1964 Ducati 250cc F3
Frame no. 24
"With production of the overhead camshaft singles well underway for 1958 the Formula 3 superseded the Marianna (the Gran Sport's nickname) as a catalogued production racer. Offered initially as a 125 and 175 (and from 1960 as a 250), the F3 was still largely based on the Marianna." Almost nothing from the production street 250s was used in the F3 and as further evidence of this uniqueness, virtually no engine gaskets were interchangeable with the production OHC single. The UK version was known as the 250 Manxman F3
The frame, although inspired by the road version, was quite different being both lower and lighter, with a lower steering head, shorter 35mm Marzocchi steel fork legs, and shorter swing arm, too. Plus 19in wheels for the 250. The 175 motor would not fit the 125 frame, and come to that, the 250 wouldn't go into either. "Although the F3s were genuine factory racing machines they suffered through being too expensive for most privateers, and were penalized by the 4-speed gearbox." Production of all three capacity F3s together was very small, perhaps less than 100, with perhaps only as few as five or six 250s. Thus, one can believe that this example is extremely rare, maybe as few as two being known today.
As with any race bike, it changes over time as it's raced, repaired, improved and updated however the seller suggests that this one is strikingly original, at least in the fundamentals, and this is confirmed by expert restorer Alessandro Altinier of Treviso, Italy who completed the restoration two or three years ago. Notably the aluminum tank and seat, and the ignition system are to Walter Villa's personal specification but it is not proven that Villa owned or even rode this machine. It is believed to have spent some of its life in South America before returning to Italy.
- Please note that the frame and engine numbers for this motorcycle are 24 and 10 respectively.