1969 Moto Guzzi Ambassador
Cops loved them, touring riders loved them, collectors are starting to love them and I know of one that actually got stuffed into a Bonneville Streamliner!? I’m talking about the wonderful Moto Guzzi Ambassador. Yes, it’s big, heavy, somewhat cumbersome, and not all that fast but, despite those things, it all works so well. And in 1969 only cost $1554.00. Quite a bargain I think.
What made the big Guzzi so good was it is incredibly comfortable to ride at any speed. The motor has stump pulling torque in all four gears right off the bottom, you can lug an Ambassador around in fourth gear all day and it won’t complain, neither will you. The BIG drum brakes work surprisingly well hauling that big bike down from speed, (top speed is just a little north of 100 mph), without the wooden feeling that some of the period Italian bikes had. But, back to what made it popular with Police departments and travelers…comfort.
The Ambassador has probably one of the greatest ergonomic packages of all time. While talking with a couple of Ambassador owners I learned that they really liked the ‘Polizia’ model (that’s Italian for ‘Cop Bike’) the best because of the floorboards, remounted foot controls and the handlebars. Having ridden one a while back I can attest to the comfort and the ease at which you can get the bike to go where you want it to go, now. You can spend incredibly long days in the saddle (that boys and girls is why the police liked them so well) and when you finally decide to pull into the Motel 6 parking lot in East Asscrack, Iowa you’ll be wishing there was more daylight to just keep riding. The other part of that picture is you’ve enjoyed riding your ‘Goose’ so much you’re wondering how in hell did you end up in East Asscrack, Iowa in the first place.
So today, still searching ebay for parts for my Italian bike project I came across an Ambassador that needs a good home and some love. It’s a 1969 model with barely enough miles to be broken in (6706) but it sat for a long time and apparently only got ridden on shorter rides. Sad. The bike is in basically what my friend Craig would call “decidedly OK” condition. This Guzzi is a runner but will need a good going through. It needs a few parts…air box and filter or you can put pods on, new battery, tires, all the fluids changed…you get the picture. It also could use a new paint job if you are of the ‘restoration’ type, and I would send that wonderfully shaped seat to a good upholsterer for a new cover and maybe foam.
So far it looks to be a good buy and considering it’s in the Northwest and the weather isn’t too bad yet, line up the parts you will need, go get the bike, put on the newly acquired parts and ride it home. It’s got saddlebags, a rear rack, add a windshield and you are good to go wherever you want…in Italian comfort.
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