1974 Ducati 750 Sport
VIN: DM750 5752990
Engine: 755799 DM750
At first glance this bike appears to be a factory 1974 750 Super Sport built by Ducati to celebrate their stunning victory at Imola in 1972. That race replica bike was one of the most significant Ducatis ever produced. Legendary from day one, they would be the only round-case Super Sport, and the only round case 750 with desmodromic valve gear. Having built only 401 examples, the 1974 750 Super Sport is frequently referred to as the Holy Grail of Ducatis.
In 1991 Australian motorcycle racer, Gavin Martini, didn't just want a 1974 750 Super Sport, he wanted the ultimate one. So he contacted fellow Australian Ian Gowanloch, to build him the ideal Green Frame using the best period racing and street parts available. Gowanloch is a legend in the Ducati community having worked for Ducati starting in 1971, and then starting his own Ducati business in 1978. Over the years he would build thousands of engines, and amass the largest collection of Ducati parts in the world.
Together Martini and Gowanloch spec'd out the bike to be an SS, but took liberties to improve on the factory configuration. Having been around the bikes for decades Gowanloch knew the factory 750 SS had quite a few imperfections that he wanted to avoid. He began with the frame, opting for the factory competition chrome-moly Sport frame instead of the mild steel frame found on the SS. The next change was the flawed Scarab front brake system which was known to leak fluid, and also to lock solid when they were overheated. He chose instead to install superior dual front Brembo brakes, and then place them on the rear of the forks to centralize mass.
Gowanloch observed that the SS engines are stunningly complex to put together, and with the time constraints of factory construction most were poorly assembled. Fortunately he had no such time limits, and spend over two months using his many years of experience to assemble one of the best engines I ever built. For all of its race bike looks, he adds, the SSs were slow. This bike certainly is not.
Having one of the largest collections of Ducati parts in the world comes in handy when building a bike like this. You can find every period piece you need, and you certainly don't need to be forced to buy aftermarket parts. This bike is built from the best period Ducati parts Gowanloch had on his shelves. He made sure that ever piece was of the optimal design and condition. From the suspension to the brakes, transmission to the engine internals everything was the best of the best.
This bike has never been restored, and is exactly as it was built. It has been maintained in that condition all its life by Gavin Martini and Ian Gowenloch. In 2008 it moved into the collection of new owner in New South Wales, Australia. During his ownership it was ridden only three times for less than 200 miles in total. He would go on to enter the bike in the Ducati Owners Club of NSW's 2011 Concours d'Elegance where the bike was awarded the Blue Ribbon for the Best Historic Ducati.
Is this bike one of the 401 factory 1974 750 Super Sports? No. What it is, from a riding standpoint, is even better: a race replica built for a racer by a Ducati master to be the best SS in the world. So while the remaining factory bikes sit in collections, this bike can unashamedly gobble up miles just as Paul Smart did in 1972, and maybe ever faster.