1967 Moto Guzzi Falcone 500cc Police Special for Sale
Classic single-cylinder Moto Guzzis and the heritage they embody have largely been forgotten in the wake of their bigger, twin-cylinder descendents. And even those charismatic machines are often mistaken for some sort of unknown Harley-Davidson model: the little eagle on the tank certainly adds to the confusion.
But that eagle logo is in honor of Giovanni Ravelli, one of the trio of young, Italian aviators who planned to start Moto Guzzi while serving together during World War I. Ravelli was killed before the end of the war, but his surviving comrades founded the motorcycle company as planned and that company has been continuously producing machines ever since.
Bikes powered by the “horizontal single” found in this Falcone were successful road and race bikes. In addition to a casually reclining engine that accurately suggested the engine’s lazy power delivery, the machine was visually distinguished by its exposed flywheel: the gearbox arrangement did not allow for the flywheel to have sufficient mass and remain enclosed in the engine cases, so Guzzi hung the flywheel outside the cases, and the arrangement ended up looking like a giant deli meat-slicer.
The bike’s low-slung, horizontal engine meant that the center of gravity was very low and the machine had relatively small frontal area. This decreased drag and allowed the 500cc motor’s 23hp to push the bike to velocities normally unlikely for such a simple machine.
By the late 1950’s demand for the bike had tapered off significantly, so Guzzi discontinued sales of the bike to private owners, although a resurgence in interest caused them to reconsider just a few years later. This would have been one of the very last of the original Falcone’s built, as production finally ceased in 1967.
Find the original eBay listing here: 1967 Moto Guzzi Falcone 500cc Police Special
From the seller:
This bike was special made for Bob Blair who was the long time West Coast distributor for Moto Guzzi & Ducati. In 1966 Bob Blair and Michael Berliner who was the importer and East Coast distributor took a trip to the Moto Guzzi factory in Mandello Italy to see the new V700 twins on the assembly line. While at the factory Bob saw the last batch of exposed flywheel Falcone Police/Army bikes being made and wanted one. These bike normally came with Green paint for the Army and Blue with White forks for the Police. He asked that they build a special one for him with all red paint work. This is the bike Bob had made special for him and now its available for sale to a discriminating collector.The bike was shipped to Bob and was put on display in his showroom at ZDS Motors in Glendale California. The bike was on display for a year or so but never started or serviced until sold to the legendary collector O.H. Hood in Tulaire California. O.H. is a avid bike collector and had a very interesting way of adding to his collection. He would buy a new bike and ride it for exactly 600 miles and then put it in his collection and buy another bike. He had a great collection of bikes and they were all like new with each one only having 600 miles.I purchased this Falcone Police bike from O.H. in 2002 with only 600m (1000km) and have enjoyed riding it ever since. The only change I made was installing the better sounding fish tail muffler and the original Tourismo muffler goes with the bike. The bike runs and rides great with new tires. This bike has all original paint & pin striping, chrome, plating and a super rare working Police siren.
The seller has even helpfully included a short video of the bike being started:
So there you go: a very cool, one-of-a-kind vintage bike with unusual history. The price is listed as $18,500.00 which seems pretty reasonable, given the bike’s rarity and condition.
Update 10.25.2012: Sold for $15,500. -dc