A three-wheeled van named Ercole (Hercules)


Not only on two wheels: Moto Guzzi also proves itself to be a prolific producer of agricultural machinery and three-wheeler vans. One in particular:“Ercole, il sollevatore di pesi” (Hercules, the weight lifter).

“Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Ercole of Mandello del Lario, the three-wheeled van with a prodigious 500 cm3 engine that boasts an extraordinary fuel efficiency. Ercole is a weight-lifting champion that, at full load, can overcome slopes of 16%!”. In 1956, by using just a circus-themed music in the background and one of those typical announcers’ voices from by-gone days, Carosello introduced the three-wheeled van named Ercole: the most famous of the ones made by Guzzi.

Moto Guzzi, in fact, does not only mean racing motorbikes, but also three-wheeled vans and machines intended for agricultural use. Already during the war, in 1941, a ministerial circular declares that the three-wheeled van is set to replace trucks for transportation of up to 12 tonnes in order to save fuel. It is the start of a production which little by little will be given the deserved credit. Moto Guzzi has been testing this kind of production as far back as the 1930s.

In post-war times, the passion for the three-wheeled van never wanes. A few companies, especially construction companies, continued to use this vehicle and Moto Guzzi was once again ready to do business. “Ercole” was its most successful vehicle: the production went on until 1976, with a grand total of 38,597 exemplars sold. Along with it, the version “Ercolino il trasformista” (Little Hercules the quick change artist) designed for transporting milk or frozen foods could also be combined with aerial ladders or other types of freight lifting equipment.

The testing of agricultural vehicles also began in the latter half of the 1950s: another proof of how Moto Guzzi was seeking new ways and markets for diversifying its industrial production. Its agricultural vehicles could be found in the form of milling machine, mowing bar, plow, trailer cart, pump and other equipment, showing themselves to be versatile products. The largest machine was the “Motocoltivatore Universale 486 cc” (Universal 486 cc rototiller), produced from 1964 to 1966.