1974 Ducati 750SS Frame no. DM750SS*76387*  Engine no. 075067 DM750.1

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Lot 177
1974 Ducati 750SS
Frame no. DM750SS*76387* Engine no. 075067 DM750.1

US$ 130,000 - 160,000
£ 100,000 - 120,000
Amended
1974 Ducati 750SS
Frame no. DM750SS*76387*
Engine no. 075067 DM750.1
• Iconic 'green frame' 750 SS
• Ducati street-legal race bike from the 1970s
• Front brakes upgraded with Brembo (originals come with the bike)
• Bike was restored during its previous ownership

HOMOLOGATION NO. DM11871OM
CRANKCASE MATING NO. 26/26


'Even more than the MV Agusta, the 1974 Ducati 750 Super Sport epitomizes the Italian sporting motorcycle of the 1970s. Whereas the production MV four-cylinder bike was intentionally designed to be as far removed from the genuine Grand Prix racers as possible...the Ducati was as close a replica to the Imola 200 winning racer of 1972 that could be built and still be street legal.' The Ducati Story (2018) by Ian Falloon (Veloce).

It was, without question, Paul Smart's famous victory at Imola, Ducati's 'local' racetrack just south-east of Bologna, in April 1972 that really put Ducati (itself) and it'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 British scratchers Percy Tait, John Cooper and Ray Pickrell, but also the works 750 MV Agusta of Giacomo Agostini and several more quasi works teams. With such an outstanding pedigree, the 750 Super Sport was a natural choice for racing's Superbike category, and later on proved highly competitive in 'Battle of the Twins' (BoTT) and club racing events around the world.

Ironically, winning rider Englishman Paul Smart had only reluctantly agreed to race the new Ducati 750 at the inaugural Imola 200 road race, goaded into taking the job by his wife. He was not overly impressed by his converted roadster as it sat in the paddock, nor during his first practice laps. All that changed when he arrived back in the pits to much fanfare to learn that he had just smashed Imola's lap record! The handling and torque were so smooth that the feedback through the bike belied its actual performance. Smart and fellow rider Bruno Spaggiari went on to a 1-2 finish, and just like that Ducati had begun a new chapter in its history.

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 center-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 750 SS - appeared in 1974 it differed little in overall conception from the Imola 1972 bikes, among the most obvious external differences being the adoption of a center-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 full streamlined affair.
The 750 SS 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.' Only 401 examples of the original 'round case' version were built and today is regarded as the true landmark model and is arguably the most widely sought-after of all Ducatis, of all time.

Those 400-odd of the resulting 750 SS 'green frame' street versions were produced in model-year 1974 – although the color of the frame is closer to blue than green, it has always, somehow, been described as green - though how many have survived the ensuing 40 years is unclear. It didn't take long for attrition to thin the numbers as racers utilized the lusty horsepower delivered by the unique desmodromic valvetrain and massive 40 mm carburetors. In the United States, the exploits of Cycle magazine's 750 SS road racer, tuned by the late Phil Schilling and ridden by then editor Cook Neilson, were detailed in the pages of the magazine, helping spread the word. Similarly, importer Berliner regularly publicized the exploits of Neilson, Jon White and others as they gained numerous successes at club level events. This culminated in 1977 when Neilson smashed all comers in the hotly contested Daytona Superbike race on the 750 SS, now highly modified (and painted a dark blue), displacing 883cc and nicknamed 'Ol' Blue.'

Subsequently, Ducati dealers were urged to put these units in the hands of people who would profile them on racetracks. Race kits and cams were available over the counter to heighten performance. Consequently, racing took its toll as all quests for speed do, and it soon became difficult to find a stock example. Crankcases were destroyed or altered, frames got updated to gain a handling edge, fiberglass fuel tanks deteriorated under the stress of racing and were replaced. And don't think this process of 'green frame elimination and metamorphosis' was confined just to the USA, it was prevalent around the world.

This beautiful 750 SS is a US market bike which has been listed on the www.bevelheaven.com database – number 80 - for some time. This list was last updated in July 2019. There it confirms that from 1998 it was in the care of one Jim Lattin. A well-known Southern California enthusiast, Lattin gave up boat racing to become a hot rod and motorcycle collector and is best known for hooking up with fellow racer Bud Ekins, the pair of them 'going overboard buying, building and riding motorcycles.' He is the 'former president of the Southern California Timing Association and former chairman of the Bonneville Nationals Board.' In 2018 this 750 SS was acquired by Michael Kiernan of St. Louis, Missouri. Otherwise little is known of the history of this bike. Suffice to say the engine is believed to be original to the frame and the odometer reading is, equally, believed to be accurate; it has been most successfully restored (when in Jim Lattin's care) to be very close to its original specification; the tank has been repainted, and the front master cylinder is a more modern Brembo variety (the original comes with the bike.). It starts and runs well and is clearly ready for riding or show – it's of that quality – or both.

As with all lots in the sale, this lot is sold 'as is/where is' and bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.

Footnotes

  • As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.

Saleroom notices

  • The frame number is DM750SS075387.
Contacts
1974 Ducati 750SS Frame no. DM750SS*76387*  Engine no. 075067 DM750.1
1974 Ducati 750SS Frame no. DM750SS*76387*  Engine no. 075067 DM750.1
1974 Ducati 750SS Frame no. DM750SS*76387*  Engine no. 075067 DM750.1
1974 Ducati 750SS Frame no. DM750SS*76387*  Engine no. 075067 DM750.1
1974 Ducati 750SS Frame no. DM750SS*76387*  Engine no. 075067 DM750.1
1974 Ducati 750SS Frame no. DM750SS*76387*  Engine no. 075067 DM750.1
1974 Ducati 750SS Frame no. DM750SS*76387*  Engine no. 075067 DM750.1
1974 Ducati 750SS Frame no. DM750SS*76387*  Engine no. 075067 DM750.1
1974 Ducati 750SS Frame no. DM750SS*76387*  Engine no. 075067 DM750.1
1974 Ducati 750SS Frame no. DM750SS*76387*  Engine no. 075067 DM750.1
1974 Ducati 750SS Frame no. DM750SS*76387*  Engine no. 075067 DM750.1
1974 Ducati 750SS Frame no. DM750SS*76387*  Engine no. 075067 DM750.1
1974 Ducati 750SS Frame no. DM750SS*76387*  Engine no. 075067 DM750.1
1974 Ducati 750SS Frame no. DM750SS*76387*  Engine no. 075067 DM750.1
1974 Ducati 750SS Frame no. DM750SS*76387*  Engine no. 075067 DM750.1
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