While many know the name Moto Guzzi in connection with a very eclectic collection of tranverse V-twin motorcycles, less obvious is its connection with aviation, in the person of its co-founder, Giovanni Ravelli. To acknowledge this fact, and commemorate Ravelli’s birthday 130 years ago, Death Machines of London (DMOL) has released “Airforce”, a custom cafe racer based on the Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk II.

Starting with a 1982 Le Mans Mk II, DMOL – previously featured on paultan.org with the Triumph-based DMOL02 “Up yours copper”, a tribute to journalist and author Hunter S Thompson – rescued it from a yard in southern Italy, where it had been lying after a disagreement with a truck, rusting away outdoors in the sun and salt air.

Finding the engine to be in fairly good condition, DMOL replaced the bearings, seals and gaskets, with the cylinder heads completely refurbished and gas-flowed. A pair of 36 mm Dell’Orto carburettors were fitted, coupled with velocity stacks and open slash cut headers made in-house.

Attention then turned to the legendary Moto Guzzi “Tonti” frame, which, in its day, rated right alongside Ducati’s famous trellis for handling prowess. A custom head stock was made, increasing the rake by 3 degrees to 30, and a Moto Guzzi California swing arm was braced and mated to the frame with a cantilever monoshock.

Bodywork for Airforce is hand-built and custom-made, and the entire affair was then coated in “Airforce Grey”, a custom colour created specifically for this build. The wheels are from California hubs in 21 x 3.00, and modified to carry a hand-spun aluminium cover on the rear wheel.

The front end is taken from an Aprilia RS250, highly modified, customised, re-valved and re-finished, while the rear monoshock is sourced from suspension specialists Hagon. For front end braking, Airforce uses Brembo four-piston callipers, coupled with an RCS master cylinder, clamping custom 300 mm diameter steel discs made by DMOL to resemble a drum brake.

As with everything DMOL makes, the devil is in the details, and the specifications list for Airforce is very extensive. As is their wont, DMOL makes a lot of stuff in-house, including the clip-on tubes, grips, and internal throttle, along with pegs and controls working on a modified Stucchi gear change linkage.

Reverse levers, also made by DMOL and dubbed Inverse Levers IN01, are precision machined from aircraft grade aluminium, and will soon be available for purchase from the DMOL catalogue. Inside the cockpit, the speedometer was redesigned, then precision etched in nickel silver and brass, with dimmable radial illumination and starting Airforce is done with a quarter-inch guitar jack with immobiliser.

Going old school for the bodywork, all the aluminium panels on “Aircraft” are hand-beaten on wooden bucks, in the traditional manner. All the bodywork was left unfinished to show the dimples and dents left behind by hand-forming, something usually covered up with body filler and paint.

However, the inside of the front-fairing was painted in high-gloss, and the concave lower of the fuel tank is polished to reflect this. A double-skinned belly pan covers the exhaust pipes, and an Italian leather seat features a hand-stitched with an air-flow pattern to give the impression of movement.

In Malaysia, Moto Guzzi, located at The Gasket Alley in Petaling Jaya, carries the V7 III Stone (RM66,900), V7 III Racer (RM81,900), V7 III Special (RM71,900) and V7 III Anniversario (RM80,900). Also available is the Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer at RM73,900 and V9 Bobber at RM74,900.