1974 Ducati 750SS

  • Brand: Ducati
  • Car Code: 210733

1974 Ducati 750SS

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.

Descriptions and pictures by bonhams

Production Start 1974
Country of origin Italy