• One of only 401 'round cases' built
• Matching numbers
• Restored by Swiss engineer Ulli Rothlisberger
• Only 1,070km (665 miles) recorded since restoration
• Kept in private collections
• Not been ridden in over 20 years
It was, without question, Paul Smart's famous victory at Imola in April 1972 that really put Ducati's new v-twin on the map. It was a particularly sweet occasion for hitherto un-fancied Ducati, as the Bologna factory defeated not only the race-proven Triumph Tridents of Percy Tait, John Cooper and Ray Pickrell, but also the works 750 MV Agusta of Giacomo Agostini. With such an outstanding pedigree, the 750SS was a natural choice for racing's Superbike category, and later on proved highly competitive in AMA 'Battle of the Twins' (BOTT) and club Super Street racing in the 1980s.
Smart's bike was based on the 750 Sport roadster introduced that same year. The racer's cycle parts remained close to stock - even the centre stand lugs were retained! - merely being up-rated with triple Lockheed disc brakes while the engine gained desmodromic cylinder heads, high-compression pistons and stronger con-rods. When the definitive production version - the 750SS - appeared in 1974 it differed little in overall conception from the Imola '72 bikes, among the most obvious external differences being the adoption of a centre-axle fork and Brembo front brakes. The big 'Imola' fuel tank and humped racing seat both featured on the road bike, which wore a cockpit faring rather than the racer's fuller streamlining.
The 750SS received rave reviews in the motorcycling press, being hailed by Cycle magazine as "a bike that stands at the farthest reaches of the sporting world - the definitive factory-built café racer". Today the 750SS is regarded as a true landmark model and is one of the most sought-after of all Ducatis.
This Ducati 750SS, a matching-numbers example with factory correct frame and engine number stamping, it is recorded in marque specialist Ian Falloon's definitive register.
The Ducati was restored by Swiss precision engineer Ulli Rothlisberger with his friend and former Ducati engineer, Hannes Jakob. Ulli did the bodywork while Hannes restored the engine. Ulli then covered 1,070 kilometres while running in the machine before placing it with his extensive motorcycle collection in 1998. He never rode it again. Photocopies of bills and invoices (in German) relating to the restoration are available.
In August 2003 a sister 750SS, also restored by Ulli, was featured and advertised for sale in Classic Bike magazine. It was described by Ducati guru, the late Mick Walker, as the best he had ever seen. American fabric designer Michael Maharam contacted Ulli to make an offer. That bike had already been sold, so instead Michael bought this one, which Ulli had held back as the better of the two. The 750SS then spent 15 years in Michael's studio on the 14th floor of a block in New York as a work of art together with an old R50 BMW and various Vintage-era Bianchi racing bikes. It was never ridden.
The current vendor bought the Ducati from Michael Maharam some four years ago, it being the third 750SS he has been lucky enough to own since 1976. He changed the oil and filter, cleaned out the carburettors and set up a slave fuel supply to bypass the tank (so as not to leave traces of ethanol). The bike fired on the sixth or seventh kick, after not having run for some 20 years, and settled to a perfect tick-over. It has been permanently housed in a Carcoon bubble in a heated garage since purchase and, again, never ridden.
Currently fitted with a Bologna numberplate, the Ducati is offered with a photocopy of an Italian registration document from Sulmona, Abruzzo, dated 7th May 1974 (when the machine was registered AQ 26405), a Swiss Rapport d'expertise, dated 3rd December 1990, and UK HMRC custom clearance and nova paperwork dating from 2018. The Ducati does not have a US title (the American owner never registered it), nor has it been registered in the UK. A possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own an example of this iconic Ducati.
Offered with key
All lots are sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.