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Talking of Spadas …

Posted by on January 29, 2011

Of course, this is normally what springs to mind when most of us think of a Guzzi Spada, and this one now resides with us.

These pictures date from 1984 or thereabouts. Sitting astride, ready for the off, is proud new owner Giovanni Ongaro (Gian to his many mates), deeply-missed Guzzi and Alfa guru of West Cornwall. The bike is a Spada Royale, a UK-only limited edition dreamed up by importers Coburn and Hughes to sell their remaining mark 1s to make room for the much-improved mark 2s (or Spada NT as it was known in the UK) soon to arrive from Italy. Fitted panniers, comedy King & Queen seat and a stylish metallic cherry red paint scheme set the Royale apart from a standard bike and raised the price by £500 to £2799.

This bike was arguably the very first Royale. Here it is gracing the Coburn and Hughes stand at London’s 1979 Earls Court bike show and carrying a price tag of £2899.

It might even be the bike that figured in the magazine advert of the time, but more of that on another occasion.

The bike’s fairing had to be replaced quite early in Gian’s 20-year ownership, and if it ever matched the rest of the bike, then it certainly doesn’t now. Where the original Dream Machine paint on the tank, mudguards and side panels still glows, the fairing has turned a flat, dull, inelegant brown.

The tinware still carries its original hand-applied gold pin-stripping, but the three-part fairing has had to make do with stick-on stuff, inexpertly applied.

It would be wrong to over-restore such an otherwise well loved, low mileage and original bike, but I simply canot bear to look at that fairing any longer. It’s new paint and pinstriping will be done lovingly by two of Gian’s old friends and collaborators. All very fitting.


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