Bike Find of the Day – The 1970 Moto Guzzi 750 Ambassador

Today’s Bike Find of the Day? A 1970 Moto Guzzi 750 Ambassador.

In February 1967, Società Esercizio Industrie Moto Meccaniche (SEIMM) took ownership of Moto Guzzi. It was during the SEIMM watch that Moto Guzzi developed the 90° V twin engine, designed by Giulio Cesare Carcano, which would bring Moto Guzzi to the attention of the American motorcycle buying public  as featured on the V7 750 Speciale from 1969.


A rider takes the 1970 Moto Guzzi Ambassador on a tour around the Nurburgring


Moto Guzzi created the first motorcycle wind tunnel back in 1950, La Galleria del Vento, and it was large enough to test 1:1-scale prototypes. It was this innovation that led the company to market the world’s first motorcycle fairing and gave racers the experience of testing realistic riding conditions to fine-tune their seating and body position at varying racing speeds.

The wind tunnel also came in handy for prototyping, and with it, Moto Guzzi refined the air stream around the motorcycle itself which revealed data crucial to discovering the parameters of the envelope of still air around the rider.

Though Moto Guzzi has gone through a mighty list of engine configurations over the years, it was the air-cooled 90° V-twin (which featured a longitudinal crankshaft) and the powerplant’s transverse cylinder heads which gave the manufacturer’s bikes their iconic styling cue.

Carcano’s engine began with a 700 cc displacement and 45 bhp output meant to move police bikes for sale to the Italian government. Sturdy, shaft-driven and air-cooled, the machines were spotted on the radar screen by police departments in California as well, and it was that development that led to Moto Guzzi’s best sales year in 1971.

Among the kinks introduced by the configuration of Carcano’s engine? A slight gyroscopic effect and asymmetrical behavior in turns produced by the location and design of the transverse engine. While that might seem a little off-putting – and possibly dangerous – it was just one more element that made these bikes such a pleasure to ride.

The V7 Ambassador was launched in in 1969 and rolled off the production line until 1970. When it was introduced, the California was part of a trio of motorcycles that included the Special, California and Ambassador. In keeping with it’s genesis as a police bike, the California line included footboards, heel-and-toe gearshift, and linked Brembo brakes.

Above all, the Ambassador met the standard Italian benchmark for motorcycle design; it was pretty. You can buy one here…

The Boilerplate Specs:

  • Bore (mm)     83  
  • Box Gearing: 3rd     0.954
  • Capacity (cc)     757.487    
  • Compression (to 1)     9  
  • Valve Type     ohv   
  •  No. Gears     4
  • Bhp (at rear wheel)     45   
  •  Front Tyre     4.00 x 18 @ rpm     6000     
  • Rear Tyre     4.00 x 18
  • Starting system     electric     
  • Front Brake (mm)     drum 220 2LS
  • Oil System     wet sump     
  • Rear Brake (mm)     drum 220
  • Front Suspension     telescopic
  • Rear Suspension     swinging arm
  • Ignition System     coil
  • Wheelbase (mm)     1470
  • Exhaust Closes ATDC     22   
  • Dry Weight (kg)     228
  • Model     V7 Ambassador


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1 Response

  1. December 22, 2012

    […] Related posts:Bike Find of the Day – The 1970 Moto Guzzi 750 Ambassador […]