A self-proclaimed fanatic of the Moto Guzzi brand, Perth resident Andy Smith has patiently added two rare models – a 1992 1000S and 1976 Le Mans – from the Italian manufacturer to commence his small collection of classic motorcycles.
With a background in classic cars, it was only natural for Andy to progress into restoring motorcycles, but it was move he made following stint of creating custom Cafe Racers.
“In recent times, I’ve become a bit of a Moto Guzzi collector,” said Andy. “I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on two bikes over the last five or six years which are fairly rare, and I’ve become a bit fanatical about the brand.
“I got involved in the Cafe Racer community and built a couple of bikes in the early days – I never saw myself as a particularly good customiser, I suppose I was good as most people, but not as good as the good ones.
“I knew what I could see, but I could never convert that into reality. As time went by, I got more and more drawn into classic bikes and originality. I’ve done a couple of bikes – I had a Honda CB750 that I brought back to pretty mint original condition before I sold it on.”
Andy’s desire to add the 1000S to his collection came out of a strong connection with ’90s model, although being a bike that was produced in limited numbers, sourcing one became a long, drawn out and painstaking task.
Despite the setbacks and empty opportunities, he finally came across a potential lead that would see him negotiate with the former owner for two years, before finally putting a deal together and taking the big-bore machine into his possession.
“There was a bike that I really wanted all the way along – it’s a bike a I resonated with. I had seen it in movies and pictures, I had read a lot about it and it was a bike that ticked a lot of boxes for me and a bike that I felt I would be able to live with for a long period of time.
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“A bike that would maybe get older as I got older and be able to continue riding it, and that was a Moto Guzzi 1000S. They didn’t make a lot of them, they’re not easy to find and the people who own them generally don’t want to sell them. I put a lot feelers out and didn’t really get anywhere – a few false opportunities came up, I went and I was still no closer.
“A guy then got in touch with me out of the blue saying he had this bike that he would maybe consider selling. We started talking about it, and it took me two years negotiating with him to finally convince him to sell the bike to me.
“I got the bike and it didn’t run – it was really solid, really original and in fairly good condition. I brought the bike back home, stripped it right down, went through everything as I tend to do anyway – I tend to be fanatical with my bikes in that respect. I went through the bike from top to bottom, did a whole pile of work and brought it back to how she is now.”
The Le Mans is a model that’s high on the priority list for any Moto Guzzi enthusiast, which Andy believes is the one of the most beautiful motorcycles to ever be manufactured.
Finding a Le Mans both domestically and internationally again proved to be a lengthy process, but drawing upon his persistent and patient characteristics, he was able to locate a MK1 Series 1 edition on the opposite side of the country, eventually persuading the previous owner to let go of the rare machine.
“I wanted a Le Mans MK1 – to me it was one of the standout bikes of the 1970s – it’s one of the most beautiful bikes ever built in my opinion. Coming from a classic car background, that first generation model where things haven’t been played around with or changed, is something that I like.
“I searched all around the country – internationally as well – and I couldn’t find anything decent. I found a contact in Queensland who had a MK1 Series 1, who might consider selling it. I got in touch with him, and over three or four months, I eventually convinced him to sell me the bike.
“He owned it as a collector for 30 years along with a whole pile of other Moto Guzzis. It was a bike to me that I was always going to repaint – the paint on it was so awful, it had to be redone. I made the commitment to restore the bike, and after I knew I had to blast the cases, there was no other option – it had to be a full nut and bolt restoration. We’re on the home straight with it now.”
With the Le Mans in its final stages of restoration, Andy admits there are still a number of Moto Guzzi models that he’d love to add to the garage, although he’s still appreciative of his current contingent of classic Italian machinery.
“I’m fortunate that I have two fairly rare Moto Guzzis – I absolutely love them to death and if I had the chance, I’d put another one in the garage. I’ve got several types and models of Moto Guzzis that I’d still like to own.”
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