Bring a Trailer Bargain of the Week: 1974 Moto Guzzi Eldorado Police

If you want a new retro-style bike, Triumph isn’t the only game in town. Italian brand Moto Guzzi is also big in the neo-classic segment, thanks in no small part to the V7. But as iconic as that bike is, Moto Guzzi has made other notable bikes over the last 100 years. And some of these OG classics are available for less than you might think. Case in point, the 1974 Moto Guzzi Eldorado Police bike up right now on Bring a Trailer.

The Moto Guzzi Eldorado 850 took the V7 to California and from an Ambassador to a police-favorite touring bike

The side view of a black-and-white 1969 Moto Guzzi V750 Ambassador
1969 Moto Guzzi V750 Ambassador side view | Piaggio

Although the V7 isn’t Moto Guzzi’s sole motorcycle, the 1960s and 1970s V7s were the predecessors for several later important bikes.

The V7 Special, for example, morphed into the 1969 V750 Ambassador to take on the Honda CB750 in the US. With a long wheelbase, under-stressed 757cc air-cooled V-twin, and low-maintenance shaft drive, the Ambassador was a solid touring bike. It was also one of the first production bikes to come solely with an electric starter, Rider says. And the 1970 V750 California built on those solid bones, giving the Ambassador a comfier seat, taller windscreen, and saddlebags.

But these features weren’t just boons for consumers, Motorcycle Classics notes. They also made the V750 Ambassador a solid choice for motorcycle cops, even more so than its V7 predecessor. One of the reasons the Ambassador had a 60-hp 757cc V-twin was to keep up with the then-standard police bike, the 55-hp Harley-Davidson FLH.

A Los Angeles police officer on a black-and-white Moto Guzzi Eldorado 850 police bike in a 1970s parking lot
A Los Angeles police officer on a Moto Guzzi Eldorado 850 police bike in a 1970s parking lot | Piaggio

However, while police departments enjoyed the Ambassador’s performance, Moto Guzzi thought the bike could go further. And by further, we mean ‘more performance.’ So, the company enlarged the engine and upgraded the drivetrain. And in November 1971, Moto Guzzi debuted the Eldorado 850.

While the Ambassador had a 60-hp 757cc V-twin and a four-speed manual, the Moto Guzzi Eldorado has a 65-hp 844cc V-twin and a five-speed manual. It also has a stronger final drive ratio and extra gauges, MC says. Plus, while the Eldorado is as powerful as the FLH, it’s about 200 pounds lighter and has a shorter wheelbase. That made it nimbler and faster, Rider says, great for cops and normal riders. Add in a starring role in Magnum Force, and it’s little wonder the Eldorado was one of Moto Guzzi’s best-selling bikes, Bike-urious reports.

You can bid on a 1974 Eldorado Police edition on Bring a Trailer

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Moto Guzzi upgraded the Eldorado 850 several times during its 1971-1974 run. The California trim returned in 1972 with a touring windscreen and seat, saddlebags, and engine guards. In 1973 the Eldorado swapped its two-shoe front drum brakes for a four-shoe design. And for 1974, Moto Guzzi gave it cartridge-style front forks and a Brembo front disc brake.

As a 1974 Moto Guzzi Eldorado police bike, the motorcycle currently listed on Bring a Trailer has all those features. But while it has the police-style single speedometer, it has a passenger seat, too. Also, chrome knee cutouts on the tank, a locking storage compartment, and Borrani alloy spoked wheel rims.

While this 1974 Moto Guzzi Eldorado Police has some scratches and surface rust and is missing some engine-guard chrome, it’s in fairly good condition. The seller sent it for a three-year refurbishment that included rebuilding the engine, repainting the frame and multiple additional components, and overhauling the electrical system. Liberty Vintage did the work, which also included rebuilding the braking system, fixing the ignition, and installing a new exhaust.

A Moto Guzzi Eldorado makes “a dependable, easy, and cheap-to-maintain ridable classic,” Motorcycle Classics says

Two Los Angeles police officers look over a Moto Guzzi Eldorado 850 police bike in a 1970s parking lot
Two Los Angeles police officers look over a Moto Guzzi Eldorado 850 police bike | Piaggio

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As of this writing, this 1974 Moto Guzzi Eldorado Police bike is listed on BaT for $4000 with three days left in the auction. Given this motorcycle’s condition, that’s a below-average price. A fair-condition 1974 Eldorado typically costs almost $2000 more, Hagerty says.

As this bike is a classic Italian motorcycle, some potential bidders might be nervous about its reliability. However, this Eldorado has been restored well and has the receipts to prove it. In addition, classic Eldorados are fairly reliable as long as they’re maintained properly, MC reports. And if you don’t want to deal with a points-based ignition system, modern upgrades are available. Plus, a vintage Moto Guzzi Eldorado can keep up with modern traffic and comfortable sweep along back-country roads.

In short, this Eldorado has all the marks of a solid vintage bargain bike. Just don’t try testing the police-style livery’s limits when you get on.

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