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Once again your P.A.G. scribe Albert Crackleport has pulled off a world scoop! The first ‘official’ road test of the newly created Moto Guzzi engine conversion option for the Pembleton Super Sport.

Now quite a few Pembleton kit builders have gone this way in the engine department since the launch of the Super Sport eight years ago, and mating Guzzi power to the 2CV gearbox goes back many years prior to that, so it was with great anticipation that I journeyed from the wild and windy moors of Yorkshire south to Bayton during the Easter Holiday 2008 to see how Phil Gregory at Pembleton Motor Co had tackled the conversion.

Weather forecasts the previous week were threatening snow so how lucky was I that Saturday dawned with clear skies. Windy and cold but dry. Just the job, considering the time of year, for a blast through the Worcestershire countryside in a vintage style open three wheeler.

Phil wheeled the car out of the garage so that I could first have a good look at the new setup. You’ve got to admit that not only does Phil have a superb engineering ability but he also has an eye for ‘Vintageness’ and what is visually right and wrong.

Obvious to me straight away was the revised front shocker set up, can you see any others from the two pictures below?

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Phil’s insistence on correct ‘vintage’ engine position in relation to the front wheels has meant that quite a few changes have been made to the mobile test rig (Old No 1) I may be putting too much emphasise on ‘looks’ here, the reason the positioning of these two main elements is important is first and foremost for the handling, looking correct is a welcome by-product.

So first let’s look at the adapter plate between the engine and the gearbox. Conventional around the centre, doing the job of holding the afore mentioned components together. No modifications to flywheel or clutch necessary. Easy so far….on the top and part of the adapter plate are the new shock mountings, engine to chassis mounts, and headlamp mounts. In fact this plate is quite an important piece in the jigsaw. Secondly and barely noticeable are the lengthened suspension arms.. I’m guessing here but possibly lengthened by about 75mm (or 3" in old money) Also attached to the arms are the revised bottom shock mounts. Thirdly and none the less important are the lengthened track rod adjusters which will also be specially made for customers.

Now here’s the best bit of all………….the standard Super Sport chassis does not require any modification to benefit from Moto Guzzi power ! The gearbox adapter picks up the standard engine mounts as normal.

That means I guess that existing owners of Pembleton Super Sports can change to this option at any time should they wish.

Phil tells me that the benefit of these changes surprised even him so much that he has no intention of re-fitting the faithful little 2CV motor. Now that is some conversion because any Pembleton kit builder will know how much of a staunch believer in Citroen boxers Phil was (probably still is, he just likes Guzzi’s as well now)

Guzzi adapter plate No information available Standard engine mounts/lamp bar
(Note- mount pre-production)

The front shocks are specially sourced by Pembleton Motor Co and as always are specific to the model application.

Lengthened 2CV Suspension arm

Revised shock mount
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Think that covers the technical part, let’s warm up the V Twin and go for a drive.

The motor in the demo car was not taken from a complete bike and as such the history and the spec of it are a bit sketchy.. A previous owner has told of it being overbored to 900 or 1000cc. Visually it looks like any other Moto Guzzi from the mid 80’s. Definitely not of Le Mans origin.

It’s probably of a type fitted to the popular Guzzi T3. Let’s assume it is and therefore we would be expecting around the 50bhp mark. Should the previous owners theory be correct with the overboring then maybe we have at our resource today about 60bhp. Either way double the power of the standard 2CV motor. Fuel is pumped to the VHB 30 flat slide Dell’Ortos via a fuel pump, there is also a take off return pipe to eliminate any flooding issues with the previously gravity fed needle valves inside the carbs.

Starter motor is standard 2CV and charging system is standard Guzzi. Exhaust exits through BSA type silencers either side of the car. This results in a gorgeous burble just behind the ear…. Last mod over standard is the fitting of a Dyane crown wheel to further lengthen the gearing on top of the advantage gleaned from the fitting of the Camac crossplys.

I must discuss gearing before we move on…Notice how I said lengthen in the previous paragraph? The fitting of the Dyane crown wheel does raise the cruising speed as you all know but by fitting higher gearing you not only alter the gear ratios but the gaps between the gears. Now it depends on your motor characteristics whether that’s a good thing to do or not. If you have a highly tuned BMW motor fitted to your Pembleton Brooklands it may not be for the best….or a standard 2CV in a Super Sport it may not be for the best either. You may find yourselves outside the power band more than in it ! Don’t be disappointed after a long build…ask Phil, he’s tried all options and can advise you.

Settling into the familiar Pembleton cockpit I’m ready for the off……All controls are standard 2CV bar the string covered steering wheel. Push the gear lever over to the left and back and gently up with the clutch, (Don’t want to set off with masses of wheelspin or worse stall under the watchful eye of the cars creator.) I short shift through the first two gears, I’m soon lolloping along in third with a whiff of throttle.. That exhaust note is pure music to my ears as we lazily take the corners still in third and then throttle up to speed again.

As discussed previously the spec of the motor is unknown, but what is known is it’s got absolutely masses of torque. Power band? Nah! Don’t need one this Moto Guzzi just pulls and pulls. Then pulls and pulls more. The often experienced wheel patter seem by many who are using standard 2CV shocks on Super Sport models has gone, the new position allows the shock absorber to use far more of it’s movement and therefore offer more control.

In my short drive I probably reached speeds of about 60mph, the gearing spec was matched spot on to the motor and although I didn’t experience a lot of body roll in my own Pembleton (No 2) there wasn’t a hint of it during my drive in Old No1.

I could go on and on about the test drive but I just want to finish with some personal reflection about the Pembleton driving experience and what the Moto Guzzi brings to the party…..

Discuss…….Driving a Pembleton (according to me) is the following…………

Delight at having made it yourself…
A vintage motoring feel…….Pioneer spirit ….. Fresh air…….Bugs in your teeth…….Rain stinging like hell!
Camaraderie with fellow kit builders……
No hassle spare part sourcing…
Friendly conversation whenever you stop…

Here’s the add on with Guzzi power….(according to me)

You’ve got instant ‘push back in your seat’ power under your right foot!
You need to watch out for corners because you may be so absorbed with accelerating!
It’s a race horse but not so highly strung it’s uncontrollable…


Click on the link below for my Google Videos of the test drive Apologies for the wind noise in advance but hey…it’s not the BBC. Make sure your sound is on to hear it!

Click here to see Crackleport's Video

Carry on Pembling
Albert Crackleport

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