Tagged: prewar

1939 Moto Guzzi Egretta for Sale

1939 Moto Guzzi Egretta L Front

Moto Guzzi is known today for its long-legged and long-lived line of v-twin, shaft-drive machines. But before the introduction of their twin in the v700, Guzzi was famous for its successful line of horizontal singles. The Egretta [“Egret”] was a prewar model only made for two short years, and less than 800 were built before the improved Airone [“Heron”] superseded it. It lacked rear suspension and featured the 247cc single that would power the later Airone in various iterations until 1957!

1939 Moto Guzzi Egretta R Rear

Although later models with this engine did have more modern, enclosed valvetrain, this early version features an exposed rockers and hairpin springs that are clearly visible in a number of the photographs, as well as Guzzi’s signature “salami-slicer” external flywheel. The “horizontal” single allowed for a very low center of gravity and excellent airflow to cool the engine. The exposed flywheel allowed the correct mass for rideability and performance, while keeping weight of the engine case castings low.

1939 Moto Guzzi Egretta L Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1939 Moto Guzzi Egretta for Sale

This is a very special & very unique opportunity to own one of the rarest of the rare Moto Guzzi Vintage Classic Originals. Only made for TWO YEARS and only 784 EVER MADE, the pre-war 1939-1940 Egretta is the pièce de résistance  for any Guzzi aficionado. It even has the original license plate!

This gem is about as original as I can describe…and as you know, a bike is ONLY ORIGINAL ONCE. There are some paint nicks all over and some very minor dings on the mudguards, but the tank is straight. The chrome and paint are obviously 85 years old but remarkably intact for being that old. Previous owners have tried to cover up some nicks with paint here and there.

There is nothing like riding a motorbike this old and this Egretta runs well. However, don’t plan on breaking any speed records.

1939 Moto Guzzi L Tank

As the listing mentions, you may not be winning any top-speed contests on this, but the Guzzi’s famous flexibility should make it fun to ride within its modest limits: the singles were famous for their roadholding and locomotive torque, which made them competitive on both road and track. They can chug happily along in top gear at nearly any speed, making gear selection virtually superfluous.

1939 Moto Guzzi Egretta R Engine

If you’re looking for something very rare for your collection in original condition, this might be your ride.


1939 Moto Guzzi Egretta R Side

1936 Brough Superior SS80 With Sidecar!

1936 Brough Superior SS80 R Front

The Brough Superior was the prototypical “superbike” of the prewar era, the “Rolls Royce of motorcycles” in an era when that meant performance, quality, and speed instead of ostentation and ornamentation. They were famous for their ability, and slightly infamous for being the preferred mount and ultimately fatal choice of T.E. Lawrence: he owned seven different Broughs during his life, with an eighth on order when he was killed in a road accident.

1936 Brough Superior SS80 Dash

Built between 1922 and 1940, the SS80 was powered by one of two, outside-sourced engines from either J.A.P. or Matchless, both displacing 1000cc’s and featuring side-valves. The higher-spec SS100 favored by Lawrence featured overhead valves for additional performance.

1936 Brough Superior SS80 R Side Engine

The “80” referred, not to the displacement in cubic inches or cc’s, but to the tested top speed: every SS80 was ridden and certified that it could meet or exceed that speed before it was delivered to its customer. If not, it headed back to the shop until it could.

And if it you think it sounds like “to its customer” means that each machine was built-to-order, you’d be correct.

As you’d expect from a machine that hasn’t hit its reserve at $61,000 the original listing contains quite a few excellent images of the finished machine, the work-in-progress, and the bike in its original, very rough shape. From the eBay listing: 1936 Brough Superior SS80 with Sidecar for Sale

This Brough has won best in show at prestigious events such as 2012 Del Mar Concours d’Elegance, the NTNOA’s 2012 Lake o’ the Pines bike show, and the AMA vintage days at Mid Ohio. As of today there are 51 miles on the odometer.  It starts runs, rides, and stops like a 1936 British motorcycle. Everything on it works as well as it ever did when new, perhaps even better. The front and rear tires are new Avons. The front is a speedmaster, the rear is a safety mileage.  The sidecar has an original Dunlop sidecar tire, which was difficult to obtain. The sidecar tire is in good enough shape to ride. In the trunk of the sidecar there are some neat accessories that make this restoration stand out.  There is a Brough Superior tool kit (original tools, newly produced tool roll) and a Lucas lightbulb holder. There is a top for the sidecar also stored in the trunk. It easily snaps on and off. No shortcuts were taken, and no expenses spared on restoring this Brough Superior. A lot of time and hard work went into the motorcycle you see here. Some photos show the motor rebuild in process, some of the bike before, and finally the finished bike after restoration.

1936 Brough Superior SS80 Overhead

You might think that “hey, this thing has a sidecar! It’s no sportbike!” well, considering that Brough offered a “sports” model sidecar, held a speed record with a sidecar-equipped machine, and were, in general, considered to be the very best motorcycles available anywhere at the time, we’ll give it a pass.

1936 Brough Superior SS80 L Side

This one appears to be powered by a Matchless engine, but I’m not well-versed in Brough-lore, so real or imagined experts should feel free to clarify for me in the comments! The sidecar is not the original item: none was found with the bike, but one was specified in the original documentation, so a period-appropriate example was restored to match.

Per the description, this is a meticulously restored, premium example of a truly historic motorcycle. Obviously out of the reach of most of us, but very exciting to see


1936 Brough Superior SS80 R Side