Minichamps MIN122165301 1976 Moto Guzzi 850 LeMans MKI Motorcycle - Silver and Blue (1:12 Scale)
"German precision engineering at its finest!"
- The Motor Pool
Moto Guzzi is an Italian motorcycle manufacturer that was established in 1921 in Mandello del Lario by Lake Como, which is situated at the foot of the Alps in northern Italy. From the 1930s it was the biggest maker, and, up to the '60s, the dominant marque amongst Italian motorcycle manufacturers. The engineer (and co-founder) Carlo Guzzi's first engine design was a horizontal single, that in a number of guises dominated the first 45 years of the company's history. From the beginning the company used racing to promote their brand. Moto Guzzi won 3,329 official races, 14 World Championships and 11 times the Tourist Trophy.
Until the mid '40s, the traditional horizontal four stroke single cylinder 500 cc engines outfitted with one overhead and one side valve were the most performance oriented machines that Moto Guzzi sold to the general public. At the same time the official racing team and private racers were furnished with all sorts of racing machines which included a plethora of overhead cam, multiple valve configurations and cylinder designs, culminating in the mythic 500 cc dohc V8 that ended the Guzzi racing era in 1957, when the factory withdrew from racing for financial reasons.
The period after World War 2 was as difficult in Mandello del Lario as it was elsewhere in post war Europe. The solution was production of cheap lightweights. The '46 "Motoleggera", a 65 cc lightweight motorcycle became hugely popular in postwar Italy. A 4 stroke 175 cc scooter known as the "Galletto" was a stable seller as well. Though relatively modest for Guzzis, these, and all other models were relatively upmarket and high quality in their corner of the market.
Pictured here is a beautiful 1:12 scale diecast replica of the 1976 Moto Guzzi 850 LeMans MKI motorcycle painted in silver and blue. Comes in a handsome presentation case.
Length: 7 inches
Height: 3.50 inches
Release Date: June 2009
Historical Account: "The De Tomaso Years" - After experiencing financial difficulties in the late 1960s, De Tomaso Industries Inc. (D.T.I. Group or DTI), manufacturer of the De Tomaso sports and luxury cars, owned by Argentinian industrialist Alejandro de Tomaso, purchased SEIMM (and thereby Moto Guzzi) along with Benelli and Maserati in 1973. Under Tomaso's stewardship, Moto Guzzi returned to profitability, though other reports suggest a period of limited investment in Moto Guzzi followed attributed to DTI using Moto Guzzi financially prioritizing their automotive ventures.
In 1976, Guzzi released the 850 Le Mans, a cafe racer that was a stylistic masterpiece and still today considered one of the most iconic and sought after of all Guzzis. A marketing success that would compete with other Italian superbikes, it spawned four later models from Mark II to its culmination in the 1990s, the Mark V. The initial model is known widely but incorrectly as the Mark I. Technically, it is simply the 850 Le Mans. It was named in homage to the 24-Hour endurance race and circuit in France. The Mark I had two production runs with slight modifications. The first run, known as Series 1, used the roundish CEV stop/taillight used on many Italian bikes of the decade. Less than 2,000 of the round taillight bikes were made and they are the most desirable Guzzi of the era. The second production run, known as the Series 2 and totaling around 4,000 bikes, used a De Tomaso-designed rectangular taillight/reflector and modified rear guard. This was also used on the Mark II and SP models. The taillight and guard was the biggest change between Series 1 and 2 but other modifications included later inclusion of a tripmeter, black fork lowers, a more generous dual seat that replaced the split-proned original seat, exhaust pipe heel guards and inferior fuel taps. The extra cost compared to the "cooking" T3 model paid for performance items such as high compression domed pistons, larger inlet and exhaust valves and Dell'Orto 36mm pumper carbs with filterless grey plastic velocity stacks. Most Mk I bikes were brilliant red although a very small number were painted in metallic ice blue. An exceedingly small number of Series 2 bikes were white.