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Runway Success: An aviation-styled Guzzi from Costa Rica

Ready For Take-Off: An aviation-styled Moto Guzzi Le Mans cafe racer from Costa Rica
Not every builder we feature works on motorcycles for a living—for many, it’s a hobby or a sideline business. But we’ve never come across someone with as many hobbies as Gian Maria Traversone.

Gian works as a building contractor, but also runs GMT Atelier—a workshop on the beach in the tropical paradise of Guanacaste, Costa Rica in Central America. With the help of his crew Esteban and Robinson, he restores classic cars and builds custom bikes. It’s also where he race preps his Lancia Delta S4 for vintage rallies. Yip, Gian’s a rally driver too…and a pilot.

Ready For Take-Off: An aviation-styled Moto Guzzi Le Mans cafe racer from Costa Rica
That last pastime provided creative direction for GMT Atelier’s latest motorcycle—this aviation-inspired 1982 Moto Guzzi Le Mans. It’s Gian’s personal bike, and it’s loaded with clever and unique touches.

We’ve seen some ghastly aviation-inspired bikes over the years, but this one’s particularly well executed. GMT Atelier even tailor-made new bodywork for the Le Mans, designing it to taper off in the same way that a plane’s fuselage does.

Ready For Take-Off: An aviation-styled Moto Guzzi Le Mans cafe racer from Costa Rica
The tank’s a aluminum affair, while the fairing and tail section were shaped using fiberglass. The subframe’s been trimmed and cleaned up for a more compact rear. And that worn-in look on the seat is actual wear and tear—Gian had it upholstered with leather from an old jacket.

There’s a new set of shocks out back, but the forks, wheels and brakes are all stock. Gian’s tweaked the steering angle a touch though, by cutting and welding the neck. Everything’s been refurbished, naturally, and the front brake’s been upgraded with aircraft-grade lines.

Ready For Take-Off: An aviation-styled Moto Guzzi Le Mans cafe racer from Costa Rica
Gian sent the motor off to Team Guzzi Motobox—specialists in Spain who prepare Le Mans engines for endurance racing. They treated it to a head job, and rejetted the carbs. Back home, Gian whipped up new mufflers, and a pair of velocity stacks with built-in filters. He also modified the intakes to get the carbs to sit at a better angle aesthetically.

The Guzzi’s been rewired, and the battery now hides behind the transmission. Running gear is minimal; we’re not sure what Costa Rica’s roadworthy regulations are, but we’re not seeing any lights beyond the one in the fairing. So the cockpit’s pretty neat too, with a couple of simple micro-switches handling the basics.

Ready For Take-Off: An aviation-styled Moto Guzzi Le Mans cafe racer from Costa Rica
It’s the speedo that’s really interesting though—mainly because it’s not actually a speedo. It’s an air-speed gauge, and it’s fully functional. Gian hooked it up to a ‘pitot tube’ on the front fender, and a static line across the fairing, so it’ll happily tell you how many knots you’re doing.

Off-the-shelf parts include new rear sets, grips, and a Monza-style gas cap. And while the Guzzi’s running basic Michelin tires, they’re sporting Pirelli P Zero logos, as a curious nod to motor racing. (The logos were cut from vinyl, then bonded to the rubber.)

Ready For Take-Off: An aviation-styled Moto Guzzi Le Mans cafe racer from Costa Rica
Gian looked to the Italian navy’s acrobatics squad—Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale—for the Moto Guzzi’s final finishes. The navy insignia in the place of the ‘O’ in the logos on the sides of the tank is an obvious hit, but the paint job’s also littered with warning messages and markings you’d find on planes.

Take a closer look at the tank, and you’ll notice that it’s adorned with some pretty unusual graphics—the maneuver diagrams that PAN pilots keep in their cockpits while performing. A tattoo artist friend of Gian’s applied these using a transfer process.

Ready For Take-Off: An aviation-styled Moto Guzzi Le Mans cafe racer from Costa Rica
When all was said and done, GMT dragged the bike into a nearby hangar for these photos. “A hangar where they rebuild crop dusting planes,” he tells us. “They change the old radial engines for turboprops. Another passion of mine.”

With all these hobbies, let’s hope Gian finds the time to put some miles into this Le Mans. Otherwise we’re going to have to book a flight to Costa Rica and do it for him.

Ready For Take-Off: An aviation-styled Moto Guzzi Le Mans cafe racer from Costa Rica