1974 850 Eldorado & California - These 2 bikes are very similar. 
This is not the California version - Here is a link to the 1974 Moto Guzzi Eldorado Police California 850

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1974 Moto Guzzi LAPD Eldorado 850

In 1974 Guzzi sold a version of the 850 Eldorado for the California LAPD with Police accruements like siren, special saddles, saddle bags and some other nice upgrades and modifications not available on the standard 850 Eldorado being sold to the public.  However, they did ship a small number of the upgraded police 850 versions of the Eldorado minus the police accouterments- for sale to the public called  the CALIFORNIA 850 (link goes to a page all about the 1974 California 850).

This page is all about a real 1974 LAPD Moto Guzzi 850 Eldorado Police model

This Guzzi was used by the Malibu CHP substation, and purchased at highway patrol auction at the end of 1976. 

The CHP had put a little over 40,000 miles on it. It was in perfect condition except for a broken choke control. 

They removed the siren and radio and police gear, but the siren mount is still there.  Stock front disk brake, upgraded electrics, rear drive, and all other police edition upgrades for the latter part of 1974.  This one had all there was to have in a police edition motorcycle.  I have the police saddle bags, owners manual and Police model owners manual addition section. 

It was repainted in the late '80's and the solo seat was traded off for a more comfortable 2-up saddle that is a more comfortable ride.  It had repair or replace work done on the clutch, valves, cables and carbs all around 45,000 miles.  Currently has 61,000 miles on the bike.  Less than 20,000 civilian miles in 30 years.  
The Eldorado throttle cruise control double set screws are even working properly.                     

The bike was ridden regularly for several years around the Sacramento hills, a fantastic area to ride a motorcycle in.  I still have the original windscreen and the original police saddle bags. 
Although ridden for several years, it was parked in the garage in Sacramento from '90 till 01 - parked for another 11 years.  After getting a family half raised the owner finally decided to get her running again. 
The Eldorado was garage kept all it's life and it shows. 
No rust except those poorly chromed crash bars up front (a regular occurrence on forward crash bars on the loop frames).

After '01 it was only ridden occasionally for a couple years until the owner purchased a newer Guzzi SPIII. 
After that the Eldorado sat again in the garage collecting dust - but not rust ;)   In fact the owner said he was very much a fair weather rider and the Eldorado was never purposely ridden in the rain. 

This Eldorado is a solid strong motorcycle and ran without issues or problems and is said to have Never left the rider stranded - not once.  (I had a '71 Ambassador that had this kind of karma.)  I was told the bike has Never been down - although kids bicycles in the garage have left some nasty scratches on the front fender, which have been touched up and look pretty good now.  I inspected and road tested the bike and found it to be extremely fit and in excellent condition.  The choke lever appears to be the only thing which is broken and the old rubber ignition boot is torn.  Nothing feels sloppy or worn out, Everything else is working, all the switches, buttons, levers, Everything is fine -   Steering head, wheels, drive action, transmission are all tight and fluid in movement.  Man, this 5 speed transmission is really the ultimate smooth shifter - after 1st gear. 

You might notice the missing little tool box in some pics.  It is not missing.  It was inside one of the saddle bags.  Apparently when the bike was purchased the ignition key was broken off in the ignition.  The new owner had to get a new ignition & key.  He never had a good set of keys and never had a key to unlock that little tool box!  He had to cut the bolts off the tool box to remove it.  Curiously, he never got a new lock for the little box, and never tried to put it back on - in 30 years.  I was able to find a lock w/key and have re-attached the tool box.

There you have it.  A little history of this 1974 Moto Guzzi Eldorado Police motorcycle.  It is a very spirited "Vintage" motorcycle. 

When the original owner was helping me load it in my pickup truck he seemed nervous.  He said, "it has never ridden in the back of a pickup truck".  Wow, I was impressed - guess it really never stranded him - ever.  When I got it home I checked the fluids, replaced all the gasoline with new fuel, and stole my garden tractor battery for it.  I proceeded to pull the plugs to shoot a little oil in the cylinders and turn the engine but, I broke a spark plug and had to go buy a new pair.  Then I lubed each cylinder, rolled the engine a few times, put the new plugs in and pushed the button. 
 _Push the button and GO!  This baby fired right up - no choke or anything!  Without the choke at 40 degrees it did sputter and spit some, but still, she started right up!  I was not really surprised, because these Guzzi's have a reputation.  I was so happy with it that in the morning I went to the local Guzzi breakfast on it and have put about 100 + miles on it and loved the ride.  I have not even cleaned the motorcycle.  It is dirty from setting in a garage for 8 years and a little dirtier from my 100 mile ride. 

In 2008 - other comparable Eldorado's & Ambassadors are being sold on Ebay or elsewhere, being sold from $5 to $8,000 dollars. 
(A non-restored '73 Eldorado civilian model with 28,000 miles just sold on ebay for $7,400 - a '71 Ambo non-restored for $5,900. 
A '74 Eldorado civilian restored at Harpers Moto Guzzi for $18,000) 

The '74 LAPD Eldorado Police Edition is the most sought after model bar none.  This particular Eldorado Police Edition would sell for $7 to $9 thousand easy on Ebay.  But, I hate doing Ebay and much prefer to sell it local if possible.  I'll RIDE it for a while and enjoy it before selling it. 

Much of the rubber is - old (fuel lines, brake lines, other exposed rubber parts), and should be replaced.  The new owner will certainly want to get new brake lines, fuel lines and the like.  BONUS: There is a set of brand new rear brake shoes in the saddle bags too.

Perhaps I shouldn't have bought this bike to start with.  I was excited and got swept up in the chase and the opportunity to own the most sought after Guzzi of them all. 

For years I have been able to buy some really Great motorcycles, even some other Eldorado's, but not an actual LAPD Cop Shop Motorcycle.  However, If I keep them, I cannot purchase another one.  So, I tend to keep them for a little while and re-sell them so I can have funds to buy the next one, and the next one, and so on.  I tend to have way too many projects, not enough room, not enough riding time, not enough passion to maintain all my hobbies and projects.  So, I usually do buy - enjoy for a time - and re-sell.

UPDATE 3/13/08:  Waiting 1 week AFTER putting up this web page I went out and started to give it some love for the first time since acquiring it.  I washed, polished, reconditioned, repaired and replaced a few little things.   
As I was massaging it I think a little Guzzi karma started to ooze out - like a genie flows forth from Aladdin's lamp.  Soon 3 1/2 hours had whiled away, and standing back to see how it was coming I found an outstanding Glowing Eldorado !    I was astounded at how brilliant the chrome shone and the black paint held a deep rich quality and the pinstriping brightened with just the right amount of flourish.  Wow, I was really impressed.  Gotta take all new pictures now!  But, why stop there - - I hauled out the rounded side box and cop kettles (saddle bags), and spent another couple hours till I had them installed. 

I've been smitten by a Guzzi - again.

Had to go for a ride.  It was dusk and 42 degrees, but nice sky.  I pulled on the old leathers and guzzi helmet and off I went.  Marvelous, I swear these things run prouder when they are cleaned up and loved on.   Engine ran with stealthy smoothness and my new shock adjustment had it flowing over the roadway like a Mercedes Benz.   It was perfect time of late evening to test those nice chromed dual spot running lights.  I ran the backroads in a spirited excursion, and really loved every minute of it.  This is such a nice ride.

I keep reminding myself to find someone who does have some passion for a great vintage machine and sell this rare CHP Eldorado.  That is what I must do - eventually.  Perhaps it is you, or someone you know.  These vintage Moto Guzzi's are definitely collectors items that can be kept running forever.  See a good professional presentation of the '74 Eldorado at Cycle Garden and learn Civilian module vs. Police model details.

Update 3/16/08  Pictures of the Cleaned and polished motorcycle with all the goodies attached:


I will enjoy riding just once in a while it until it sells so that I can also have fond memories of the best Moto Guzzi ever built.  Hum, the Moto Guzzi National Rally is just down in Malibu CA this year.  It would be a fitting adventure to ride this Eldorado back to it's original CHP stomping ground.

Well, today 3/21/08 the Eldorado was sold to Jim Knighten.  I was Extremely reluctant to sell it because I know this was probably a Once in a Lifetime find.  But, I don't have much money, I don't have a big garage or shop, I am a man of very modest means.  So, I took LOTS of pictures and will hang onto my fond memories of this GRAND CHIP Moto Guzzi.  I'm sure hope the bike will fair well in the hands of Jim Knighten.  About 6 months later I found a '74 Moto Guzzi Eldorado Police California 850 

This Guzzi's story lives on: "74 LAPD Eldorado Restoration by Jim Knighten

1974 Eldorado 850 CHP Police model Moto Guzzi