Death Machines of London released their custom Airforce motorcycle for the public recently. The bike was inspired by Giovanni Ravelli, a renowned WWI fighter pilot and aviator and motorcycle racer. Ravelli won the nickname “the Italian Devil.” With his partners, Ravelli founded Moto Guzzi. Not only was Ravelli the inspiration for the bike, Death Machines of London also sought out one of his motorcycles to make Airforce. They found a 1982 Moto Guzzi LeMans Mk2 wasting away in a yard in southern Italy. Despite the corrosion caused by the salt air, the engine was largely intact. Still, Death Machines did a complete forensic inspection, vapor cleaning and reassembly, and replacement of bearings and seals gaskets.
There wasn’t much need to improve on the Guzzi Tonti frame. Aside from the de-lugging and subframe modifications, Death Machines also customized a head stock to increase the rake to 30 degrees. They also replaced the swing arm with a Moto Guzzi California swinging arm. Among other modifications, there were plenty of custom parts added to Airforce.
The bodywork was accomplished using a wood skeleton that was wrapped in aluminum. This process resulted in tiny imperfections from the machining. Rather than fill these dents and pin holes in, the team left them as a tribute to post-war innovation.
As a final testament to a commitment to quality, the bike was finished in just 112 days, but was kept from the public until they could fix the things only they knew about.