Ducati 750SS and 900SS bevel drive as an investment

Ducati 750SS and 900SS bevel drive as an investment will deliver fantastic profits over time. Ducati’s 750/900SS square case is nothing short of a fantastic investment, and now it’s time to drill down into the facts and understand this vintage motorcycle better. With only 260 units built in 1975, this is rarer than a Green Frame. As predicted in my piece back in late 2018, prices have increased fiercely more than doubling in two years. The 1976 machines have all more than doubled in price since 2018, not surprising since only 1,300 were ever built. The 1977 machine is identical to the 1976 (pretty much and depending upon which market it was destined for). So now investors are hunting these down. The 750 machines are seriously rare and investors are paying very high premiums for them. They are not just a sleeved down 900, there are differences around the crank and bevel area. They were built in very limited numbers to homologate them to race in the 750cc series. Between 1975 and 1978, when they were discontinued, only 500 units were built with only about 150 investment grade examples left today, probably less.

1976 Ducati 900SS RHS

The motorcycle as art

So many agree that these rare and early bevel drives are a motorcycle as art. The 1978 model did get a little dumbed down and many came with mag wheels and a double seat. These models are not quite such a great investment but still offer great returns. In 1979 (’78 for the UK) Ducati built 800 of the black and gold 900SS. So of the 1976 and 77 model only about 2,600 were built. Of those there are about 260 non-homologated per year and the famous single digit chassis number machines.  Those 510 machines are considerably more expensive than the standard 750/900SS, making about 2090 units of the standard machines available from the day they were built. It’s hard to find numbers for the 750cc machines built over these two years, but I suspect it’s about 500 units, which are much more expensive than the 900. This leaves about 1,500 1976 Ducati 900SS originally built for 76 and 77. But 1,500 is only the number (over two years of production) of machines that were built. How many are still available in investment grade condition? Probably well below 500. About half were raced, stolen or written off. Many were broken for parts. Broken for PARTS? Yes! When people blew their motors up in the 1990s and these bikes could be picked up for £1,500, they would pick up a scruffy bike for less than £1,000, swap motors and sell off what remained while putting the good motor in their bike. They would sell the remaining spares for about £2,500. And Ducati Bevels have weak cranks, if they are not set up and looked after correctly. Many threw con rods through engine casings. Realistically, I suspect (and judging by the amount of Bevels we don’t investigate once we establish it has the wrong engine) there are about 200 in market worth buying which are right. And a further 200 requiring a full restoration at great cost.

These are incredibly rare motorcycles

These are incredibly rare motorcycles.  Just for perspective you can see here how many Vincents were built. I was told about 5,000 were V twins, but I suspect they built more. You can see that Brough built 3048 machines here,  that’s half as many Broughs as homologated Ducati 900SS for 1976/77. That’s well over twice as many V twin Vincents as these Ducatis. I cannot stress how rare these machines are and how undervalued they are. These machines will eclipse Vincents and will go on to increase in value heavily. People spend tens of thousands of pounds trying, unsuccessfully, to make a Vincent go like a Ducati 750GT (which is slower than a 900SS)!

Motor RHS 1
Another work of art in the motor department from Ducati

Future values will rocket

Future values will rocket to unrecognisable values for these bevel drive Ducatis. I find investment grade Ducati 750/900SS for investors for a living. I can tell you it can take easily six months to find an investment grade example and during that time prices are increasing steeply. I would estimate that there are far less than 1,000 investment grade pieces left worldwide. Yes there are lots of machines available, but you won’t ever find the correct parts to make them investment grade again. There are numerous fakes in the market and machines with their clone in the market. It’s only the investment grade pieces that hold their value in times of crisis and offer the incredible returns investors are seeking. The rest just languish on eBay, Car and Classic, in motorcycle dealers and in auction houses. The true investment grade pieces either change hands privately or through a brokerage deal. Something else to note about these incredible motorcycles. When new they came with Lafranconi silencers, 32mm Dellorto carbs and an airbox. In the crate with them was a set of Conti silencers and bell mouth filters for the 40mm Dellortos. Owners immediately threw their Lafranconis, airbox and 32mm carbs in the bin. These items really add value to the motorcycle and are almost irreplaceable.The Lafranconis are no longer available, the 32mm Dellortos can be picked up but the airbox is not available and no one makes a replica except us.

Price predictions

Machines with everything, which are investment grade, will hit seven figures within five to ten years. Now, just to give you an idea of how accurate we’ve been in our past price predictions, look at just the beginning of 2019 in this article. I predicted that Bevel Drives would increase heavily in values and they have. Then this piece in 2017 when I predicted Bevel drives would increase and they have doubled in price since then. I wrote about the demographic shift in classic motorcycle prices in this piece in 2013 where I said that most British bike prices will eventually fall due to demographics and got lots of emails saying I didn’t know what I was talking about. All I can say in response is that I hope none of those emailed me bought Triumph Bonnevilles and Norton commandos. We have predicted the market trends because we have the data and we study it. None of this is rocket science and neither is it opaque. It is just supply and demand. It is just how many were built and how many are left in investment grade. Simple.

Now is the time to invest in a Ducati 750SS or 900SS

Now is the time to invest in a Ducati 750SS or 900SS. These machines can still just about be picked up as they can be found if you look hard enough. But you need to know what you’re looking for, have access to factory records and understand these motors really very well. Very few of the original machines are investment grade as they were raced, crashed, bodged and customised. To ride they are a complete joy once set up correctly, which most are not.

Lafranconis ride better

To tell the truth, the 900SS rides much better with the original airbox, Lafrancois and 32mm carbs. It’s more torquey and user friendly than with the 40mm open Dellortos and Contis. These additions make the bike much more rev happy, less torquey and much more peaky, like a racebike. For real road use the big standard set up is much better for road use, but everyone wants to believe they’re Mike Hailwood.

If you are looking for one of the best investments over the next decade, then pick up an investment grade Ducati 900SS from 1976/77 or a black and gold one, or one of the first 200-ish Mike Hailwood Replicas, which you can read about here. If you want to know where to be certain of buying an investment grade classic Ducati 750SS or 900SS then call The Motorcycle Broker on 01803 865166.  

Paul Jayson


8 Responses to “Ducati 750SS and 900SS bevel drive as an investment”

  1. I have a 1976 900ss left over from my dads deceased estate. I will need a total restro. But is complete and has all the Australian compliance plates and stampings. It rough, there’s no hiding that. How much should I put it on the market for? There is also a 1976 750ss in his collection in good condition. What should I be asking for it?

        • Paul Jayson

          I believe this is true, however I haven’t checked. However, the 1976 was the first year of production, except for the ’75, and is just more desirable when collectors see them. They’re iconic looking, although the ’82 is in fact a better motorcycle. That is the fickle world of collecting.

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