Ten Days with a 1973 Moto Guzzi Eldorado

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Rod Peterson's 1973 Moto Guzzi Eldorado. Mileage at start of 10-day test was 16,183 and 16,660 at the end.
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Rod Peterson's 1973 Moto Guzzi Eldorado.
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Rod Peterson's 1973 Moto Guzzi Eldorado.
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Rod Peterson's 1973 Moto Guzzi Eldorado.
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Rod Peterson's 1973 Moto Guzzi Eldorado. Easy maintenance is a Guzzi. Valve covers come off in moments.
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Adjusting points is a snap as well on the 1973 Moto Guzzi Eldorado.
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Rod Peterson's 1973 Moto Guzzi Eldorado.
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Valve adjustments are a breeze on the 1973 Moto Guzzi Eldorado.
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The 1973 Moto Guzzi Eldorado is happiest on back roads, where it cruises effortlessly.

1973 Moto Guzzi Eldorado
Claimed power:
64hp @ 6,500rpm
Top speed: 116mph (period test)
Engine: 844cc, OHV, air-cooled 90 degree V-twin
Weight (dry): 261kg (518lb)
Fuel capacity / MPG: 22ltr (5.78gal) / 40-50mpg
Price then / now: $1,985 / $4,000 – $8,000

Rolling on the throttle of the 1973 Moto Guzzi Eldorado, my derrière comfortably supported by the Guzzi’s ample solo saddle, I feel like a refugee from Magnum Force, the 1973 Clint Eastwood flick where a secret fraternity of vigilante motorcycle cops prowl San Francisco, picking off the city’s crime bosses one by one. Their bikes? Moto Guzzi 850s, just like the one I’m riding.

OK, so maybe I’ve watched Magnum Force one time too many, but riding the Eldorado, it’s impossible for me not to conjure up images of rogue cops on Guzzis every time I pull away from the curb, the big V-twin’s dual pipes emitting, no, more like barking an authoritative staccato rasp as the engine picks up speed and I firmly jab the long shift lever for the next gear.

The Moto Guzzi Eldorado yesterday
It’s an imposing bike, to be sure, and it was meant to be. Based on the very first Guzzi V-twin, the 1967 V7, the Moto Guzzi Eldorado helped continue the traction Moto Guzzi had gained in the U.S. with the 703cc Moto Guzzi V7 and later 757cc Moto Guzzi Ambassador. As the story goes, Guzzi sold two of the very first V7s to the California Highway Patrol for $1. The younger cops loved the Guzzi over the current crop of Harleys, and before long big Guzzi V-twins were plying the highways and byways of California, Texas, Georgia and a host of other states, the motorcycle cops effectively supplying Moto Guzzi with free, rolling advertising. Talk about guerilla marketing.

Largely identical to the 757cc Ambassador, the new-for-1972 Moto Guzzi Eldorado received some important upgrades. A longer stroke bumped capacity to 844cc and, more importantly, bumped power to 64hp, up 4hp from the Ambassador. Bigger news was inside the transmission, which added an extra gear for five forward speeds. The only visual cues to the bike’s new status were the 850 Eldorado decals on the side panels, revised instruments and a larger, stronger rear drive unit.

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