Ducati 750 GT (748 cc V-twin)
55 bhp, 407 lbs and 120 mph
In 1947 Ducati was a bankrupt electrical and telecoms company. Given its relatively large size and importance it survived under Italian state control. Almost immediately diversification started into, amongst others, manufacture of light weight motorcycles. This evolved and encompassed racing ambitions. When these were unsuccessful Ing. Fabio Taglioni was recruited from Mondial in 1954 as chief designer. He initially focussed on a Manx Norton inspired single - SOHC driven by a tower shaft and bevel gears from the crankshaft - and eventually also desmodromic valve gear (thus eliminating valve springs and so valve float, especially at high revs). These design elements have underpinned Ducati to this day.
On 20 March 1970 Taglioni made his initial sketches of what would become the classic round case 750 cc engine. It was essentially two singles placed on a common crank 90 degrees apart with the forward cylinder almost horizontal. Hence the engine is narrow, has a low centre of gravity and both cylinders get a good flow of cooling air. The engine is a stressed member of the frame. The first production bikes were released in June 1971 as the (non-desmo) 750 GT. Racing machines were built in parallel.
Production continued till 1978 - with in total 2,135 GTs being produced. The specification was high and evolved by 1974 to:
- Marzocchi forks
- Borrani wheels
- Brembo front disc
- Conti mufflers
- Del'Orto PHF 30 carburettors.
This bike is one of 551 built in 1974 (and one of 201 1974 electric start machines). It is a nut and bolt restoration undertaken by Made in Italy Motorcycles. It is faithful to the original apart from having twin discs and an uprated alternator. It is a stunning ride - comfortable, pretty fast and great handling.