Ducati 750 GT – Ducati’s First V Twin Production

The iconic motorcycles that were built on the back of the Ducati 750 GT design each took the motorcycling world by storm. Ducati legends such as the 750 Sport, 750SS and the 900SS all followed the Italian manufacturers first production V twin motorcycle.

However, none of those would exist without the Ducati 750 GT first being produced and it isn’t one of those bikes that was alright but the others were better. The 750 GT was and is a fundamentally impressive motorcycle in its own right and that’s why today it is highly appreciated by collectors the world over.

History of the Ducati 750 GT

Built first in 1971 and running through to 1974 the Ducati 750 GT was one of the few Ducati’s of the era that was set to go from the first model running off the production line, with very few modifications made throughout its production.

In fact not only was the Ducati 750 GT a high performance, stylistically attractive machine, it was actually also pretty reliable for an Italian motorcycle. 

Ducati were developing a 500cc GP bike and had up until this point only built machines with a 450cc capacity. The emerging Superbike market was being dominated by the Japanese manufacturers and the Italian’s saw a gap for them to move into and wanted a road bike produced to match their GP offering, it was to be their first sport bike.

Fabio Taglioni was the legendary designer behind the Ducati 750 GT and he first sketched his ideas in 1970, with the prototype ready for later that year. The GT was the first Taglioni 90° V-Twin (specifically L-twin) engine design and it was essentially two 350cc single cyclinders on a shared crankcase.

The first 748cc, air-cooled, SOHC engine was tested and was so well-performing and reliable that the bike was put into production by June 1971. 

The engine layout gave the 750 GT a low centre of gravity and a great balance. Taglioni had also raised it by 15° which meant both cylinders had great cooling as well as extra ground clearance as a result.

The front cylinder head fit directly between the front forks and so the size of the V twin didn’t hinder anything on the rear design. 

Conventional coil springs closed the intake and exhuast valves as opposed to the desmodromic layout, the bikes power-weight ratio was excellent, it weighed in at 186kg dry, claimed power was 60 horsepower at 8,000rpm and the top speed was in the region of 125mph.  

A rigid frame, fairly hard suspension in turn made for excellent handling and overall a pretty great first Superbike from Ducati. The handling was certainly better than that coming from the Japanese competition such as the Honda CB750 or Suzuki GT750.

Styling wise the model was given the luxury treatment that you would expect to come out of Ducati’s factory, flat bars, chrome exhaust and accessories and classy paintwork. 

A Ducati 750 GT version for the US was built with higher bars, as well as a version for the police, with saddlebags, solo seat and windshield. In 1972 a 750 GT Sport with clip ons, rearset pegs and fairing had hit the market and a supersport version followed in 1973 which used the desmodromic valve system. 

By 1975 the model was replaced with the 860 GT which was pretty much the same bike but with few modifications and an enlarged power plant.

Ducati 750 GT Performance

Just over 4,000 models were built throughout the bikes production and every one sold. The low production numbers made the bike far more rare than the Norton Commando or Honda CB750 and this goes some way as to why it is so coveted and more costly today. 

The 750 GT was welcomed to the world of Superbikes and the quick succession of Ducati models that followed solidified Taglioni’s new Desmo engine design as innovative and solid. 

Ducati 750 GT Awards and Achievements

The Moto Club Santerno were promoting Europe’s equivalent of the famous American Daytona races in 1972. Just 35km from Ducati’s factory, the Imola 200 was the race to be in for 500-750cc machines, and drew all the leading manufacturers such as Triumph, Norton, MV Agusta, Kawasaki. 

Nobody had money on Ducati standing a chance, but against all odds the new 750 GT took 1st and 2nd place in the race, firmly positioning the GT alongside the greats and creating the start of a race-winning legacy for Ducati that would last several decades. 

Buying a Ducati 750 GT

Before I get into average prices and what to look for, anyone interested in a very special Ducati should check out this 750 GT example here

A 1971 preproduction Ducati 750 GT with sand cast engine, it won’t be for everyone but it only has 281km on the clock and is something quite special. Priced at £52,000 and currently in Germany, it is going to be a motorcycle that goes to only the very serious collectors.

Ducati 750 GT
This mint 1971 sand cast engine 750 GT is currently available for £52,000

Average prices for interested buyers in the UK seem to sit above £25,000 for a running, clean model. Although some sellers do put them on the market for a bit less so it is worth waiting it out and doing a thorough search. For example, this 1974 Ducati 750 GT went to auction with Coys and sold for £16,875. 

For those in the US, there is currently one bike for auction with Hemmings that requires buyers to inquire for pricing details. Another example I could find is priced at $21,750 for it’s ‘buy it now’ price, which is another 1974 model with 20,000 miles under its belt here

Across a few other sites it does seem the average rate for a good-condition Ducati 750 GT is in excess of $20,000, with the exceptions being less than that. 

Maybe for those in the UK and Europe there might be some saving made by importing from the US if you can find one at the right price point to account for import fees, shipping and everything else that comes along with doing so. 

What should you keep an eye out for when dropping a small fortune on the Italian machine? 

  • Go for one with history, receipts, owners knowledge. Chances are it will have had some work done, so you want to know what’s been replaced, changed or messed with. A seller will be asking good money for the motorcycle so you would hope they can answer your questions.
  • Check all the chrome and ensure it is in quality condition.
  • Make sure frame and engine numbers match.
  • Check the frame over, look for any botch jobs holding it together.
  • Look at the crankcases for any broken fins etc.
  • You want to know if the motorcycle had been ridden or has it been sat somewhere since the ‘70’s and not been serviced. Going for a motorcycle that has been used up until the date of sale is always a safer bet as you will know that the bike should mostly be mechanically sound. Cosmetic issues are always easier to sort than underlying mechanical troubles. 

Restoring a Ducati 750 GT

Restoring a Ducati 750 GT can be be a rewarding project for those who take great pride in their work. It can also be a fairly lucrative project too if done right.

One restored 1974 Ducati 750 GT is advertised on Car and Classic for £29,950, that’s quite a hefty amount for a bike that will soon be 50 years old, the pictures however paint a picture of a bike that really is a work of art in pristine condition. Another ground-up restoration is asking for £36,000.   

Original parts are around, not particularly cheap as you would expect, but if the bike is for yourself to ride rather than a later sale there is a replica parts market that could make up any missing parts for the build. 

Here are a few examples to give you an idea of original parts prices:

  • $650.00 Headlight
  • $250.00 Speedo
  • $350.00 Rear Fender
  • $950.00 Rear Wheel

Ducati Parts Online is another solid source that I point people to for Ducati parts. It saves scrolling through other sites for the specific bolts you might need and they are a reputable company. Based in Italy, they ship Worldwide and offer free shipping over €75 which isn’t too bad if you have a list of parts you need. 

Is a Ducati 750 GT a Good Investment?

The Ducati 750 GT is a relatively expensive investment but one that could be financially fruitful in a few years time. 

Finding the right one in the right condition is key to securing profit, although most bikes will hold their value and steadily increase regardless of condition thanks to them being highly valued and collectible.  

Verdict

I want one. That’s it. Nothing else left to say. Should I one day win the lottery and I am able to fulfil the dream of a garage full of classics, the Ducati 750 GT sits at the top of the shopping list.

The featured photo at the top of the page is a “Ducati 750 GT” which was taken by Mike Turner and is kindly licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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