1974 Ducati 750 SS
Frame no. DM750SS*075241*
Engine no. 075007 DM750.1
Frame no. DM750SS*075241*
Engine no. 075007 DM750.1
• One of the most desirable Ducati models of all time
• As displayed at the Powerhouse Museum in Tamworth, Australia
'Even more than the MV Agusta, the 1974 Ducati 750 Super Sport epitomizes the Italian sporting motorcycle of the 1970s. Whereas the production MV four-cylinder bike was intentionally designed to be as far removed from the genuine Grand Prix racers as possible...the Ducati was as close a replica to the Imola 200 winning racer of 1972 that could be built and still be street legal.' The Ducati Story (2018) by Ian Falloon (Veloce).
It was, without question, Paul Smart's famous victory at Imola, Ducati's 'local' race track just south-east of Bologna, in April 1972 that really put Ducati's new v-twin on the map. It was a particularly sweet occasion for hitherto un-fancied Ducati, as the Bologna factory defeated not only the race-proven Triumph Tridents of scratchers Percy Tait, John Cooper and Ray Pickrell, but also the works 750 MV Agusta of Giacomo Agostini and several more quasi works teams. With such an outstanding pedigree, the 750 Super Sport was a natural choice for racing's Superbike category, and later on proved highly competitive in 'Battle of the Twins' (BoTT) and club racing events around the world.
Ironically, winning rider Englishman Paul Smart had only reluctantly agreed to race the new Ducati 750 at the inaugural Imola 200 road race, goaded into taking the job by his wife. He was not overly impressed by his converted roadster as it sat in the paddock, nor during his first practice laps. All that changed when he arrived back in the pits to much fanfare to learn that he had just smashed Imola's lap record! The handling and torque were so smooth that the feedback through the bike belied its actual performance. Smart and fellow rider Bruno Spaggiari went on to a 1-2 finish, and just like that Ducati had begun a new chapter in its history.
Smart's bike was based on the 750 Sport roadster introduced that same year. The racer's cycle parts remained close to stock - even the center-stand lugs were retained - merely being up-rated with triple Lockheed disc brakes while the engine gained desmodromic cylinder heads, high-compression pistons and stronger con-rods. When the definitive production version - the 750 SS - appeared in 1974 it differed little in overall conception from the Imola '72 bikes, among the most obvious external differences being the adoption of a center-axle fork and Brembo front brakes. The big 'Imola' fuel tank and humped racing seat both featured on the road bike, which wore a cockpit faring rather than the racer's full streamlined affair.
The 750 SS received rave reviews in the motorcycling press, being hailed by Cycle magazine as 'a bike that stands at the farthest reaches of the sporting world - the definitive factory-built café racer.' Only 401 examples of the original 'round case' version were built and today is regarded as the true landmark model and is arguably the most widely sought-after of all Ducatis of all time.
Just over 400 of the resulting 750 SS 'green frame' street versions were produced in model-year 1974 – although the color of the frame is closer to blue than green, it has always, somehow, been described as green - though how many have survived the ensuing 40 years is unclear. It didn't take long for attrition to thin the numbers as racers utilized the lusty horsepower delivered by the unique desmodromic valvetrain and massive 40 mm carburetors. In the United States, the exploits of Cycle magazine's 750 SS road racer, tuned by the late Phil Schilling and ridden by then editor Cook Neilson, were detailed in the pages of the magazine, helping spread the word. Similarly, importer Berliner regularly publicized the exploits of Neilson, Jon White and others as they gained numerous successes at club level events. This culminated in 1977 when Neilson smashed all comers in the hotly contested Daytona Superbike race on the 750 SS, now highly modified (and painted a dark blue), displacing 883 cc and nicknamed 'Ol' Blue.'
Subsequently, Ducati dealers were urged to put these units in the hands of people who would profile them on racetracks. Race kits and cams were available over the counter to heighten performance. Consequently, racing took its toll as all quests for speed do, and it soon became difficult to find a stock example. Crankcases were destroyed or altered, frames got updated to gain a handling edge, fiberglass fuel tanks deteriorated under the stress of racing and were replaced. And don't think this process of 'green frame elimination and metamorphosis' was confined just to the USA, it was prevalent around the world.
'If James Bond had owned a Super Sport, it would have been this one.' Engine number 007 was delivered new to Australia in 1974 as recorded in Phil Shilling's 750 SS Registry (started in 1989). Its first owner is not known but its second was a Richard Walsh, with the vendor the third, buying it in 1980. It has not been ridden on road or track apart for post maintenance checks during the vendor's ownership. For the past few years it has, instead, been on display at the Powerhouse Museum in Tamworth, Australia. The engine was overhauled 20 odd years ago, electronic ignition installed (it's reversible) – thus its odometer mileage was under its belt before overhaul - and has been appropriately maintained ever since with periodic starting and running up; it was serviced just before setting off for this sale and thus should be a 'first kick' starter after the usual recommended safety checks. 007 was well restored by Sydney-based Ducati guru Ian Gowanlock without diverting from its original specification some years ago and thus, today, has a 'very nice early patina' and thus represents a truly rare opportunity to acquire a great example of Ducati's most iconic bevel-drive model.
As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.
Please note, the title is in transit.
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
- 4 October 2018, 12:00 - 17:00 CDT
- 5 October 2018, 08:30 - 17:00 CDT
- 6 October 2018, 08:30 - 12:00 CDT
|Custom's duty, calculated at 2.5% of the purchase price, and associated import fees are payable. However, if the purchased lot is exported within certain criteria, the duty can be refundable.|