General Category > General Discussion

Fly/Ride California T3 in Italy

(1/3) > >>

The background context: I have fully retired as of this June and am living in Italy full-time. The original plan was to put my 2012 V7 Classic into a container when I ship some personal goods over. But, in a rare moment of thinking ahead, I asked my wife (a.k.a. The French Chick, because she is... French) to go down to the local ACI (the Italian equivalent of AAA in the US) branch and inquire about the procedure for importing a bike.The French chick speaks perfect Italian having lived in Italy for almost 20 years-- I am learning, slowly. She got as far as saying "my husband is American and wants to bring his motorcycle into Italy" when the woman looked up from her computer and said "are you SURE you want to do this?" I understood enough to know she was referring to a regulatory gauntlet that apparently would be involved and decided on the spot that it would be easier to sell the V7 Classic in the US and buy another Guzzi here already in the Italian system. Initially, I started looking for another (used) V7 but noticed that they seemed to run about $1000 higher than in the US. Gradually, my attention shifted to T5s and the occasional T4 or G5 that would pop up in the ads here. Oh, and a nice Mille GT came up and I even flirted with the idea of a nice 750 SP. But mostly it was all T5s that I was considering and most of those were former police bikes (PA- public administration). I was constantly on the lookout but never actually going to see any bike because we were so tied up working on the small vineyard and olive grove we have here. And then it happened-- an ad appeared mislabeled as being for a T5 but it was a 1981 T3 California. I still can't fully explain how/why this ad stuck with me. I certainly had never considered a T3. The ad said something about custom work done in Germany... I asked the French Chick if she would call. She got "Lorenzo" on the phone who said it wasn't his bike, he just placed the ad since the owner wasn't internet savvy. Turns out Lorenzo is the president of a local motorcycle club and has a deep affection for Guzzis (I'll have to do a separate thread on that). After about 20 minutes of chatting, Lorenzo tells my wife he'll get off the call and call the owner and see if the owner will want to talk to us. About five minutes later, Lorenzo calls back and gives us the number for Giuseppe who owns the bike. Another call ensues, this one lasts about 30 minutes. Giuseppe is Italian but lived in Germany for a long time and is married to a German woman and they speak German in the house. In 1991, he bought the T3 in Italy and rode it back to Germany, He said he thought it was a little under-powered so he took it to a Guzzi specialist who put in a Gilardoni kit, taking to 949 cc, put in timing gears instead of the timing chain, swapped in DelOrto 36 carbs, and put Brembo gold brakes in the front (delinked). He had a heart attack and they decided to move back to Italy for his health, he had two more heart attacks and decided to sell the T3 (he still rides a scooter). I decided I had to take a look. The only problem was the bike was near Lecce, in the heel of the boot of Italy in the Puglia region and we live in southern Tuscany. I hadn't been looking at bikes that were an hour away because of our work schedule. But,,,, a T3 California, with some really nice, interesting people associated with it... I took a train to Rome, flew to Brinidisi, and drove a rental car to near Lecce. Meanwhile, Giuseppe had taken the bike in for an official servicing and technical inspection (required in order to transfer ownership). Made a deal with Giuseppe including having him store the bike until I could come get it, he took me to the local ACI branch where he obviously knew everyone and we finalized the ownership transfer. I returned home the next day. All this was back in late May. On June 14, I flew to the US to try to get some things there ready to sell (including the V7 Classic-- I needed the fund to pay for the T3!) and I returned to Italy on the 27th where the French Chick and Scout the wonder dog were waiting for me at the Rome airport at 7 AM and we started driving south. We had decided to make a mini-vacation out of the adventure and stopped in Termoli on the Adriatic coast for the first night. On the 28th we drove the Galatina (where Lorenzo lives and not far from Giuseppe's). We all had dinner together that night and the next day Lorenzo gave us a tour of Galatina which was in the middle of a festival and then we went to the beach near Gallipoli for lunch and a swim. Another dinner that night and then on the 30th Giuseppe and his wife on their scooter led us out of town and got us on the right road to Taranto to begin the journey home-- me on the T3 following the French Chick and Scout in the pace car. I'm a pretty casual rider anyway and in this case wanted to be extra cautious riding a new-to-me bike and we had decided to stay off major highways while taking a route through the center of Italy to stay in the mountains and, hopefully, get some relief from the heat. Did I mention the temperature yet? Most of the way back it was 40 degrees Celsius (104 F)! I had taken my protective riding gear for the trip but in the end decided I could either die from the heat (wearing all the gear) or die from the road (if in an accident) but at least I could hope to avoid an accident-- there was no escaping the heat. So I rode in a lightweight long-sleeved shirt and jeans.... It was so hot I could only ride for about 90 minutes at a time before needing a break, and a water stop. So, we stopped in some lovely towns along the way. I have tried to recreate our route in the map below but couldn't force Google Maps to take all the little roads we took. But, the resulting map is very close. I suspect the total distance was closer to 900 km than the figure shown. A picture of me at the outset and another of the "beast" in its very own garage at the end of an interesting trip. Happy to provide more details or photos to anyone interested, but this is already a too-long post.

Great post, awesome story. Can't wait to hear more as you enjoy travels on the new Guzzi in Italy.

Hard to read on the phone when not broken into paragraphs, but congratulations on making it to retirement, moving to Italy, and a super cool liking bike.

Very cool bike and story. 

The more I hear about buying/selling/owning/moving vehicles in some other parts of the world, the more I realize how easy it is to do the same here in the States.

Very good read! Living your best life.  :bow:

Seems to be some excellent improvements to a beautiful bike. Should serve you well. You didn't comment on the performance of the machine, but 'no news' is definitely good news when the first ride is 900 km and no mention is made of the bike.



[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version