1975 Ducati 864cc 900SS
Registration no. WWO 808T
Frame no. 860SS 087120
Engine no. 087281
Ducati's second-generation v-twin engine - the 900cc 'square case' (actual capacity 864cc) - debuted in the 860GT of 1974 and the following year was used to power the new 900SS superbike. The latter was styled like the original 750SS that had been developed from Paul Smart's 1972 Imola winner. (The 750SS model continued in this new 'square case' guise, though almost all of these smaller, second-generation vees were destined for the Italian market). More than just a simple over-bore, the 'square case' engine incorporated a new camshaft drive arrangement, improved oil pump, cartridge-type oil filter and electronic ignition. In addition, the gearchange was moved to the left-hand side and the frame altered to provide chain adjustment at the swinging arm pivot. As had been the case with the original 750SS, desmodromic valve gear distinguished the new sportster from its tourer counterpart. 'Like the tamer valve spring version of the engine in the 900GTS it is uncannily smooth, while possessing a much more dramatically punchy power output than the soft touring motor,' reported Bike magazine in October 1977. Breathing through gaping 40mm Dell'Orto carburettors, the 900SS engine produced 70bhp at 7,500rpm, an output good enough for a top speed of 135mph. The 900SS's competition heritage was obvious on the road: 'While other flash Italian bikes are basically roadsters dressed up and pretending to be racers, this is the real thing,' declared Bike.
This example was purchased new in 1975 by Aberystwyth Motorcycles but not sold and first registered until 1977. 'WWO 808T' has had only two owners from new - the current one for the past 14-or-so years - and covered only 11,648 miles from new. The Ducati was last used in 2006, since when it has been kept in a heated garage and started regularly. The machine is described as original and un-restored apart from Öhlins shock absorbers and a Brancato stainless-steel swinging arm bearing conversion with greasing access - both sensible improvements. The original dual seat and single seat are present, as is a virtually full complement of MoT certificates from new. Offered with Swansea V5.
- This machine dates from 1977.