Not long after publishing V1000 Le Mans Part III, Guzzi insider Darren Buckley sent a link this jaw drop Le Mans listed on offer at eBay. One of two or three rock solid contacts in the area, Darren gets the current Guzzi classics like few others – a mix of experience and passion. Packed with solid photos and information, seller Warren Walmsley had seen my two-part feature on Agostini’s 1000cc Le Mans in the UK’s RealClassic Magazine, and cheerfully replied to my inquiry. Sold without any kind of written documentation, Warren’s only clue was the Guzzi’s original destination; Western Australia, where Ted Stolarsky was located then. Carefully built using correct-for-the-series Agostini hardware and knowing of Stolarsky’s deep ties in Mandello gives plenty of pause for thought. More than just a client or contact, the late Ted Stolarsky was a cherished and now dearly missed friend of Alis Agostini and family. Feel free to compare this example against another Stolarsky-prepped Le Mans V1000.
Stamped April, 1982, this manufacturing date coincides with Agostini V1000 Le Mans production. That may or may not matter, as according to Warren sales receipts list a Gilardoni 88mm piston and cylinder kit. These components were (and are, from varied suppliers) available, but were part of the performance package already installed by Agostini for the factory requested production to DMB in Germany. Unless damage required replacement, we’re forced to assume these were added later, but it was common for enthusiasts to approach Stolarsky for special orders. These, knocked out perhaps between Stolarsky’s own super-fast Guzzi racers. Whatever the case and history may be, if the goal was building an authentic Agostini Le Mans V1000III replica, it was met. Save for some obvious (and easily changed) bits, it faithfully follows the original with blueprint-quality precision.
Most components are confirmed, except the valve sizes and camshaft grind. A short review on Agostini tuning practice recalls the round head V1000 cylinder heads were fit with larger diameter 46.5 and 40mm inlet and exhaust valves, stronger springs and other (secret) reworking, including opening the exhaust ports to 40mm. Alis discontinued the option on the square-fin V1000III engines due to unstable castings. “On this engine the inlet ports are reshaped and polished” reports Warren, who duly notes the correct 40mm Dell’Orto tickler carbs, manifolds, and the audible whine from Agostini’s 3-gear timing/oil pump drive set. Another Agostini (and factory) option included is the close ratio ZD-code five speed transmission, which combined with the 8/33 rear ratio to drive top speeds past 145-mph. “I suppose it would look even more authentic with the Lafranconi Competizione exhausts and red Marzocchi shocks,” Warren says. “But the 2-into-1 just sounds too good to remove.”
(Parked in Austrailia: another Stolarsky- V1000. Note cut fairing. DMB 992cc in black, circe 1983. V1000 Agostini brochure photograph)
Not heavily modified by Agostini, the chassis holding Warren’s Aussie-flyer together retains most of its factory outfitting. This includes engine-to-frame venting (instead of Duilio’s patented alloy breather can) narrower 180mm spaced trees, 18” FPS wheels, and Guzzi’s own 35mm fork, now uprated with FAC air dampeners. As part of its uprating, the 850III’s 20mm longer swingarm and longer shocks carry over as well. Also retained on Agostini’s special production, braided lines route between Moto Guzzi integral brake system, finished using Brembo 2p calipers and 300mm (front) rotors. “Clearly this Le Mans isn’t an Agostini-build,” says Warren. “But I did wonder, given its specification and vastly increased output. Some of the old guys I know ride Ducati – Hailwood replica, 750, 900SS, 750 Sport, Darmah, and this Le Mans will show them all a clean pair of heels. Especially in an uphill pull out of a slow corner. Its explosiveness kind of shuts down the “Italian tractor” comments…for a while anyway.”
“Some of my mates ride high performance Desmos – 900 Super Sport, MHR, Darmah 900…and this Le Mans shows them all a clean pair of heals.”
Best described as a posh endurance racer, it’s the V1000’s lines that get it noticed. Looking just a touch smaller in red than white, Agostini sprayed matching factory paint on its fiberglass bodywork, and mounting it using many of the original attachment points. Other than omitting the ‘Le Mans’ script, the slashing black/red/gold graphics on Warren’s Le Mans are nearly spot-on. This one being in one-piece as delivered, Stolarsky was known to cut the fairing horizontally, enabling just the lower portion to be removed for service and leaving the rest undisturbed. More conjecture led me to believe Stolarsky trimmed the Agostini solo saddle into a two-seater, but this bike uses a totally different part that retains the stock 850 III fender and taillamp. Whatever the case, it incorporates a Stucchi seat and lower, Agostini rearset controls, Included in the parts stash were the correct LaFranconi comps, and if left to this writer those would be added, but I’d keep the far superior Koni/Icon shocks.
(Non-standard 2-into-1 measures 40mm, Koni/Icon shocks also differ. 40mm Dell’Orto use tickers instead of chokes. Saddle is pure Stolarsky)
With everyone so busy, some months passed between visits with Warren. Responding to a recent message informing him of this feature, I learned the V1000 and other bikes from Warren’s collection have since been sold. “At 74 and with no side stand, I found it increasingly bothersome to park the bike,” explained Walmsley. “It feels better knowing the new owner – who has a large Guzzi collection, was very excited to get it.” It’s wasn’t exactly cheap nor should it be, and I must admit to running some numbers in my head while peeking at shipping costs from Australia. And why not? Every close inspection reveals another detail – like the dust guards grafted to the forks and correct tube engine guards.
All of the Tonti Le Mans models are motorcycles worth owning, but the pull of Agostini’s magical V1000 production for Germany makes it a favorite. Given those who originally engineered it, no Guzzi street bike carries more heritage. Getting back to our feature bike, much allure would certainly come from it being assembled by the iconic Ted Stolarsky; a man so respected, even the great Arturo Magni named a bike after his homeland. Being honest, it is just as impressive to imagine some (very talented) enthusiast piecing this together at home or in a small workshop. With some patience and for far less the cost of a new open-classer, one could build it today -this no doubt an easier proposition that finding a real one. In the end, whoever did this work knew exactly what an Agostini Le Mans V1000 III was inside and out, and that’s good enough for me. Nolan Woodbury
1982 Moto Guzzi V1000 Le Mans III
949cc – 88 x 78mm, close ratio five-speed, shaft drive.
Tuning: Two PHM 40mm Dell’Orto, Ergal gear drive, 40mm performance exhaust,
Steel tube cradle w/ detachable side rails, Moto Guzzi 35mm forks, FPS cast wheels Details: Agostini full fiberglass fairing, rearset controls, special badges. and V1000 Le Mans/DMB graphics package.
Wet weight: 500-lb
Top speed: 137-mph