Moto Guzzi V 1000 I-Convert

With Phil Aynsley


When it launched in 1975 the Moto Guzzi V 1000 I-Convert became the first production motorcycle fitted with an automatic transmission. Honda’s CB750A followed in 1976.

PA Moto Guzzi V I Convert
Moto Guzzi V 1000 I-Convert – The first motorcycle to boast an automatic transmission

The impetus behind the idea came from De Tomaso who thought Guzzi’s future lay in more touring oriented models, rather than sporting ones. While the chassis and running gear was almost unchanged from the 850 T3 California the motor received considerable attention.

PA Moto Guzzi V I Convert
Moto Guzzi V 1000 I-Convert

It was one the first Guzzis to use the 949cc version of two-valve V-twin. A Sachs torque converter and dry multi-plate clutch replaced the normal 5 speed gearbox and single plate clutch.

PA Moto Guzzi V I Convert
Moto Guzzi V 1000 I-Convert

However a manual two-speed gearbox (requiring the use of the clutch) was used so as to enable low or an overdrive high range. Low was good for about 130km/h and while the manual advised against it, high could be selected under 65km/h.

PA Moto Guzzi V I Convert
Moto Guzzi V 1000 I-Convert

Normal practice was to engage either high or low gear before riding off, depending on whether town or open road use was planned. A wet weight of 272kg and maximum output of 71hp at 6500rpm limited the top speed to around 170km/h.

PA Moto Guzzi V I Convert
Moto Guzzi V 1000 I-Convert

Other modifications to accompany the transmission was an ATF pump, holding tank and cooler with associated plumbing.

PA Moto Guzzi V I Convert
Moto Guzzi V 1000 I-Convert

The Convert was updated in 1979 and was sold until 1984 but it was never a big seller. This US model is in unrestored, standard condition, apart from the mufflers.

PA Moto Guzzi V I Convert
Moto Guzzi V 1000 I-Convert