- Chassis # 755918
- Engine # 755868
- 1 Of Only 856 Produced Worldwide For 1974
- Comprehensively Restored In The Late 1990s By Marque Expert
- Freshly Serviced & Ready To Enjoy
- Many Correct And Original Components
As the 60’s roared to a close, Ducati was still part of a Government conglomerate, but under new management during 1969, in the form of Arnaldo Milvio and Fredmano Spairani, there appeared to be a renewed interest in returning to the roots of Ducati’s history on the race track. The first problem that needed to be tackled however was a new engine that would keep them competitive in the rise of the superbike era that had begun. Large cc, multi-cylinder bikes such as Honda’s CB750 were making quite an impact on the motorcycling world, both on the street and on the track. Ducati needed something to compete with these offerings. Rockstar Italian designer Fabio Taglioni was given the go-ahead to create a multi-cylinder 750cc engine but was provided with limited resources for the development of the new unit. Taglioni decided to work within his means, taking two 350cc singles and placing them 90 degrees apart on a common crankcase, creating the now-famous Ducati L-twin engine. Knowing Taglioni’s brilliance, the design was not simply an “aha moment” but provided many key benefits. The new engine design proved to be very smooth, and the general shape of it allowed it to be mounted low in the frame, while keeping the motorcycle quite narrow. The new engine design was up and running within two months and testing in various frames commenced shortly after.
By early 1971, prototypes for a production 750cc offering began to appear. By July of 1971, 500 pre-production versions of what would go on to be called the 750GT had been produced. Tweaking of the bike continued throughout the first half of 1971 but by late 1971, the final production models began to roll out and be delivered. The 750GT became an immediate success in a world hungry for larger cc offerings. It was Ducati’s first major twin offering and sold well, but in the end, Ducati’s goal with the new twin-engine was always a quest for speed.
Whispers of a more sporting version of the 750GT began as early as the first half of 1971. Appearing on the scene in 1972, the Ducati 750 Sport built upon the immediate success of its more subdued counterpart, the 750 GT. The first prototype was displayed in late 1971 and was referred to as the “Spaggiari Replica” in recognition of Spagiari’s efforts on the 500cc twin Grand Prix bike which was based on their development of the new twin. This new 750 Sport was essentially a restyled 750GT, utilizing a new fuel tank, clip-on handlebars, and rear-set footrests among a few additional things. Development continued throughout 1972 and many different iterations of the 750 Sport were seen in public but by October of 1972 the final form of the new 750 Sport had been settled on. While the looks were markedly more sporting, the engine received some notable upgrades as well in the form of forged pistons, and lighter-weight connecting rods and crankshaft. These allowed for an increase in compression ratio while also providing a more freely revving engine. The 750 Sport did away with the Amal carburetors of the 750GT in favor of Dellorto PHF 32AS/AD carburetors, fitted with plastic velocity stacks to improve their breathing ability. True to its Sport name, the 750 Sport was offered solely in a “1 up” seating position, feigning the idea of a passenger in favor of a more aggressive and sporting riding position. Throughout its 3 year production run from 1972 to 1974, the 750 Sport saw many working changes which included everything from the finish on the engine itself to the incorporation of different braking components.
For 1974, production and features were fairly consistent, many carried over from the earlier models. The engine was bare metal, with the exception of some late 1973 black-case engines, that found their way into early 1974 frames. The brakes were now Brembo units, generally single-sided but it does appear some were delivered with twin units upfront. The front fork was a 38mm Ceriani unit and the rear suspension was Marzocchi. Production numbers for 1972 appear to be a mystery but from 1973 to 1974 Ducati produced a scant 1,602 750 Sport models with 200 of the 1974 versions destined for the United States. Interestingly, even though production has ceased in September of 1974, in 1978 an additional 23 750 Sports were built from spare parts. The 750 series of bikes were replaced by the new 860 series in the latter half of 1974 but still retains the notoriety of being Ducati’s first truly successful multi-cylinder engine, a true piece of Ducati’s rich history.
The Ducati on offer here is a 1974 750 Sport, Chassis number 755918, and Engine number 755868. This example wears an older restoration that has held up very nicely, retaining many original components and attributes with good paint and solid mechanical prowess. Currently, the odometer shows 7,288 miles, which is believed to be original. According to the current owner and consignor, this Ducati is a 3-owner example with the previous owner having purchased the bike from the original owner in the late 1970’s. The current owner and consignor purchased the bike from his friend, the second owner, in the mid-1990s. In 1997 he decided to undergo a complete and comprehensive cosmetic and mechanical restoration, which was carried out by Mike Duzik of Mikmar Motor Service in Paxinos, Pennsylvania with a total of almost $10,000 spent. The restoration began in November of 1997 and appears to have been completed 2 years later in November of 1999. Nothing was left untouched on the bike and the restoration was carried out in a very thorough and correct manner, as evident by the motorcycle’s excellent condition today, more than 20 years later. Detailed restoration receipts as well as photos are available in the documents section below. Once the restoration was completed, the bike was utilized and enjoyed sparingly in a caring manner over the next few years before it was parked around 2010. When the bike came to us recently on consignment, it had been sitting for a few years where it was started occasionally and putted around the neighborhood but had been lacking the attention that a thoroughbred Italian machine of this caliber requires to stay in peak condition. In order to offer this exquisite Ducati in top condition we had had the following maintenance items completed:
- Gas tank recoated
- Carbs rebuilt, balanced, and synced
- Oil Change
- Replaced many of the rubber components
- New fuel petcocks and fuel line
- Brake fluid change
- New battery
- Repaired headlight switch and replace bad wiring
As it sits today, this 750 Sport remains in excellent condition and despite the age of the restoration, presents remarkable well. The bright orange paint is smooth and consistent across the whole machine with excellent color. There is some minor cracking of the paint on the front fender, between the two front mounting bolts as well as between the rear two mounting bolts. There is also some minor scuffing on the top of the right side cover as well as a spot of paint that appears to have been touched just behind the seat on the rider’s righthand side. Lifting the solo seat reveals a Ducati branded lubrication guide sticker as well as a clean and tidy storage area in the rear “hump”. The black painted frame retains a consistent finish throughout the bike and shows minimal signs of wear. The inside of the tank was professionally recoated, ensuring clean fuel delivery for future riders. The fuel filler cap fits well with a nice tight seal although it should be noted that the paint around the filler hole is peeling and flaking.
The carbs and fuel system were gone through to ensure proper fuel delivery and the correct Dellorto PHF 32A Carbs still remain in place with their iconic mesh grilled velocity stacks. The correct petcocks and fuel lines were placed on the bike during its recent servicing. The engine case and cylinders show clean and tidy metal with no signs of any mechanical issues. Some minor spotting is evident on the more polished surfaces, but this is entirely normal for a restoration of this age and does not discount from the overall presentation. The two engine case halves match in their numbering, showing a “386” stamping on both halves. The engine number is cleanly stamped behind the rear cylinder showing “755868” and “DM750”. The beautiful “Ducati” branded Conti exhaust pipes sweep elegantly backward and retain an excellent finish and shine and are even completed with the correct Conti branded couplers.
The headers leading back to the exhaust have taken on a bit of blueing over the years but remain in good condition, with only a minor bit of pitting in the surface finish. The suspension was upgraded, likely in the late ’70s, to a period correct set of Fox Racing shocks which still remain in good shape and appear to still be in good operating order. This bike still retains its beautiful and correct Borrani wire wheels which remain in nice shape, despite some very minor spotting on the rim section of the wheels. There is currently what appears to be a geared down 44 tooth sprocket on the rear wheel, which from our research is likely not the correct original sprocket size (appears that it would have come with a 36 tooth sprocket) however, its a sensible upgrade for daily livability and excitement while riding a high strung machine such as this. The tires are a newer set of Avon Super Venom AM tires, front and rear, which show plenty of tread and solid sidewalls. The controls for the bike display the correct “Verlicchi” grips on both bars but are missing the rubber bung style bar ends. The bike is not currently fitted with mirrors or turn signals and does not come with them. The correct CEV switch housings are in place and everything appears to work with the exception of the horn. The switch housings show a bit of cosmetic wear but appear to be structurally sound.
The “Brembo” master cylinder cap shows some cracking on the top of it but appears to be structurally sound and the single-sided Brembo front brakes operate as they should. The headlight is in good functioning order and is mounted with the correct “Verlicchi” brand headlight brackets. The rear brake light is in good functioning order, however, it does have a sizable crack in it although the light itself appears structurally sound still. Mechanically, this 750 Sport is in good order and starts, runs, and rides as it should. This is a bit of a more high strung motorcycle and it tends to lope a bit at low RPMs until you open up the throttle and let the L-twin sing. The brakes are adequate for the time period and work as they should but given the age of the technology included, liberal braking distance is still needed. The combination of drop-style handlebars and rear set controls push the rider up over the long tank in an excellent racing style stance that while good for speed is not the most comfortable for longer distances, however a touring machine this bike is not. Turn in on the 750 Sport is light and nimble, just as you would expect it to be and the bike handles very smoothly. During our brief testing, the suspension seemed adequate but if one is buying this 750 Sport to put miles on it, further testing may need to be taken of the suspension.
Overall, this 1974 Ducati 750 Sport is a beautiful look into what many consider the birth of the sportbike era. With its downright gorgeous looks, raspy and thumping exhaust note, and nimble handling, this Ducati 750 Sport is a truly iconic machine. Its scant production numbers and the lure that surrounds it ensure that this will be a collectors machine surely to appreciate in value over the years. This motorcycle would be the perfect candidate to both show and display as well an occasional rider for those warm and sunny backroad runs.
*Please note that this motorcycle is titled by the engine number.*