1951 Moto Guzzi Albatros

Over in England for sale on eBay.uk is a Moto Guzzi single which has had a race filled history. So many different owners and riders have had their hand in riding and building this motorcycle, that you would have to have a history book for both Italian and British racing motorcycles to know all the names dropped in this listing.

From the seller

It started life as a pre-war “Albatros” model, originally ridden by Leon Martin.  Fergus Anderson bought the machine from Moto Guzzi on behalf of Wheeler in 1951.  It was continually developed by Wheeler to the latest specification, such as his famous “dustbin” and “dolphin” works pattern streamliner fairings.

Because of Wheelers relationship with with Guzzi, he was supplied with many special Factory parts from works riders Fergus Andersson and Enrico Lorenzetti.

What I was able to find out about pre war Albatros’ was that they were a 250cc single cylinder “lightweight” which started life developing 20hp at 7000rpm in 1938, giving it a top speed of 86mph. The forward facing cylinder offered by Moto Guzzi seems to have been an effective layout as they were able to take the Isle of Man Lightweight TT top step in 1937. They were able to repeat this with another Isle of Man TT victory in 1948, but by 1957 Moto Guzzi had withdrawn from international racing and privateers had to continue on.

From the seller

The rear alloy section of the frame with the swinging arm and sub frame  is the original 1958 Renolds unit constructed by Ken Sprayson. This frame section was bought from Wheeler and fitted by Arthur Lawn in 1964, and was originally used by Wheeler to win the 1958 Blandford National’s, with this engine fitted. So, the bike really has led a “double-life” with Arthur Wheeler…

So like most racing bikes, this “Albatros” has gone through continues development. The seller alludes to this in describing the restoration of the frame. It is also likely that the Earles type forks found themselves replacing a set of pre-war girders. When looking for information I found where this same bike was previously a no sale at and English Auction house. Like the eBay listing, there is a lot of the race history and victories listed on the auction house web page, but little on the bike itself.





This Moto Guzzi is a historically significant motorcycle. Does that preclude some people from attempting to own it? Maybe. If I were to own this motorcycle I would not be able to take it on a tour of Vintage events. But I would I enjoy looking at it, maybe even take it around the block, and defiantly look to replace the Dustbin fairing that it once wore.  BB

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