Dashing designer Duncan Quinn – aka DRIVEN’s own 007 – met up with Billy Joel recently at Moto Guzzi‘s Café Racer Rumble.

Turns out they have more in common than you think:

This is a man who gets where I am coming from.

In another life he’d have been a ’60s rocker in London hanging out at the Ace Café

In another life he’d have been a ’60s rocker in London and raced from the Ace Café to the Hanger Lane roundabout and back to see if he had the mettle to do the ton on a bike he’d put together himself in his garage.

Given his demeanor Billy would probably have managed it doing a wheelie with an “Uptown Girl” on roller skates tied onto the back with elastic bands, but then he’s just that sort of guy.

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He’d then come back and tell hilarious stories that enthralled his audience and made every single person in the room feel as if he’s their best mate.

But mostly he’d tell you how sexy motorbikes are. Especially Moto Guzzis.

He’d tell you how sexy motorbikes are – especially Moto Guzzis

Given there had been an earthquake that afternoon it seemed only appropriate to flee the city just in case this was the beginning of the end.

Obviously there could be few better places to experience the world coming to an end than the star’s own 20th Century Cycles in Oyster Bay, in the company of Mr. Joel and his collection of vintage bikes.

If all else failed there would be singing, boozing and general mayhem I was sure.

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The only problem was that everyone else seemed to have had the same idea.

At least in terms of fleeing the city.

One reason I love having a bike in Manhattan is that when it comes to escaping, traffic is never an issue.

I was handed a Moto Guzzi 8V Griso SE for my Great Escape

And although Steve McQueen rode a TT Special Triumph 650 to make his Great Escape I had been handed a Moto Guzzi 8V Griso SE for mine.

I actually think that in a weird way there is some of that spirit of escape in the Griso.

Perhaps it was the military green paint , the wide cow horn bars or the rumbling V-twin but something about it had me thinking of blasting up hill and down dale in order to jump a fence or two.

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As it was I had to settle for weaving through the car park that was the LIE that afternoon and then out into the fresh air and greenery of the north fork to meet up with a man who has certainly put his money where his mouth is when it comes to his professed love of bikes.

Ostensibly I was there to chat with him about the new Guzzi V7 Racer (of which more later) but I have to admit to spending more than a little time eyeballing his collection of Nortons, Vincents, Enfields, Triumphs, BSAs, and pretty much every other type of bike any bike nut would love to make his own.

Billy is a man for whom speed and acceleration alone are not the ultimate arbiters of taste

Billy is a man for whom speed and acceleration alone are not the ultimate arbiters of taste when it comes to picking his two wheels of choice.

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Just as I prefer characters with character, he prefers character in his bikes.

Hence his fairly recent Harley-Davidsons all decked out to look like bikes from the 1940s and 50s, or his Royal Enfield Bullet transformed to look almost more the café racer than any bike there.

Billy’s true love affair begins and ends with Moto Guzzis

For him though at least, it seems his true love affair begins and ends with Moto Guzzis.

For a bike that so few own he has so many.

A veritable treasure trove that bears testament to the slowly evolving lines and mechanical advancements of a marque known for its racing heritage and cherished for its character and personality.

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A distinctive rumble of torque and a unique style that can only be Moto Guzzi.

When asked which car marque Guzzi reminded him of most Billy pondered and then decided upon Ferrari, citing its racing heritage and engineering prowess.

I would have said Alfa Romeo. A lesser known gem with just as much heritage as Ferrari and character in spades.

A distinctive rumble of torque and a unique style that can only be Moto Guzzi

A certain politically incorrect English motoring correspondent would be the first to point out that no self-respecting petrol head could claim a passion for cars without having owned one.

And the same may be said about Moto Guzzi and those who profess a love for bikes….

DQ

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