ROME, Feb 11 — The Italian superbike manufacturer Ducati becomes only the fourth motorcycle marque to be celebrated at one of the automotive calendar’s most exclusive events.
Ducati will join the ranks of past honourees Triumph, BMW and Vincent when this year’s Concours d’Elegance begins on March 8 at the The Golf Club of Amelia Island and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island on the east coast of the US.
The centrepiece of the event will be a special exhibition of 18 of Ducati’s rarest and most significant motorbikes, including the “Cucciolo”, the model that in 1946 kickstarted the company’s post-war success.
The collection will also include a tribute 1974 Ducati 750SS, the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum’s 1979 Hailwood Isle of Man racer, and famous motorcycle author Vicki Smith’s 1997 Ducati 916SPS.
“Ducati is one of those rare machines that, like Ferrari, is capable of stirring the blood of a certain kind of rider,” said John Duss, Amelia Concours board member and The Amelia’s resident motorcycle expert and historian.
“Ducati has, through excellence and competition, become not only famous, but an aspirational motorcycle.”
The 1946 Cucciolo played a key role in the brand’s history: before the Second World War Ducati was famous for making radios and was one of Italy’s largest employers. In 1946 the company was forced to refocus and started to develop clip-on engines that could be fitted to bicycles and the rest is history.
Under the stewardship of designer/engineer Fabio Taglioni, the company created its first masterpiece, the 100CC Gran Sport, nicknamed the “Marianna”. The first bike to wear the Ducati badge, it won the 1955 Motogiro d’Italia and became the first of many racing triumphs under Taglioni’s 30-year reign at the company.
In the years that followed, the company has changed hands many times but its ability to produce what many refer to as the Ferrari of motorbikes has not been diminished. Fast-forward to the present and Ducati, now owned by Audi, is still a force to be reckoned with in TT racing, MotoGP, Superbikes and Supersports world championships.
The Amelia Concours d’Elegance takes place from March 8-10 on Amelia Island, Florida. — AFP-Relaxnews