Lino Tonti

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Lino Tonti
Born (1920-09-16)September 16, 1920
Cattolica, Italy
Died June 8, 2002(2002-06-08) (aged 81)
Occupation Motorcycle designer
Employer Benelli, Aermacchi, Mondial, Paton, Bianchi, Gilera, Moto Guzzi
The Tonti frame stands out in red on this 1972 V7 Sport.
1955 LinTo-Aermacchi Record.
1969 Linto 500GP.

Lino Tonti (September 16, 1920 – June 8, 2002) was an Italian motorcycle engineer known for designing a number of sport and racing motorcycles in the 1950s and 1960s, and for creating his signature 'Tonti frame' for Moto Guzzi's 1967 V7 Sport, setting his stamp on all Moto Guzzis since.[1][2]


Tonti's first job was at Benelli, where he worked on a road racing supercharged four, and then after World War II he went to Aermacchi.[1] In 1957 he went to work for Count Giuseppe Boselli at F.B. Mondial, and helped break MV Agusta's Moto GP dominance of lightweight two-stroke Grand Prix motorcycle racing in that year.[3] After Mondial made a secret deal with Gilera, Moto Guzzi, and MV Agusta to quit racing, Tonti went to Bianchi where he designed 250 cc four-stroke twins.[3]

With his assistant Alcide Biotti, Tonti built the Linto Grand Prix racer, a four-stroke twin that reached fourth place in the 1968 championship, and placed second in 1969, and continued to make appearances against more powerful two-strokes in 1970 1971 and 1972.[4] It was a six-speed pushrod straight-twin engine made in 1967–68 using the top ends, that is, the cylinders and heads, from Aermacci's horizontal single DS racer, combined with a new crankcase.[4]

Lino Tonti joined Moto Guzzi in 1967 to replace Carcano. There he developed the V7 Sport, the small block V50, and the iconic Tonti Frame.

In the 1970s, Tonti helped his longtime friend Reno Lioni in his efforts to fit Ducati fork dampers in the Moto Guzzi racer he was campaigning in American AMA Superbike racing.[3]


  1. ^ a b de Prato, Bruno (September 2002), "Lino Tonti, 1920-2002. (Clipboard)", Cycle World, Hachette Filipacchi Magazines  – via General OneFile (subscription required), pp. 110+ 
  2. ^ Ash, Kevin (April 9, 2012), "Moto Guzzi V7 Special review - The new Moto Guzzi V7 Special has the style of the Seventies but with the ride quality of today.", The Telegraph 
  3. ^ a b c Cameron, Kevin (2007), Top Dead Center: The Best of Kevin Cameron from Cycle World Magazine, Motorbooks, pp. 188–189, ISBN 9780760327272 
  4. ^ a b Cameron, Kevin (October 28, 2010), "Aermacci's Glorious Attempt", Cycle World