Skip to main content

1959 Ducati 175cc F3 Production Racer

Sold for US$89,700 inc. premium
Lot 163
1959 Ducati 175cc F3 Production Racer

Frame no. F512
Engine no. F512

1959 Ducati 175cc F3 Production Racer

Phil Schilling, the former editor of the iconic Cycle magazine wrote a piece entitled "Satisfied Mind": "Right there on page 10 (May 1959 issue) sat that bike with Franco Farne, an Italian racing champion. Farne won the Class 4 lightweight race at Daytona with his 175cc (F3) Ducati: a low, lean, hard little machine with an enormous double-scoop front brake. The motorcycle was so purposeful, so elegant, so perfect. Raw, green lust streaked my desire for a machine like that."

With production of the overhead camshaft singles well underway for 1958 the Formula 3 superseded the Marianna (the Gran Sport's nickname) as a catalogued production racer. The F3 was first offered as a 125 and 175, and from 1960, a 250, and was still largely Marianna based. Almost nothing, however, from the production street bikes was used in the F3.

The frame was quite different, being lower and lighter, with a lower steering head, shorter 35mm steel or aluminum Marzocchi fork legs, and used a shorter swing arm. Although the F3s were genuine factory racers they suffered through being too expensive and were penalized by the 4-speed gearbox. Amadoro brakes (175mm front and 260mm rear, and magnesium castings on this machine) were typically installed, usually with air scoops, both front and rear, and laced to 18in rims. The motor was a twin-cam (bialbero bevel drive, over-square 62x57.8mm 4-stroke single using sand cast crankcases and a 4-speed gearbox with straight cut gears. 16 horsepower was quoted at 9000rpm. And they raced exceedingly well. Farne set off to conquer the USA in early 1959 on a factory 175 winning the 250cc class at Daytona a month after arriving. Franco Villa took over in 1960 and continued the successful promotion of Ducati's OHC singles for importer Berliner.

Production of all three capacity F3s together was very small, perhaps less than 100, with perhaps only as few as a dozen 175s. Thus, one can believe that any genuine F3 175 is extremely rare today. This genuine bike was raced by Sonny Angel of San Diego, California before being enjoyed as part of a local discerning collection. It was fully and correctly restored by marque expert Ted Henry of Torrance, California, with Frank Scurria rebuilding the engine before becoming a part of Hollywood photographer, Guy Webster's, collection. It then took up residence in a prominent North Western collection for some time, until now, when this most rare of machines is being offered for sale. The machine is offered in exquisite condition and is, reportedly, ready to show or race.

Phil Schilling's Mind was Satisfied.


Offered on a Bill of Sale.

Own a similar item?

Submit your item online for a free auction estimate.

How to sell

Looking for a similar item?

Our Motorcycles specialists can help you find a similar item at an auction or via a private sale.

Find your local specialist

Specialist section


  • 7 January 2015, 09:00 - 18:00 PST

Additional information