1938 Moto Guzzi GTC Leggera
1938 Moto Guzzi GTC/Leggera The Moto Guzzi GTC was the first generation of “Gentlemen’s Racers” which were produced from 1937 until 1951 with later members of the type being the Condor, the Dondolino and the Gambalunga. The Leggera, or lightweight versions of the GTC, were produced in 1937 and 1938 and were originally expressly supplied to the Milizia della Strada (now known as the Polizia Stradale).
Factory records indicate that this GTC/Leggera, unlike the rest of the 161 units produced, was not supplied to the police but was supplied as a demonstrator after being updated with the same oil/fuel tank assembly, special aircraft aluminium lightweight frame components, improved braking both front and rear, elektron (magnesium) engine castings and racing cams as fitted to the Moto Guzzi Condor – just 69 Condors were built.
This GTC/Leggera is a unique motorcycle. The first dealer to receive it was M/S Negrini, Moto Guzzi in Milan, on 15 December 1938. Then unsold it was returned to the factory who then sent to M/S Cresmascoli in Trieste in on 6 March 1939. Again, it was returned to the factory and finally sold to M/S Azaro, the Moto Guzzi distributor in Addis Ababa, in what was then Abyssinia (and now Ethiopia) on 11 December 1939 where it found a local buyer. Towards the end of Second World War the bike was “captured” and taken to India by the British Indian Army where it remained in the state of Uttar Pradesh and carried the registration number URA 234 until the early 1990s when it was brought to the UK.
This bike has participated in competition (Cholmondely Pageant of Power) and in some concours events. It has won Best Bike at the annual Fleet Lion Classic Motorcycle Run and Concours in 2014, Best post vintage at the Sunbeam Owners Club Graham Walker Memorial Run at Beaulieu in 2017 – both events required to finish at least a 50-mile road ride before being considered. It has also been ridden to Sammy Miller Museum Italian Days where it has also won awards – so is not just a concours show piece.
When used on the road it has to make use of the additional silencer feature that varies both performance, and exhaust noise, when lifted – it delivers 110dB in “flaps up” mode and just 100dB when flaps are down. As it was never fitted with a speedometer, and is kept as originally built, guessing the speed can be a challenge especially as it is capable of over 100MPH.