Ducati is renowned for its emotive motorbikes well outside of the Italian borders. Since July 2012, the tradition-rich Bologna-based brand with its sporty motorbikes is owned by the Audi Group. Right in time for the company’s 90-year anniversary, Audi museum mobile in Ingolstadt will dedicate a special exhibition to the Group’s Italian subsidiary.
The company was established in 1926 by the three brothers Adriano, Bruno and Marcello Cavalieri Ducati and in its early days didn’t produce motorcycles at all. For around twenty years, the Ducati family developed and manufactured condensers and components for radios, before they turned their focus to two-wheelers. As of March 1946, Ducati started producing the Cucciolo, a small auxiliary engine for bicycles. It helped the company to great success and led them into a new era. Around three years later, the first motorcycle rode off the production line: the Ducati 60. The special exhibition was created in cooperation with the Ducati Museum and traces the route of this extraordinary development. Besides exhibiting machines from the initial few years of the company, it also shows the beginnings of the company’s motorbike manufacturing. Among them is the Ducati Cruiser, an unusual and futuristic scooter which failed to meet with success and was thus rapidly discontinued.
“Passione Ducati” also shows the company’s successful classic bikes: among them, the first generation of the Scrambler from the 1960s, which counts as one of the big style icons even today. With its elegant shape, vivid colors and central seating position, it forms the ultimate connection between the American and European schools of motorcycle design.
Without a doubt, one of the most important milestones is the desmodromic valve control with which Ducati engineer Fabio Taglioni created a revolution in motorcycle construction. 1956 saw the arrival of the desmodromic valve control with three overhead camshafts driven by a vertical shaft in the Ducati 125 GP. The Desmo system developed into a typical unique selling point of the brand and even to the present day, it assures the unique sound of a Ducati. The 350 Mark 3D on show at the exhibition was the first Ducati to feature the Desmo system as standard. The model was a fine example of Italian design and is a hot favorite among collectors the world over. The same is true of the Ducati 750 GT: it was the first series-production model to feature a 90° V-twin engine and disc brakes.
Another important chapter in the company’s history is motorsport. At “Passione Ducati” in Audi museum mobile, this is a stand-alone part of the exhibition. The 500 GP from 1971 was the last motorbike with which Ducati took part in motorsport’s elite discipline. In 2003, the Italians made a come-back to MotoGP™ with the Desmosedici. Besides these two machines, visitors can look on in amazement at a total of twenty models from racing history. Highlights include the Ducati 750 Imola, motorbikes from the Tourist Trophy, a Ducati 916 from WorldSBK, Paolo Casoli’s Ducati 748 and four other MotoGP™ bikes, among which a prototype from 2002 and the model used in the 2016 season.
The special exhibition also shows the successes of the company’s younger history. The Monster saw Ducati land a coup in the 1990s. Designer Miguel Galluzzi took the idea of a blank canvas literally as he sketched the first “naked bike”. With over 300,000 units sold, the Monster is currently the most successful Ducati model ever. The superbikes from Bologna are also sensational: the Ducati 916 set new standards in the fields of light-weight construction, engine performance and design. It is seen as the masterpiece of Massimo Tamburini, who spent seven years working away on the design and who forwent development in a wind tunnel. The newest model in the exhibition is the 1299 Panigale S Anniversario*, a very special gift for the occasion of Ducati’s 90th anniversary. Limited to just 500 units, the Italian super sports bike pays homage to 90 years of passion and performance, with its 205 hp putting it at the very pinnacle of the company’s model history.