Moto Guzzi Otto Cilindri


Yep. Eight cylinders. 500 ccs. Eight carbs. 78 BHP. 148KG without the juice. This monster from the middle of the 1950s might look a cumbersome beast but there’s something brutally beautiful about it, right? God knows how that fairing coped with sidewinds – but hey, riders astride it won some GPs…

The Otto Cilindri hit the GP circuits in 1955 and according to some sources at least it was a little unreliable. That would be understandable when you consider trying to tweak and tune such a monstrously complex engine – complete with overhead cams and that acreage of fuel mixture apparatus.

Apparently only five were ever built and they were withdrawn from official racing in 1957 – but it remains a totemic piece of design and typical of the 1950s halcyon of Italian bike engineering.

Motorcycles from this time and this place seem infused with a brilliant kind of ‘make do and create’ genius. It must have been tough in post war Italy – and for engineers to come up with creations like this shows that passion and commitment shines through in the end.