976
The 850 T3 was later purchased by the Indiana Police Department in 1976

The 850 T was introduced in 1974 and was followed by the T3 a year later, with the T standing for Turismo and 3 denoting the three disc brakes fitted. The factory now supplied a 850 T3 LAPD model to American police forces which had become a major market.

The 850 T3 also included a police radio
The 850 T3 also included a police radio

This is one of the two 850 T3 LAPD bikes purchased by the Richmond, Indiana Police Department in 1976 (interestingly two Hondas were also bought at the same time).

Plus of course the police siren/lights
Plus of course the police siren/lights

Apart from having the radio internals removed and having replica pannier decals, the bike is still in the condition it was retired in (the early ‘80s). The associated police helmet, patches, together with the factory LAPD supplement to the manual, have also been retained.

Other items such as the police helmet and the bike's manual are also still with the bike
Other items such as the police helmet and the bike’s manual are also still with the bike

The bike now resides in NSW.

The original manual
The original manual
The LAPD Moto Guzzi 850 T3
The LAPD Moto Guzzi 850 T3
LAPD Moto Guzzi 850 T3
LAPD Moto Guzzi 850 T3
LAPD Moto Guzzi 850 T3
LAPD Moto Guzzi 850 T3

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Trevor HedgeMerv OrfordJohn Shutz Recent comment authors
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John Shutz
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I remember the Guzzi Police Bike. When I attended the California Highway Patrol motor officer academy, my roommate was a CHP officer in attendance for some in-service motor training and he rode the Guzzi. I recall him saying positive things about the bike, but I also remember him saying the bike could pitch a little if you cranked the throttle. This apparently had something to do with the V twin torque curve. I’m sure it would have been a much better performer than the Harley I was assigned to when I got back from the academy. Back then the Harley… Read more »

Trevor Hedge
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Great insight John, thanks.

Merv Orford
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I rode over 25000km on a 1979 T3. ex police bike. Throughout Western Austrailia in the early 2000s. it was lent to me buy a goof friend for a few days “up the coast” he got it back almost 6 months later. It still had the panniers (which were handy ) and the screen (which kept the bugs out of my eyes) and the swithgear around the instruments. It also had a spring loaded screw on the underside of the throttle housing which was a very primitive cruise control. Couldnt have wished for a better bike to do such an… Read more »

Trevor Hedge
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Sounds like some great adventures were had Merv!