1974 Moto Guzzi 850 Eldorado

Moto Guzzi rider Alan Comfort revived an unloved 1974 850 Eldorado, but no one will accuse him of having over-restored it.

article image
by Robert Smith

El Dorado was the legendary City of Gold of Spanish explorers: but it’s now thought the “golden one” was instead a person, a chief of the Muisca who was ceremonially adorned with gold. Either way, the implication that gold was plentiful in the Americas.

Whether or not Moto Guzzi named their 1972 motorcycle Eldorado in the hope it would find them a metaphorical empire of gold, the cycle certainly built a loyal U.S. following that the Mandello marque enjoys to this day. Much of the Eldorado’s commercial success relied on its being chosen as a police bike by the Los Angeles Police Department and California Highway Patrol.

The Eldorado is a direct descendent of Moto Guzzi’s 1967 704cc V7, imported into the U.S. by the Premier Motor Corporation, a division of the Berliner organization. The pot of gold Joe and Michael Berliner hoped to secure was a contract to supply motorcycles to America’s police forces. Anti-trust rules required forces to call for more than one supply bid, and as there was only one homemade motorcycle maker, Berliner proposed supplying European machines as an alternative. Berliner was the U.S. distributor for Norton, Ducati and Moto Guzzi, and so the company could theoretically have offered machines from any of these firms.

Engine: 844cc OHV four-stroke 90-degree V-twin, 83mm x 78mm bore and stroke, 9.2:1 compression ratio, 64.5hp @ 6,500rpm
Motorcycle Classics Magazine
Motorcycle Classics Magazine
Motorcycle Classics Magazine Featuring the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!