1976 Moto Guzzi Convert
For those of you that think early experiments with automatic-transmission-equipped bikes began and ended with the Hondamatic, this one might be news for you. A relative sales flop at the time, the Guzzi V1000 Convert was an innovative achievement that never really found an audience.
Introduced in 1975, the Convert’s name refers to the Sachs torque converter sandwiched between the transmission and engine, that allowed the rider to choose their level of involvement: the bike retained a functional clutch lever and featured Guzzi’s effective linked brakes that had the foot pedal operating the rear disc and one of the front calipers, so you could conceivably ride it around using the twist grip to go and the foot pedal to stop under everything but panic-braking situations.
Note, the Convert still has a conventional clutch, although it’s not strictly necessary for operation, and a two-speed transmission, with the torque converter’s external fluid hoses the only visible clue that this machine can be “shiftless” on demand. With fewer ratios to choose from, displacement was increased to approximately 1000cc’s to maintain parity with the traditional 5-speed bikes, and this newer engine was eventually adopted across the board by Guzzi.
The Convert had a revised dash that included a battery of safety feature warning lights, including a low-fuel light linked to the fuel gauge and a low-brake fluid level warning light. In addition, deploying the side stand triggered mechanical activation of the rear brake caliper to aid in parking on inclined surfaces.
The bike apparently rides much like you’d expect: like a giant, throbbing, v-twin scooter. The torque-converter masks some vibration and a portion of Guzzi’s shaft-drive reaction. It is slightly slower than the standard machine, but performance is very much in keeping with the bike’s mission.
From the original eBay listing, helpfully translated from the BRIGHT BLUE, ALL CAPS TEXT: 1976 Moto Guzzi V1000 Convert for sale
Italian classic made by Moto Guzzi, Convert 1000, Italian and Los Angeles Police Dept, used these at one time. Dual carburetor, no leaks, dings, garaged, and in very good shape, bidders familiar with these bikes, know what a great bike this is. Feel free to do some research on these bikes and you will like what you see. Automatic, just 1st and 2nd gear. Drives with great ease. Hoping it goes to a great owner, have another Moto Guzzi original solo, and pinion seat that I will also send. Three owner manuals, tires and battery in excellent shape. Battery just 6 months old, fresh plugs, oil, filter, etc. Buyer is responsible for all shipping arrangements, I will assist in making sure it is picked up and shipped properly.
This one’s a bit hard to place, price-wise. Five days left, asking price just under $6,000 with no bids seems pretty on-the-nose for a classic Guzzi cruiser if it’s in good shape. But I’m not sure if the rarity of the automatic transmission really adds value or subtracts it. Maybe it’s a wash? Guzzis are made to be ridden, and this might make touring a bit easier for a rider looking for a more mellow experience due to age or injury, or someone who really just can’t be bothered with shifting. Hopefully, it will find the right buyer, as the set up does give you the best of both worlds: shifting when you want it, scooter-like simplicity when you don’t.