Moto Guzzi 500cc V8

With Phil Aynsley

The most surreal moment I’ve ever had photographing bikes came the day after I shot this legend of Grand Prix machinery – the Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8.

Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 - By Phil Aynsley
Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 – By Phil Aynsley

It is owned by a very keen Guzzi enthusiast in Mandello del Lario. I spent the entire afternoon with the bike and then, the following day, we visited another much, much larger Guzzi collection nearby.

Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 - By Phil Aynsley
Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 – By Phil Aynsley

After meeting the owner we started to tour the collection so I could get my head around which of the well over one hundred bikes I wanted to spend the next few days photographing.

Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 - By Phil Aynsley
Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 – By Phil Aynsley

Just about the first bikes we came to were another original V-8 and a modern replica, sitting side by side. I distinctly remember thinking “ I don’t need to shoot those, I shot one yesterday!”

Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 - By Phil Aynsley
Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 – By Phil Aynsley

The with the first bike racing the following year (a 350cc V-8 was later also built but not raced).

Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 - By Phil Aynsley
Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 – By Phil Aynsley

This particular 1957 example is one of the five built (plus a spare motor) and features the final engine specification which had many changes from the first unit including a multi-piece crankshaft, longer con-rods, camshaft profiles & larger carburettors amongst many other differences.

Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 - By Phil Aynsley
Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 – By Phil Aynsley

While not terribly successful on the track (only winning 3 races over 3 years) it has achieved legendary status.

Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 - By Phil Aynsley
Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 – By Phil Aynsley

The bike is in original condition apart from the cooling system now being pressurised.

Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 - By Phil Aynsley
Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 – By Phil Aynsley

The Moto Guzzi 500 V8 boasted 78hp at 12,500rpm, weighed in at 145kg and 230kph top speed.

Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 - By Phil Aynsley
Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 – By Phil Aynsley

Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 - By Phil Aynsley
Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 – By Phil Aynsley

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