1978 Ducati 900SS

Highlights


  • Rare original specification 900SS
  • Less than 10,000km with paperwork
  • Superb condition throughout
  • Runs and rides beautifully

The Appeal


There can be no doubt that the Ducati 900SS was probably the archetypal superbike of the late 70s, and many teenagers had a picture blu-tacked to their bedroom wall, probably right alongside Farrah Fawcett!  The quintessential embodiment of stunning looks with performance and handling to match ensured that the exotic 900SS has become one of the most desirable bikes of all time.

It was a superbike to rival the best from both Laverda and Moto Guzzi; a supremely purposeful blend of style, character, engine performance and handling ability. 

Produced from 1974 to 1982 in both 750 and 900 form, it is the 1978 900SS that is widely regarded as the best version, benefitting from improvements to the crank and electronics that made the bike more reliable.  Known as the “square case” or “bevel drive” the 90° L- twin engine was unusual in that it uses bevel gears and a shaft to mechanically operate the valves which resulted in more accurate timing and an increase power.

The 900SS enjoyed huge success on track from 1974 onwards, culminating in an outstanding victory for Mike Hailwood in the 1978 Isle of man TT.

This exceptional example was originally supplied new to an ex-pat airline pilot in Hong Kong who kept the Ducati until it accompanied him back to the UK in 1986. According to the DVLA has had 5 owners since, but this includes two dealers who registered it, so in reality it has had only had 3 private owners since 1986. 

It was purchased from the original owner in 1986 by Ducati expert John Fallon who owned until about 2000.  During his ownership it was featured in the November 1998 issue of Classic Bike magazine (a copy of which is included).  The Ducati was purchased by the Seller in 2015, having been on display in the previous owner’s living room…

Upon purchase the Seller sympathetically refurbished the Ducati using all the correct parts, although it should be noted that the engine has never been apart and retains its factory lead seal on the crankcases. 

Now, after 8 years he has decided the time is right to offer the Ducati for sale to fund a new project. 

Make no mistake; this is a rare and exotic bike, and amongst the handful that remain in original condition, this example has to be one of the best in existence. 

History and Paperwork


  • Supplied new in Hong Kong in 1978
  • One of the later batch supplied in Black and Gold paint scheme by the Ducati factory exclusively for the UK market
  • Imported into the UK by its first owner in 1986
  • Purchased by Ducati expert John Fallon who kept it until 2000 
  • Just 3 private owners since, with less than 10,000km (6,209 miles) covered in total
  • Sympathetically refurbished 2015-2017 with all parts invoices on file
  • Original parts replaced during rebuild included in sale 
  • MoT history and old tax discs included
  • Well documented with good history and paperwork covering maintenance and all Owners
  • Original steel fuel tank included (currently fitted with a £1500 aluminium tank)
  • Copy of November 1986 Classic Bike magazine with V twin article featuring this Ducati
  • Two  keys

The Condition


  • Desirable UK exclusive black and gold paint
  • Matching and original frame, engine and gearbox
  • Excellent and mostly original condition throughout

For many the appearance of the Ducati alone will be a good enough reason to want it. The overall condition is not far short of perfect, with only a couple of tiny stone chips in the paint of the front fairing and one small scratch on the rear seat hump.  The brake discs are bright and the chain is clean, and all the chrome is excellent; even upon close examination it is hard to find fault.  

The seat is perfect, with the small zipped storage pouch at the rear.  Later versions featured a longer dual seat as standard, and this was an option available in 1978, but the rear hump looks right and adds to the racer looks. If you love this era of sports racing motorbikes then looking through the accompanying photographs will be sure to get your heart racing. 

The Mechanics 


  • Original 864cc engine still factory sealed
  • Starts easily and ticks over nicely
  • Twin Brembo front disc brakes with Marzocchi forks
  • FPS wheels with Bridgestone Battlax BT45 tyres

In 1978 when originally supplied by Ducati the 900SS was fitted with Lafranconi silencers and Dellorto 32 carbs in order to meet noise and emission requirements.  But also included in the crate was a pair of Conti silencers and filters for Dellorto 40 carburettors, so most owners fitted the Contis and binned the restrictive Lafranconis.  

They also upgraded to Dellorto 40 carbs.  This SS was no exception and it remains in this configuration today. The original Speedline wheels were known to be fragile and liable to shatter, so they were replaced by a set of FPS wheels which had fresh Bridgestone tyres fitted in 2016. These are unworn having covered little over 60km.

The Ducati starts easily for a bike of this type and era, and according to the Seller, once warm it will sit and tick over steadily.  Once on the move it has an impressive amount of torque, and excellent high speed handling characteristics, accompanied by (quoting the magazine article) “the violent bark and snarl “of the Conti “silencers”. 

Described by the Seller as “on the button” the Ducati has been used sparingly during his ownership as he didn’t want to add further miles.  It has however received annual oil changes and been started regularly to keep it in great condition.

Summary


It’s quite surprising that exotic Italian motorbikes of this rarity and exclusivity do not command similar prices to Italian cars of the same era.  They have the same breeding, gorgeous appearance and were produced in equally small numbers.  

They have the same, if not better, racing pedigree, and still have the ability to turn heads.  Although technology may have moved on, the 76-78 Ducati 900SS will always be regarded as the best of its time, and Great Grandfather of current SS models.

Exciting to ride and gorgeous to behold we think it will prove to be sound investment. 

Notice to bidders

This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1978
  • Make Ducati
  • Model 900SS Bevel
  • Colour Black
  • Odometer 9,993 Kilometres
  • Engine size 864
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Whitchurch
  • Location Shropshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
31 bids
  • Gi•••• £27,750 25/11/22
  • sm•••• £27,250 25/11/22
  • Gi•••• £27,000 25/11/22
  • co•••• £26,750 25/11/22
  • Gi•••• £26,500 25/11/22
  • sm•••• £26,000 25/11/22
  • co•••• £25,750 25/11/22
  • Gi•••• £25,500 25/11/22
  • ju•••• £25,250 25/11/22
  • Sp•••• £25,000 25/11/22

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