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Motorworld’s newspaper №75

Before and during the World War II, Moto Guzzi supplied a range of tricycles (‘mototriciclo’ in Italian) and three-wheeled trucks (‘motocarro’ in Italian) to the Italian Army. These machines were well received by the Army due to good maintainability and relatively low price. These are remarkable machines in the history of the Italian armed forces, which were constantly lacking in equipment and fuel.

Civil version of Moto Guzzi Mototriciclo 32. Only 163 pieces of Mototriciclo 32 were made for civil.

The Mototriciclo 32 is the first three-wheeled machine used by Italian Army during the WWII. The trike began to be used in 1935, when Italy occupied East Africa. The military quickly accepted it for its high manoeuvrability and reliability, combined with good load capacity. During the Second World War it was widely used on all fronts. Over the years, the Moto Guzzi has produced 935 Model 32 trikes specifically for the army.

Military Moto Guzzi Mototriciclo 32. Rare photo from the Costantino Frontalini collection.

The Mototriciclo 32 was a three-wheeled version of the Sport 15 model. It inherited the design solutions typical for similar machines: a front spring suspension, structurally combined with a rear subframe, to which the two-wheeled drive axle was attached. It was driven by the same 500cc engine as the basic model. It was also equipped with a three-speed gearbox with an open chain. However, the gear ratio was reduced due to the increased weight of the machine. The trike could carry up to 500 kg. A cargo bed was just an open box suitable for transportation of loads. There were army versions, which had a bed with a machine gun mount.

Moto Guzzi Mototriciclo 32

The Mototriciclo 32 from the “Motoworld by V. Sheyanov” collection was restored at the Costantino Frontalini’s workshop. As for the paintwork, sand camouflage colour (so called ‘blind colonial’) was used. Besides, Mr. Frontalini has added a peculiar option to the machine: a field radio station. This accessory was developed by the Allocchio Bacchini company in 1930s for the Italian Army as a device of communication between the front and the General Staff. It is interesting that just a few years before the communication was provided by carrier pigeons.

Manufacturer Societa Antonima Moto Guzzi, Mandello del Lario, Italy
Years of manufacture 1933 – 1936
Quantity produced, units 1 078
Price N/A
Today’s value N/A
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
Type Single-cylinder, L-head
Engine capacity, cc 498,4
Bore and stroke, mm 88 x 82
Engine rating 13,2 hp at 4000 rpm
Sparking Magneto Marelli
Carburetor Amal
Battery 6 V
Clutch Multiple-plate, oil-bath
Transmission 3-speed
FRAME AND WHEELBASE
Frame type Tubular
Front suspension Parallelogram with friction damper
Rear suspension Leaf springs
Brakes Front – drum type, rear – band brake
Wheel size 19 x 3,50
DIMENSIONS
Length, mm
2 850
Width, mm
1 200
Height, mm
1 090
Wheelbase, mm
2 000*
Ground clearance, mm
   130
Seat height, mm
780*
Mass, kg
   338
Gas tank size, l
    18
Maximum speed, km/h
    53
Range, km
   272

* – Data on the results of the measurement at the exhibit of “Motorworld by V.Sheyanov”.