More Ducati 916 price increases

More Ducati 916 price increases just keep on coming. This time a Monoposto 1997 Ducati 916, not an SP but the standard Biposto engined Monoposto, sold for US$31,352 at the end of March 2023. The bike showed many signs of the corrosion we often have to deal with, so bringing it up to spec would be expensive. Iconic Auctions sold it and you can see the description and result at Iconic Auctions here. This wasn’t a one-off, because a similar 1997 Ducati 916 Monoposto made US$31,245 shortly afterwards which you can see at Iconic Auctions here. What is clear is that America and Japan are buying up all of the 916 SPs and non SPs they can get their hands on. There are also a lot of Ferrari owners buying up these machines, especially F40 owners, so prices will keep on increasing.

1994 Ducati 916 SP for sale
1994 Ducati 916 SP the first edition and most valuable.

Price rises were predicted

These price rises were predicted by us in this article about investing in a Ducati 916 SP in 2021. With classic motorcycle prices running at between less than 1% and 4% of the equivalent classic car, it’s inevitable that classic car owners are moving in on the great value they offer. We highlighted demand from classic car owners in this article about more evidence of classic car owners moving into classic motorcycles back in early 2019. As time passes classic motorcycle prices will become unrecognisable as investors move into stable tangible assets such as classic cars, art, wrist watches and classic motorcycles. When classic car values are compared to classic motorcycle values it is plain to see why prices have a long way to move upwards for the bikes. To get a better idea how undervalued prices are by comparison we wrote this article about the best classic car is a classic motorcycle which will clarify what is happening.

Ducati 916 SP3 RHS 2
Ducati 916 SP3.

 Ducati 916 SP price records

Ducati 916 SP price records were set last year with a 1995 Ducati 916 SP achieving £42,750 with Silverstone Auctions. What is clear is that there will be many more world records set for the 916 SP and 996 SPS series, as they are still very undervalued. Investors are now waking up to the way the price structure works for these iconic Ducatis. Buyers are flocking from all over the world to get in on 916 ownership, this fierce demand is not just isolated to the UK. These two 916 Monopostos have clearly set new records for non SP 916 Ducatis which demonstrates demand but is probably not a price trend for 916 Bipostos. However, the cost of resolving problems with Bipostos is pretty much the same as for resolving the problems with the Ducati 916 SP and Ducati 996 SPS, yet the Biposto does not offer the headroom the SPs offer classic motorcycle investors. Many more Biposto engined Ducati 916 and 996 range were produced than the 916 SP and 996 SPS model range. What is certain is that prices are seriously increasing for investment grade examples of these iconic classic Italian motorcycles.

1994 Ducati 916SP Orange peel on tank 1
The 1994 and 95 Ducati 916 SP are the most collectible of the entire range.

Ducati 996 SPS is a bargain

The Ducati 996 SPS is a bargain with Ducati 916 SP prices so high. Although not a cheap machine to acquire in investment grade condition, prices are around 20% less than the 916 SP series which offers buyers great value. They still have that iconic, timeless classic look and are much stronger motors. Apart from producing a bit more power, they are less fragile as well. Over time the 996 SPS will eventually catch up with the 916 SP series, but there will always be models which are more valuable than others. The 996 SPS series already has the Factory Replica, the Foggy Replica for the European market, which commands a higher premium than the Foggy Replica. The first two years of 916 SP production command a very high premium, especially the first year of production. However, at this moment in time the 996 SPS offers great value and prices will not remain where they are for long. Compared to the 916 SP series, the Ducati 996 SPS is a bargain. 

2000 Ducati 996 SPS Factory Replica 1
2000 model Ducati 996 SPS Factory Replica first series.

Investment grade Ducati 916 SP

An investment grade Ducati 916 SP or 996 SPS is becoming increasingly difficult to source now. Once they were five to ten years old they held very little value or desirability and during this period of the motorcycle’s life they were often used as cheap track bikes. When new there was an enormous demand for the road bikes to be stripped and raced by race teams, as they could not get their hands on the factory machines. Many were crashed when new by over zealous owners who really did believe they were Carl Fogarty. These were very rare motorcycles to begin with when they were new and their attraction to race teams and wanna be racers made investment grade examples even rarer over the decades. Now these bikes are getting on for twenty to thirty years old and Ducati’s finish is really starting to fail, as you and see in this article we wrote back in 2020 about how all Ducati 916 need work due to age. Another problem, which needs some diplomacy, is that even though many examples have full Ducati service history, it doesn’t mean that the dealer/s concerned actually did the work they were paid to do. There are also parts that need replacing and reconditioning, due to age, before an example can be declared investment grade. They need to be inspected without the bodywork to make a proper judgement call by someone who knows these machines intimately. They need to have the original components and original body panels they left the factory with, at the very least.

Corroded engine left
Engine and frame paint often fail at this point in the 916/996 series life.

Ducati 916 SP and Ducati 996 SP series

The Ducati 916 SP and Ducati 996 SPS series varies quite a lot where values are concerned and, as prices are increasing so quickly, values are a moving target. The pinnacle of Ducati 916 SP investment is the 1994 series one, as we wrote about in this article in 2022. The 1994 is the classic first year of production and the rarest of them all, colluding to make them the most desirable to collectors and therefore the most valuable. Although 310 were built in 1994, the majority of this production run went to race teams leaving very few for road riding enthusiasts. In 1995 they built 410 units, which were still in demand by the racing fraternity, but a few more found their way into enthusiasts’ hands. These first two series from 1994 and 1995 had no number on the fork yoke and even the factory do not have proper records about them. If the machine was exported through the parallel market, no engine number was on the invoice and they were not identified as SPs on Ducati’s paperwork. Ducati will say that they think the frame is from a Strada and they have no record of the engine, but this does not mean the machine is not genuine. There are people who have far better records of engine and chassis numbers and it is worth checking with them and there are also SP tell tales. After the 1994 and 95 series you have the SP3 for 1996 which was the first of the 916 SP series with a numbered plaque on the top fork yoke. These were the last of the 916cc machines with 497 being built and more finding their way to road riding customers, but many still went to the racing fraternity. For 1997 and 98 the 916 SPS replaced the 916 cc engined machines with the new 996 cc motor and they built 958 for 97 and 993 for 98 including the Foggy Replica. In 1999 the 996 SPS was introduced with 972 for 1999 and 865 for 2000. All of these machines are highly collectible and offer great value for those who can’t get into the first three series of these iconic classic motorcycles. 

1998 Ducati 916 SPS Carl Fogarty Replica
1998 Ducati 916 SPS Carl Fogarty Replica

Ducati 996R and 998 series

After 2000 the 998cc 996R and 998 series carried on for another two years. These motors had the new Testastretta cylinder heads with bigger valves and a much bigger sump. These motors added over 10% more power and you can really feel the difference. They have a much more brutal power delivery and keeping the front wheel on the ground is really quite challenging. This was the final swan song for the gorgeous Tambourini design era and is a very collectible and expensive series. They do not command the values of the first two series of the 916 SP but they are rare, and challenging to find, suffering from similar problems as the first two series of the Ducati 916 SP. The entire Tambourini Ducati 916 SP through to the Ducati 996R and 998 series really do offer a great variety for owners to enjoy. Within this series you have the 916 SPS Foggy Replica, the 996 SPS Factory Replica, the Pista, the 998 Final Edition and the Matrix 998 (I really don’t get this bike) among others. The factory built about 6,000 of these machines in the 916, 996 and 998 series, in its entirety. I would be surprised if it’s possible to make 3,000 investment grade examples of those 6,000 that were originally built, which makes these exceptionally rare motorcycles, especially those very early 916 SP. 

Ducati 996R Right hand side
The Ducati 996R still holds all of the guile of the 916 and 996 styling.

Now is the time to buy a Ducati 916 SP

Now is the time to buy a Ducati 916 SP through to the 998, as prices are only going only one way and that is stratospheric as these have every ingredient a classic motorcycle requires. They had legendary racing success with a true David and Goliath dynamic from what was just a bijou Italian motorcycle factory at the time. They possess an iconic design which is timeless and ingenious. They were exhibited as art at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. They are extremely rare and investment grade examples are seriously tough to find in amongst the pretty looking examples that are highly deceptive as you can see in this article we wrote about examining two Ducati 916 SPS Foggy Replicas in 2022. More Ducati 916 price rises are clearly on the horizon and these machines offer investors plenty of future headroom as more classic car owners move in on these machines. If you are excited about owning an investment Ducati 916 SP through to the 998 series, call The Motorcycle Broker. 

Paul Jayson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured in

The Motorcycle Broker
The Motorcycle Broker
The Motorcycle Broker
The Motorcycle Broker
The Motorcycle Broker
The Motorcycle Broker

Download your FREE Top 10 Classic Motorcycles Investments guide

Simply join the Inside-line Members club, it's FREE!

Vintage Motorcycle Investment PDF

Don't miss a post