Established in 1921 in Madello Del Lari, Moto Guzzi has led Italy’s motorcycling manufacture, and enjoyed prominence in worldwide bike racing and led in innovation for the majority of its history.
The company was conceived by two aircraft pilots and their mechanic serving in the Corpo Aeronautico Militare during World War 1.
The trio, Carlo Guzzi, Giovanni Ravelli and Giorgi Parodi had envisaged creating a motorcycle company after the war. Unfortunately, Ravelli died just days after the war had ended in an aircraft crash, and Guzzi and Parodi formed Moto Guzzi in 1921 and commemorated Ravelli by the eagles wings that form the logo.
In the 50s, the company along with other Italian factories led the world of Grand Prix Motorcycle racing. With durable & lightweight bikes, the firm dominated the middleweight classes and they won 5 consecutive 350cc championships between 1953 and 1957.
In realising that low weight alone might not continue to win races, the V8 500cc GP race bike was designed. This engine was to become one of the most complex engines of its time and despite the bike having led many races and frequently posted the fastest lap time, it often failed to complete races due to mechanical problems. Ultimately, the V8 was not further developed. By the time Moto Guzzi pullied out of racing following the 1957 season, it had won 3329 official races, 8 world championships, 6 constructors championships and 11 Isle of Man TT victories.
In 1967, SEIMM a state controlled receiver, took control of the company and saw the adaptation towards cars. The company focused on popular mopeds including the Dingo and Trotter. They also developed the 90° V twin engine which would become iconic of Moto Guzzi.
After experiencing financial difficulties in the late 1960s, De Tomaso Industries Inc. manufacturer of the De Tomaso sports and luxury cars, owned by Argentinian industrialist Alejandro de Tomaso, purchased SEIMM (and thereby Moto Guzzi) along with Benelli and Maserati in 1973.
Still under the De Tomaso umbrella, in 1988, Benelli and SEIMM merged to create Guzzi Benelli Moto (G.B.M. S.p.A. ). During this period, Moto Guzzi existed as an entity within the De Tomaso owned G.B.M., but in 1996 celebrated its 75th birthday and the return of its name to Moto Guzzi S.p.A. In 1996, De Tomaso became Trident Rowan Group , also known as TRG.
Under the helm of Ivano Beggio, Aprilia S.p.A acquired Moto Guzzi S.p. A in 2000 for $65 million.
On 30 December 2004, Piaggio & Co. S.p.A acquired Aprilia and thereby Moto Guzzi, forming Europe’s largest motorycle manufacturer. Moto Guzzi S.p. A officially became a Unico Azionista of Piaggio, part of Immsi S.p.A.