OC Garage GIA 1 THUMBThe transition from horse drawn transportation to nations of car owners was thanks to innovative industrialists, often backed by governments keen to get the people moving. Germany had the Volkswagen Beetle, America the Ford Model T and Italy the Fiat 500. The first incarnation of the diminutive Fiat was the 500A, or Topolino as it was named due to it's resemblance to a little mouse. Production started just before WW2, 1936 in fact, and manufacture continued into the mid 1950s. Oscar Tasso of OC Garage based on Italy's Adriatic coast has fond memories of the Topolino saying, "There was a taciturn gentleman who had a garage, where he guarded one of these wonderful cars. Rarely, just a few times a year, the Topolino was pulled out of the garage and each time for me was a party. Every time, I stopped to look at her and listen to her voice which thrilled me. I was so excited by her smooth shapes, by her black and burgundy colors, by the smell of its exhaust; those emotions are still very vivid in me ... " Such was the impact on Oscar, he decided to build a tribute bike, keeping it Italian of course, and without a customer in mind the Millenovecento 36 is a personal project. OC Garage GIA 2 The donor is a 2002 Moto Guzzi Nevada that although in good order was completely pulled apart, Oscar doesn't do half measures. The bombproof v-twin was stripped and refreshed before receiving a few coats of gloss black paint. If you're taking one of these apart and splitting the transmission you may as well stick in a new clutch as it's mounted car-style behind the engine. Exhaust headers were made to visually blend in, through colour and by following the frame contours down to an under-slung collector, exiting short and low on the right hand side. OC Garage GIA 3Custom bikes are now at such a level that leaving old wiring looms in situ is no longer acceptable. Besides, the last thing you want is to spend all that time making something look handsome only to chase electrical gremlins down corroded wires. A lithium battery lives under the seat and powers a completely fresh loom and classically styled switch gear and all-in-one gauge. OC Garage GIA 4 Most Guzzis are beautiful, but the Nevada not so much. A model that just about survived a full ten round beating from the ugly stick. The foundations though are sound and the engine is one of the finest examples in motorcycling of form meeting function. The easiest way to deal with a Nevada is to remove the fuel tank and fit something else. On this occasion a CB350F vessel was repurposed, and the shape work perfectly, enhanced by the two-tone paint scheme. Oscar had the Topolino's burgundy and black painstakingly matched to achieve the exact hue of that defining childhood memory. OC Garage GIA 5The forks are of course freshly rebuilt, and as can be seen from these shots, every single nut and bolt on the bike is brand new and gleams against the black powder coat. Wide drag bars provide a commanding position, reminiscent of motorcycles from the 1930s. OC Garage GIA 6 A cheap looking, cast fork brace and bracket was never going to meet Oscar's standards, so he's fashioned this intricate, chrome plated fabrication to mount the hand-rolled mudguard, complete this resembles the radiator grille on the Fiat's nose. The Nevada was one Guzzi that didn't utilise the company's linked braking system, with just a single disc up front with a Brembo four-pot in charge of retardation, and by all accounts it works really well. History lesson over, Oscar renewed the entire braking system to compliment the rest of the build. OC Garage GIA 7Another Nevada bonus is the 16" rear wheel as standard, which allows fitment of a big, fat Firestone Deluxe Champion, for contrast and to add period touch, the front is a narrower, white wall version. The frame rails were trimmed and a classic loop sits above the rear mudguard, Oscar's handiwork again. A brown leather seat is solo in proportion and upholstered in brown leather. OC Garage GIA 8 Inspiration can be drawn from a myriad of sources and for Oscar another reason to work on a Moto Guzzi is always a treat and with no client to answer to or placate, he was able to revel in creative nostalgia. Successfully we would say. Check out more of Oscar's moving art the Bike Shed Archive | Facebook | Web
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