c.1954 Ducati 125cc Gran Sport 'Marianna' Frame no. 515 Engine no. 515

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Lot 652N
c.1954 Ducati 125cc Gran Sport 'Marianna'
Frame no. 515 Engine no. 515

£ 30,000 - 40,000
US$ 39,000 - 52,000
To be sold without reserve
Amended
c.1954 Ducati 125cc Gran Sport 'Marianna'
Frame no. 515
Engine no. 515
• Rare competition model
• Designed by Fabio Taglioni
• Restored by Giancarlo Morbidelli

"The Gran Sport, particularly in 100 and 125cc versions, was incredibly successful between 1955 and 1958, and even after it was replaced by the F3 many riders in Italy continued to campaign the Gran Sport. As it was hand-built and produced in very small numbers for Italian racing, the Gran Sport is rarely seen today outside Italy." – Ian Falloon, Standard Catalog of Ducati Motorcycles.

Its senior management having decided that racing success was the best way to promote the fledgling manufacturer, Ducati recruited engineer Fabio Taglioni, formerly with Ceccato and Mondial, to oversee its racing and development programmes. Commencing work in May 1954, Taglioni designed the first of Ducati's now legendary sporting singles: the 100 Gran Sport, nicknamed 'Marianna', which made its racetrack debut in 1955. The existing 98cc overhead-valve engine had reached the limit of its development, at least as far as racing was concerned, hence the need for a design with greater potential. The Gran Sport's overhead cam was driven by a vertical shaft and bevel gears, and this method was carried over to Ducati's twin-cam (bialbero) and triple-cam (trialbero) racers, the latter featuring Taglioni's famous 'desmodromic' method of valve actuation that dispensed with springs. Incorporating a four-speed gearbox, the Gran Sport engine was carried in a simple single-downtube frame and acted as a stressed member.

Apart from the Italian Grand Prix, the most important motorcycle races in Italy at this time were the long-distance events, held on public roads, such as the Moto Giro d'Italia and Milan-Taranto. Hence even competition-orientated models like the Marianna had to have lights and a horn, as required by the FMI (Italian Motorcycle Federation) regulations. Almost all the Italian manufacturers contested these events, victory bringing with it much valuable publicity. Ducati's overhead-valve racers had been outclassed by the Laverdas in 1954, but from the time of its arrival the 'Marianna' proved unbeatable in its class.

This rare Ducati Gran Sport 'Marianna' was restored by Giancarlo Morbidelli. There are no documents with this Lot.

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

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Contacts
c.1954 Ducati 125cc Gran Sport 'Marianna' Frame no. 515 Engine no. 515
c.1954 Ducati 125cc Gran Sport 'Marianna' Frame no. 515 Engine no. 515
Auction information

LIVE AND ONLINE AUCTION
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Wednesday 12 August 1pm to 5pm
Thursday 13 August 9am to 5pm
Friday 14 August 9am to 5pm
Saturday 15 August 9am to 5pm (Lots 501-704 only)

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Buyer's Premium Rates
27.5% on the first £2,500 of the hammer price;
25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £2,500 up to and including £300,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £300,000 up to and including £3,000,000;
and 13.9% of the hammer price of any amounts in excess of £3,000,000.

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Lot symbols
N NOVA declaration

If purchased by a UK resident, this machine is subject to a NOVA declaration, undertaken by Bonhams upon a successful sale, to facilitate the registration of the machine here in the UK.