c.1973 Ducati 450 Desmo

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Lot 278
c.1973 Ducati 450 Desmo

Sold for US$ 23,000 inc. premium
c.1973 Ducati 450 Desmo

Fabio Taglioni has quite rightly been called Ducati's savior, the engineer who laid the cornerstone for all the company's ensuing success. When the young Taglioni was hired away from rival Mondial in 1954, Ducati was in dire need of new engine designs, and "Dr. T." as he came to be called had a head full of ideas. Chief among them was desmodromic valve actuation, now a signature Ducati feature.

In the 1950s metallurgy had yet to catch up to improving engine designs, so at the 10,000rpm and above Taglioni wanted to spin his race singles, valve springs began to fail, leading to "float" and the resulting inaccurate combustion, or worse to the valve head and piston top coming into contact, with predictable dire results. In a "desmo" system an engine's valves were both opened and closed mechanically, no need for conventional springs, so Taglioni was free to shorten his piston's stroke and rev it into five figures without harm. On the track Dr. T's desmo was a winner first time out, but it would take another decade of development and constant improvement in Ducati's production-line techniques before desmodromics made it the street in the 1968 Sport 250s and 350s. To this day, no other company has mass-produced desmo motorcycles.

In 1969, Taglioni's desmo single was taken to 436cc, as large a capacity as was possible without a major retooling of the cases. Sold first as a scrambler and roadster, the 450 later received the same café makeover as the 250 and 350. It's this last 450 that many informed observers rate as the best of the Desmos.

"A delight to an motorcyclist with red blood in his veins," puts forth veteran British moto-journalist Frank Melling. "Truly one of the great sporting singles of all time, a worthy companion to such icons as the BSA Gold Star and Velocette Venom. The crackle of the lightly silenced desmo engine bouncing off the hedgerows as the 450 slices through bends with the precision of a surgeon's scalpel is still one of the great experiences of motorcycling."

The Silverman collection's 450 Desmo has been fully restored and is ready for the show field, or as no doubt Mr. Melling would prefer, a simple safety check and recommissioning away from more entertaining roadwork.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the frame and engine numbers for this motorcycle are DM450M3702358 and DM450D463055 respectively and its title is in transit.
Contacts
c.1973 Ducati 450 Desmo
c.1973 Ducati 450 Desmo
c.1973 Ducati 450 Desmo
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