Motorcycle manufacturers as diverse as Douglas, Garelli and Victoria had produced supercharged motorcycles during the 1920s, but the first blown Moto Guzzi was the Compressore of 1930. However, like many of the other supercharging projects of the era, it didn’t progress beyond the prototype stage.
During the 1930s Excelsior, Rudge and Velocette also experimented with forced induction, but it was BMW in particular that achieved considerable competition success with its various supercharged racers. By the latter half of the decade it was clear that to compete at the highest level it was necessary to use supercharged engines, and so in 1937 Moto Guzzi created a single-cylinder 250 with a French Cozette compressor.
The Guzzi 250 Compressore debuted in 1938 and the great Nello Pagani rode the bike to eleven victories at Monza, along with seven further race wins that year at other circuits, and 16 more the following year.
The 250 Compressore’s engine was essentially the same as the normally aspirated 250 Monoalbero’s but with a lowered compression ratio. It produced 48hp at 7,500rpm, while top speed was around 112mph (180km/h), or over 137mph (220km/h) in post-war record-breaking specification with raised compression (8.5:1) and sometimes running on alcohol. After over 20 years of service Moto Guzzi ceased production of the 250 Compressore in 1959.
The machine on sale here is one of very few supercharged Moto Guzzi 250s. Called ‘Gerolamo’, it’s based on a Guzzi Albatros 250 and it was in the Gotthard Museum in Switzerland for 25 years until it was bought by the current owner five years ago. Its restoration was carried out by the well-known Guzzi specialist Vincenzo Beltrami during the late 1990s, and among its many interesting parts is an Italian supercharger, 21-inch wheels and, in place of tubular forks, a more rigid front end designed for record breaking.
It comes with its Moto Guzzi Certificate of Origin and this is a unique opportunity to buy a rare piece of history from one of Italy’s greatest manufacturers.