1982 Ducati 864cc 900SS
Registration no. NPT 520Y
Frame no. DM860SS 090882
Engine no. 092382
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 continued in this new 'square case' guise, though almost all of these smaller, second-generation models 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.
Engine design improvements pioneered on the Darmah model were incorporated for 1978 together with a left-side gearchange, while Speedline alloy wheels were adopted part way through the year. For 1981 the 900SS underwent more extensive updating, gaining improved cylinder heads, Bosch ignition and - later on - a revised gearbox. Production ceased during 1982 after a little over 6,000 had been produced and today this classic Ducati bevel-drive twin is highly sought after.
This late, two-owner 900SS was first registered on 23rd April 1983 and imported into Jersey three days later. The current vendor purchased it in January 2003. Restored and described by the private vendor as in 'perfect' condition, the machine is offered with sundry expired MoT certificates, Swansea V5C document and current MoT.
- The registration is NTP 520Y