courtesy of Jens Lyck
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Technical

Moto Guzzi frame numbers - is your bike what's its supposed to be ?

Added:

When you are shopping for a used Moto Guzzi its advisable to check that the frame number fits the model. That can give you a hint on if the bike once had a crash and has been equipped with another frame, or if something else is fishy.

Le Mans 1 is the most wanted (and most expensive) of the Tonti framed Guzzi's, and because only a few parts has to be changed to make a Le Mans look-alike, there's many copy's out there on the streets.

Its no fun to invest your bankroll in a nice Le Mans to discover later that's its really a T3 with the small valves in the cylinder head. Some people say that there are more LM1's today than the factory ever built !

Use the chart below to see what model Moto Guzzi you are actually looking at.

*** NEW ***

My frame number list started out as a copy of the officially accepted list, but several Guzzi owners around the world have send me proof that the list is far from 100% correct.

This may be a "Mission Impossible", but I will try to compile the feed back I receive, into a better list.

The rare art of Italian logistics will probably prevent that the list will ever be finished, but I'll give it a try anyway.......

So bottom line is: If you have any information that will bring a little more light to the frame number mystery, please drop me a mail.

All helpful communications will be published below the frame number list.

Frame # list

Gregory Bender added: I am *NOT* an expert in Moto Guzzi frame and engine numbers. These frame numbers are *NOT* 100% correct, particularly for models delivered outside of Italy and especially for models delivered outside of Europe. The two-letter engine prefix *should* be accurate and correct, but the numbers may not be correct for your Moto Guzzi. I highly recommend that you contact the factory directly with any questions regarding the validity of your frame and engine numbers. Please do not contact me as I will be unable to assist.

Andy Bucket sent me an email informing me of another really good list of frame numbers that differs from this list. I strongly encourage you to review the frame numbers presented by the Moto Guzzi Club Nederland.

V7 Sport 'Telaio Rosso' (Red frame) VK 11111- approx. VK 11261
V7 750 Sport approx VK 11262 - VK 13842
750 S VK1 11111 - VK1 12315
750 S3 VK2 15000 - VK2 15998
850 Le Mans 1 VE 11111 - VE 17311

Gregory Bender added: Please read the additional information below regarding Le Mans frame numbers.

850 Le Mans 2 VE 17312 - VE 24086

Gregory Bender added: Please read the additional information below regarding Le Mans frame numbers.

CX 100 VU 111383 - ........
850 Le Mans 3 VF 11111 - VF 20700
Le Mans 4 VV 11111 - ........
Le Mans 5 VV 14000 - VV 16994
1000 S VV 50001 - VV 51190
1000 S VV 60000 - VV 60058
850 T VC 11111 - VC 13793
850 T3 VD 11111 - VD 26537
850 T4 VD 21345 - VD 26537
850 T5 VR 11111 - VR 13115
850 T5 VR 14001 - VR 14400
850 T5 VR 30001 - VR 36416
850 T5 VR 40001 - ........
V 1000 I Convert VG 11111 - VG 25693
V 1000 G5 VG 18744 - VG 25693
1000 SP & 1000 SP-NT VG 18781 - VG 25693
1000 SP II VH 11111 - VH 12229
1000 SP III VN 11111 - VN 11901
Mille GT VT 24596 - ........
1000 GT VH 30000 - VH 34685
1000 Strada VN 20001 - ........
850 T3 California VD 11478 - VD 22640
California II VT 11111 - VT 20479
California C.I. - carb VW 30001 - VW 30500
California II inject VY 30001 - VY 30510
California III VT 32542 - ........
California III VW 11111 - VW 17350
California III C.I. inject VY 11111 - VY 11450
California III inject VY 50001 - VY 50785
V11 Cal. EV WM 1..... - ........
California 1100 inject XM 1 ..... - ........
V11 Jackal / Bassa YM 1..... - ........

Hint: are you looking at a LM1-2 or a T-T3 engine ?

On the round fin engines its easy to check if the cylinder heads installed on the bike actually are the Le Mans type with the bigger valves:

Le Mans cylinder heads have the inlet manifolds attached by 6mm bolts, on a small valve cylinder head the manifold is attached by 8mm bolts.

The LM1-LM2 change mystery!

The official frame # list states that the change from Le Mans 1 to Le Mans 2 happened at frame # VE 13040.

This has always been doubtful, because considering the production years of the LM1 and LM2, and the factory's production capacity, it simply must be wrong.

The following was seen on: http://www.motorold.it/storia/telaiguzzi/1954.htm:

I dati dei Modelli Le Mans sono stati aggiornati e corretti grazie al prezioso contributo di Fabrizio Angelelli che ha trovato delle incongruenze con i dati distribuiti ufficialmente e ha permesso di risolvere questo errore di segnalazione rilevato dalla stessa casa del Mandello

850 Le Mans (1976-1978)

dal telaio VE 11111 al telaio VE 17311

( dati errati dal telaio VE 11111 al telaio VE 13040)

850 Le Mans II (1978-1980)

dal telaio VE 17312 al telaio VE 24788

( dati errati dal telaio VE 13041 al telaio VE 24086)

With a little imagination you can guess the meaning of this, but to be sure I asked Mikkel Hollænder to have a look at it. (He has a University degree in Spanish, which should make him a lot better in Italian language than we, the poor mortals, that only know Danish, English and German)

Mikkel gave the text to a Professor in Italian language (who loves Opera), and he came out with this:

The information on the Le Mans models has been updated and corrected, thanks to the valuable help of Fabrizio Angeleli, who found errors in the official distributed information.

This made it possible to correct the frame number error, that has been mentioned by the factory itself.

So the frame # list is corrected till somebody prove it wrong.

The LM1-LM2 change mystery continued

John Thompson in Canada mailed me this input:

Hi Jens Was just going over your info on LM11 frames. Thought you might be interested in mine which throws a spanner in the number works. Mine is a "78 manufactured in December 1977, ( reason I know this is when I emigrated to Canada from GB I needed something from the factory stating it met Canadian manufacture requirements as at the time it was under 15 years old. ) anyway having digressed, my frame no. is VE 15993 & engine no. is VE75034. Mine ,I guess is one of the first LM11's so it might help find the "proper" frame start number. Oh yes mine also has chrome bores from new & a different link brake splitter from any others I have seen just to make it a little more interesting. Adding to the confusion! Cheers John T

Things are getting weirder day by day!

Noel Cockfield emailed Gregory Bender this input on :

Very minor point but…

I have owned one of the last Le Mans Mk II's sold in the UK from new, purchased in October 1981. The frame # is VE24443, which is higher than the usually quoted upper limit for the Le Mans Mk II range of VE24086.

Rgds. Noel

Ed Morris (Melbourne, Australia) emailed Gregory Bender this input on :

I have a Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk II British Special (black & gold) with frame number VE*24446*, which is 360 later than the last recorded on your site.

Martin Penk (United Kingdom) emailed Gregory Bender this input on :

I have an original Mk2 Black and Gold with frame no' 24458 just slightly later than one of your other respondents. Engine number 83668 all ties up with registration docs. First registered in the UK in August 1982.

Click to enlarge

Black and gold Le Mans II owned by Martin Penk.

Black and gold Le Mans II owned by Martin Penk.

Alberto Dell'Orto (Italy) emailed Gregory Bender this input on :

My information about the mistake in frame Le Mans (1) end number is that the 13040 (others say on 13070) is the last first version bike, with round tail light, one and a half seat and front fiberglass mudguard.

Anyway there are several other modifications that I've found, I list them below, with date and frame number:

Date Frame number Description of change
11581throttle black chrome
11645front wheel reinforced
11715change dashboard (?)
11888new front left caliper (?), decal on brake calipers
11948new fork shim
12172transmission double joint
12046rear shocks springs
12124clutch (?)
1250010,000 RPM tachometer and trip counter on speedo
12420exhaust pipe with reinforcement
12505new saddle pad, handle Germany version
13214carburetors with reinforced springs
13686self blocking nuts for discs
14301new rod, lever and spring rear brake master cylinder
14414black galvanized or plastified parts instead of painted
15318140 main jet, new warning lights (like 850 T3?)
15445new tank taps
16307new swingarm boot
163791000 SP like gear and brake levers
16633black plastic springs dampers
16749protection of starter
17684new type warning lights and handlebar electric controls (England)
(?)production change to Le Mans II

Alberto Dell'Orto (Italy) emailed Gregory Bender some additional input on :

I've just read John Thompson's question about his supposed 15993 Le Mans II built in .

My Le Mans (I) was built just 300 frames earlier (VE15688 - engine 77584) and was registered .

Reading the list I sent you, which comes from the personal archive of the painting sector manager (so I assume it to be precise) I think that, given the frame 15445 in the end of September and the frame 16307 just at the beginning of January and considered the Christmas and New Year's Eve holydays, even if built early in December that bike would mean that Guzzi made less than 450 bikes in over two months and then more than 300 bikes in just 20 days…. Very difficult, especially in a very hot period when strikes were frequent.

This conviction is more solid considering that I asked Guzzi a few years ago the origin certificate to be allowed to register a bike with no documents, frame number 13732, and they asked me to help them (!) looking if there's any indication on the frame, because our registers have a black hole between the end of the and the first part of the . The homologation tab told us it was a bike.

All this just to say that the registers are probably a mix of dates, communicated by different sectors of the factory (production, shipments…) and that a bike could maybe be formally ready but immediately put in the assistance sector to fix some error in assembly or any other problem like for example the nylon pigmented front mudguards, that always arrived in the wrong colour…

Typical Italian, especially then!

The mystery of the US V7 Sports

Steve Farris in the USA have dug out this valuable information:

Jens, I just received this response to my query from Moe at Cycle Garden: Steve, all US export Sports came with serial #'s starting with 31000 31000 for 1971 production 32000 for 1972 production 33000 for 1973 production 34000 for 1974 production. The prototype sports, the first 150 had a red frame and green tank, but I don't know the series #s on those.

Steve

And this one:

Jens, I thought I would update you on what I have found out about V7 Sport production numbers. This is my understanding the situation. When originally built all V7 Sport's had frame numbers stamped in the frame head tube, starting at 11111, which had engine number 30001, the highest known (to me) V7 Sport frame number is 14252 with engine #VK33853. The highest known VK engine number was found on a V7 Sport in the US, #VK34167. This gives a total of about 3142 V7 Sport frames and 4167 engines. The higher number of engines can be accounted for by the fact that in any model, due to replacements, racing needs, warranty, etc., engine production usually outpaces frame production. This difference in engine and frame production was made greater by the fact that the final year of production for the V7 Sport, the S2 model which replaced it used the same engine and thus shared the production until replaced by the 850 engines used in the S3. Local authorities in the USA desired that the frame and engine numbers match, so V7's exported to the US had a tag affixed to the frame's head tube, covering up the stamped number and using a frame number which corresponded to the engine number ( i.e. my V7 had engine number VK31082 so it was given frame number 31082 upon being shipped to the US). By calculating the engine numbers beginning with 30001 the original frame number on my V7 was somewhere around 12192, although this could only be verified by removing the frame tag and checking underneath. Due to the fact that more engines than frames were produced it is unlikely to match exactly. On many models which were destined to be US import bikes the original frame number was never stamped on the head tube, only the metal plate with the US frame number. On most US V7 Sport's the only way to tell is to remove the frame plate to look underneath. In many States removal of this plate is considered a criminal offense, so most people don't bother checking. If I ever have the frame re-finished I will remove the tag and look beneath for any signs of the original number. This frame production number is not to be confused with the factory "homologation" number of DGM 9104 OM which is stamped on the head tube of all V7 Sport's to identify the type of the frame. Steve

Excellent, isn't it ?

V7Sport, 750S, 750S3

Rolf Halvorsen:

Hello Jens I may have some useful information for you: A friend of mine, Axel in France, has collected the frame and motornumbers for the V7 Sport / 750S / and 750 S3 models. This is the result until now: V7 Sport "Telaio Rosso" VK 11111 - 11261 (150 units) "This is disputed. Some say that the quantity should be 200, even 300." The V7 Sport VK 11111 - 14252 "Be aware that the bikes imported to US had the motor number (VK 30001 - VK 034167) as official frame number." 750S VK1 11111 - 12184 "None was official imported to US." 750S VK2 15000 - 15925 "None was official imported to US." Rolf

V7Sport - Continued

Ernst Papousek:

Hello Jens I am the owner of a V7Sport with frame Nr VK 14077. This number is not included in your list. The year on the identification plate at the steering head is 1973. According "Motociclismo d'Epoca" there had been built approx. 3500 V7Sports from 71 to 74. The bikes sold in 1974 should have been built at the end of 1973. If you need more info, I could try to find the above mentioned revue and make a copy of the article for you. Ernst "Motoguzznix" Papousek

T5

Pat Mulloy:

Hi Jens, I have 2 USA version T-5's and my frame numbers are: VR 100023 (engine number VR 012854) VR 100027 (engine number VR 012737) Both are originals and have not had engine swaps. Thanks for the effort,

Pat Mulloy

This is probably going to be a life long quest for the truth............