2022 Shannons Spring Timed Online Auction

1975 Ducati 860GT Motorcycle





Engine 860cc two-cylinder
Gearbox manual
Body Work Motorcycle
Colour Red
Interior Black
Wheels Steel
Brakes Discs


This lot is no longer available

Just as a three-syllable Italian word – ‘Ferrari’ – instantly conjures sporting charisma in the world of cars, another such word – ‘Ducati’ – does the same for motorcycles. The Imola 200 – the ‘Daytona of Europe – gave Ducati the opportunity to showcase its spectacular new 750GT (June 1971 debut). It was 1972 and the new Ducati was seriously revolutionary with its 90-degree twin-cylinder engine in ‘l-configuration’ with one cylinder vertically configured and the other horizontally! The race bikes were considerably enhanced over the production GT as you might expect, but there was no denying the pedigree. Seventy thousand spectators jampacked the stands at Imola. The race did not disappoint them! Initially, Giacoma Agostini’s MV Augusta led the field but the silver Ducatis of Smart and Spaggiari shadowed him. When Agostini retired, this pair lapped together. Smart took the flag by four seconds from his teammate having averaged 157.353km/h. Three riders – Agostini, Smart and Spaggiari – posted an identical best lap time equating to 161.116km/h. Thus it was that 23 April 1972 became the most important single day in Ducati’s storied history. The company’s unique desmodromic technology was showcased not just to the predominantly Italian crowd but to the entire world of motorcycling. The company was facing troubled times with industrial disruption and a confused array of products. That victory at Imola offered a new future. Heading into the second half of the 1970s, Ducati saw the US as its major market. Arguably, the round-case 750 Super Sport may have survived longer were it not for new American rules which dictated, inter alia, a left-hand gearchange and quieter exhaust. Ducati’s solution was to maintain performance with a more restricted exhaust system by increasing engine capacity to 860cc, hence the 860GT. A pair of single pistons from the old 450 were readily installed. In turning towards the New World, Ducati’s management decided to focus more on design than sporting success. The 860GT received completely fresh styling.