After WWII European motorcycle manufacturers produced small motorcycles because they were cheaper. Existing motorcyclists were already catered for by larger machines but manufacturers wanted to encourage cyclists to trade up to motorized transport and, even more important, to get female riders into the saddle. A hand gear-change reminded people of cars, so helped to make potential customers more comfortable with machines such as this baby Moto Guzzi. The Moto Guzzi company was born during WW1. Carlo Guzzi, Giorgio Ripamonti and a well-known racer of the day, Giovanni Ravelli, were pilots in the Italian Air Force. Their plans to make their own motorcycles came to fruition soon after the war, despite the death of Ripamonti a few days after the war ended. The first Moto Guzzi was a a 500 cc single cylinder, produced in 1920 in their new factory in Mandello.
Displaying the Italian Air Corps flying eagle on the petrol tank in honour of Giorgio Ripamonti, Guzzi and Ravelli immediately went racing and took their first win at the torturous Targa Florio. By 1924, Moto Guzzi was a dominant force in the world of motorcycle racing, and by the time they retired in 1957 they had won more than 3,000 races, taken eight world championships, including eleven victories at Isle of Man.
The first small motorcycle manufactured by Moto Guzzi was the 65cc Motoleggera Guzzino, introduced in 1946. The Cardellino 65 took over in 1954 and was produced for two years. It has a hand gear-change is easily recognized by its rear suspension. The 1956 model has telescopic front forks, redesigned petrol tank, wider mudguards, and light alloy hub with central brakes. This 1956 65cc is a rare model as it was superceded by the 73 after only one year of production.
Image and description kindly supplied by BuyVintage.co.uk