2009 Italian Day at Ace Cafe, London

Classic Scene

italian day 1

Italian Day at the Ace Cafe, London.

Photo by Adam Bolton

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A major element in the relaunched Ace Cafe’s success over the past 15 years is simply that it’s a perfect venue for motorcycle and car events of all types. Steeped in moto history, the Ace oozes mechanical charm. Italian Bike Day keeps growing in popularity, and the gathering last May 3, the event’s 10th anniversary, was no exception.

A welcoming and warm sun greeted Italian bike aficionados, as a wide variety of Italian machinery steadily rolled into the Ace parking lot. And as the bikes lined up, I grabbed a bacon sarnie from the café, found a suitable perch and watched the crowd build.

Italian Superbikes from the Seventies are especially popular these days, so it was no surprise to see that Ducati, Guzzi, Benelli and Laverda were well represented, with Jotas, a couple of great T3 Californias, a bevy of beautiful bevel SSs, a nice black V7 Sport, four rare Guzzi 750S3s and several tasty specials including the immaculate and very orange Cloud 9 Engineering-framed Laverda SF850 (bored from 750cc) on hand.

Smaller and older machines, like a neat mid-1970s wire-wheeled Moto Morini 3 1/2 Sport, a couple of clean 1960s Ducati singles, a 1950s MV Agusta 175 single still wearing its Moto Giro kit and a Moto Guzzi “bacon slicer” believed to be a circa-1951 Astore, were also spotted.

Unusual machines included an unrestored but perfectly functioning barn-find 1973 Ducati GT750 with incredible rust-colored patina (heck, it was real rust!), the odd-looking but technically advanced (for its time) 1991 Gilera CX 125 with single-sided front fork, a very rare 500cc Gilera Saturno from 1951, and to top it all off, a wonderful MV Agusta 750S America, resplendent in full factory fairing. You certainly don’t see many MV fours battling the London traffic.

Loads of modern Italian steeds also lined up, so it was a busy day for the folks at the Italian Motorcycle Owners Club stand, not to mention the Ducati staff, who were offering test rides on new Ducatis of all types.

It all happens again May 2 for Italian Day 2010 at the Ace Cafe. MC