Carlo Guzzi’s first prototype motorcycle of 1919 was unconventional in that its single-cylinder engine was installed horizontally, and by the end of the 1930s the ‘flat single’ had established itself as a Guzzi hallmark. Guzzis were first used by the Italian Army in the late 1920s, prompting the introduction of a model specifically for military use in 1932. This was the GT17, based on the civilian GT16 with a 498cc inlet-over-exhaust engine, three-speed gearbox and sprung frame.
By 1939 4,810 GT17s had been delivered and a lightened, improved 4-speed development, the GT20, was put into service. The GT20 was renamed ‘Alce’ (elk) soon after its introduction and would serve as the Italian Army’s primary motorcycle during WW2, with over 6,000 being delivered up to 1943.
Post-war the Alce was updated with the more powerful overhead-valve engine of the GTV/GTW. This was the Superalce, and it remained in service with the Italian Army and the Carabinieri well into the 1950s. The Italian Army version was finished in dark olive green with burnished accessories, while the Carabinieri model was in light olive green with chrome fittings.
The Superalce Italian army version offered here is in completely unrestored original condition, and it comes to sale with all its panniers and other military-issue equipment. It was used by, or at least owned by the Italian Army until 1993 when it was bought by a Mr. Cavenaghi of Milan. It remained in his collection until three years ago when he sold the bike to the current owner. It also comes with a declaration from the Transport and Materials Service Italian Office” which confirms that Cavenaghi bought the bike from the Italian Army administration in 1993. A wonderful old workhorse that will appeal especially to those with penchant for classic military vehicles.