My Motorcycling Life Chapter 7 by George Smith

May 29th, 2020

My Motorcycling Life Chapter 7 By George Smith

As mentioned in previous chapter I had begun to be interested in Moto Guzzi lightweight motorcycles and was looking for another project. I found advertised a 1958 73cc two stroke Cardinello. After contacting buyer he explained that he lived in France and makes trips to Italy searching for mopeds and lightweight motorcycles and when he had a van full would deliver to UK free of charge. We agreed a price and buyer would not accept deposit but would rather I looked at bike first and if I changed my mind that would be OK. Arranged to meet at Dartford services liked the look of bike, money changed hands and bike put in back of my Galaxy.

As purchased

As you can see bike was complete and I thought it was worth seeing if it would start. Checked for spark, added some petrol. Started third kick. Had a ride up and down my road everything worked. Good beginning.

The paintwork is original and would be a shame to repaint. It is only original once and I liked the patina with this one.

Having spent it’s life in Italy it had only surface rust and I just cleaned it up. Engine head off, bore and piston in good condition could feel no wear on ends so cleaned engine and put it back together. Checked brakes, steering, electrics etc, all good. New seat cover fitted. New chain, sprockets in good condition. This was all to easy

Finished waiting for DVLA

Added to insurance, RH Classic Insurance, great company all done over phone and no extra charge. Applied to DVLA for registration. Completed in four weeks including inspection. I was finding it hard to believe that everything going so well. Getting nervous about taking for a ride something must end my good luck. Rode round Canvey a few times never going further than I could push it home. No problems.

Fun little bike maximum speed about 35MPH would not want to take on main roads with the lack of care with some car drivers.

This bike had some advanced designs for the period.

Upside down forks. Mono rear suspension via springs, seen beneath toolbox, with friction dampers.

Rotary inlet valve, full width brake hubs. Engine designed for long life and to be cheap to run.

It was about this time that the chap that sold me this bike contacted me would I be interested in a 1961 Moto Guzzi 110cc Zigolo. Sent me some photos how could I resist.

Moto Guzzi Cardellino a short history  

The 65cc Cardellino was launched in 1954 and was a derivate of the Motoleggera 65 (Guzzino) first sold in 1946.

This was a complete change for the company and was seen as the way forward after the war with Italy on it’s knees and bankrupt.  A light uncomplicated motorcycle with the Moto Guzzi name for quality. A vast clientele ranged from doctors to workmen to postal service. In the first three years over 50,000 units were sold. An all time high for the Italian motorcycle industry. Modified versions set many world speed records. Flying kilometre and 1000 kilometres to name but two of the 27 records held.

Restyled and renamed Cardellino in 1954

The 65cc engine was increased to 73cc in 1956 and again increased to 83cc in 1962 with other improvements from year to year

The model was discontinued in 1965 due to falling demand.