Legendary motorcycle Designer, Umberto Todero Has Passed Away
By Mike Hanlon
March 1, 2005
March 2, 2005 Umberto Todero , one of the best known and most respected designers on the world motorcycling scene has passed away at the age of 82. Todero spent 66 years in the employment of Moto Guzzi, originally as a race mechanic on the World Championship winning single cylinder Grand prix bikes of the fifties, and from there onwards, he worked with the likes of Carlo Guzzi, Cesare Carcano, Enrico Cantoni, Lino Tonti, and Dr. John Wittner and played a hand in the design of every Moto Guzzi from the legendary 500cc V8 racer of the fifties through to the transverse V-twin engines that have become the marque's unmistakable signature.
As a race mechanic, Todero turned the spanners for the MotoGuzzi Grand Prix machines ridden by Fergus Anderson, Enrico Lorenzetti, Bill Lomas, Dicky Dale, and Keith Campbell.
From extracting the final few horsepower from the legendary DOHC Moto Guzzi singles, Todero went on to play a significant role in two of the most famous motorcycles of all time.
His work with Carcano in designing and building the legendary V8 500cc Grand Prix bike of the fifties was unfortunatelt curtailed when all of the Italian manufacturers decided to pull out of Grand Prix racing en masse. The bike remains today as one of the greatest engineering feats in history (in that it was far ahead of its time).
His influence continued through the design of the V7 Guzzi, the first of the v-twins that are now synonymous with the marque and continued onwards through the Moto Guzzi Le Mans 850.
The V8 stunned the GP world of the fifties where single cylinder motorcycles with 52 horses were the norm. To put the feat in perspective, by comparison, the Moto Guzzi V8 produced 78 bhp at a stunning 12,500 rpm, and was timed at 178 mph in 1957.
In later years Umberto could be persuaded start the V8 machine he had lovingly restored and ride it around the grounds of the Mandello del Lario factory on the banks of Lake Como - an aural treat for lovers of fine machinery.
Todero died yesterday afternoon, the victim of a terrible illness that struck him a few months ago, suddenly causing him to abandon his office and his beloved drawing instruments.
The official Moto Guzzi statement reads as follows: "We could write thousands of words to describe Umberto Todero and the 66 years he spent with Moto Guzzi. We could write thousands more to relate the many inspiring moments we spent listening to Umberto as he charmed us with tales and anecdotes of his life at Moto Guzzi and of his wartime experiences. These tales, packed with love, passion and suffering, taught so much, especially to younger colleagues who through them were able to discover a unique, unrivalled and unrepeatable world.
"At Mandello del Lario, we shall never forget the persistence and determination that distinguished Umberto Todero throughout his professional life and private life. We remember him today, and in future his memory shall be kept alive within Moto Guzzi by his achievements in design from the past and present, for Umberto Todero remained active as a designer up until the last moments of his life.
"Moto Guzzi stands by Umberto Todero's family in remembering a man who was able, through his uniquely genuine character, to teach so much, especially to those who knew how to listen, and to all who had the honour of knowing and appreciating him."
Vale Umberto Todero.