Under the Radar Classic Italian Motorcycle

An under the radar classic Italian motorcycle is a seriously tough ask, because Italian classic motorcycles have been high on shopping lists for many years. Although an expensive classic Italian motorcycle towards the top end of the market, the 1975 Ducati 750SS and 900SS offers great value. With genuine green frame prices exploding further and one even sold at US$600,000 last year, prices are on the move for investment grade examples. (That particular 1974 Ducati 750SS that for US$600,000 was very special but it’s an indicator of where prices are going in the future). The 1975 Ducati 900SS is the first ever square case Ducati and they are very rare indeed. Many were instantly raced when purchased, lots were crashed and many were later broken for spares. The square case 900SS and 750SS were a big upgrade on the green frame round case 750SS. Round case 750SS were a very desirable and successful racing motorcycle and the square case was a big improvement in so many ways that really count. The motor was much easier to set up between rebuilds, as the square case took only an afternoon to build new in the factory whereas the round case took a day and a half. Build times are important when racing, because the quicker the engine is to build, the more time you have to extract more power. The square case is a much more accurately engineered motor and much easier to set up.

Under the radar classic Italian motorcycle
The 1975 Ducati 900SS and 750SS is a genuine under the radar classic Italian motorcycle.

Rare Ducati classic 

More than a rare Ducati classic, the 1975 Ducati 900SS and 750SS are arguably the rarest Ducati bevel drive ever made. The 1974 Ducati 750SS green frame is at the pinnacle of Ducati classic motorcycle investment with only 401 machines built. If you divide the 1975 machines into 750SS and 900SS with 259 of the former and 246 of the latter, then each is much rarer than a green frame.  Production of both still comes to only 495 units. These were the first ever year of production of the square case engine Ducatis, which in itself makes them highly collectible. The green frame was not only built to offer their first all out, large capacity sports motorcycle to the public. It was built to homologate the motorcycles that won Imola in 1972 with Paul Smart and Bruno Spaggiari taking first and second respectively in a legendary victory. Ducati learned a lot from the Imola racers and the green frame offered for sale to the public. So much of that knowledge, and using unique components on one model only, found their way onto the 1975 Ducati Super Sports. The 1975s were the last of the non-homologated right hand gear change V-Twin Ducatis ever made. As such, they used the frame from the green frame and much of the body work, but all slightly different. Other than the 1974 750SS green frame and these 1975s, no other motorcycle used this frame.

Under the radar classic Italian motorcycle
1975 Ducati 900SS sports a fibreglass Iola petrol tank.

Unique parts

Like the green frame the 1975 square case Super Sports are covered in unique parts. Without those parts, any machine bought today is not an investment grade example. In this article here, I talk about this being required for a green frame to be investment grade. These will end up in seven figures at some point in the future, and when they are, only complete motorcycles will go to those dizzying heights. Without these unique parts, which the motorcycle is littered with all over, values will be much, much lower. There is no availability for these unique parts, so a bitsa cannot be redeemed into an investment grade example. Like green frames, many of the machines in the market are fakes as one bike gets divided into two or a frame and engine have been forged from other parts. There are industries in forging 1975 square cases, green frames, Z Stripes, 750 Sports and Laverda SFC, to name but a few. People read all the books, study the internet and still they buy the incorrect example. Spotting a fake, or machine, or one which is not investment grade, comes from experience, not studying other people’s experience.

1975 Ducati 900SS
1975 Ducati 900SS was acquired for one of our clients by us.

Comparative values

Comparative values between investment grade green frames and 1975 square cases are, approximately, that the green frame is roughly twice the value of a ’75 square case. Values are unlikely to remain this way, as these are catching up with green frame values as investors discover these remarkable motorcycles. Values are also a moving target, as green frame values keep increasing. In 2010 the 75 square cases were approximately a quarter of the price of a green frame. The numbers of remaining investment grade green frames and 1975 square case Super Sports are about the same. It is clear that these unique square cases will find parity in value with green frames, so now is the time to buy an investment grade example. The 1975 was the first of the new generation square case, it owed more to the green frame than anything to come in the future of square case machines. Because Ducati decided to ignore homologation rules for 1975, it was the last of the unadulterated Ducatis, along with the non-homologated 1976 900SS. It was the first of the new generation, harking back to the green frame and yet the very last of the raw racing Ducatis, which was never to be re-visited again. These machines have all the ingredients of an iconic classic making it an under the radar classic Italian motorcycle, as prices are rising, but have a lot further to go. It’s only a matter of time before every green frame owner will want a 1975 Ducati 750SS and a 1975 Ducati 900SS. 

Under the radar classic Italian motorcycle
A staggering array of curves offset by the square case motor.

Fire breathing Ducati

These 1975 machines are fire breathing Ducati square cases, they doubled up as race bikes and many became just that. Very few would survive such a fate and were completely written off or had engine swaps. When these motorcycles were unleashed on the public, almost no one bought one and decided to keep it as an investment. Buyers of these Ducati motorcycles were enthusiasts who rode hard. Any that are brand new or very low mileage are best treated with suspicion, as a handful probably do exist but they are very difficult to find. Any buyers who owned one would have been inspired to ride it at great speed, as they inspire greatness in the rider. Once warm, they are not a motorcycle to commute on because every journey turns any road into a race track. They are highly focused motorcycles which are a delight to ride and sound irresistible. The Conti silencers are almost open and as close to straight through exhausts as you could source at the time, they’re race exhausts. They do offer some back pressure as any motor performs better with some resistance, but they are incredibly loud. When these motors fire up, make sure there are no horses, or anyone with a nervous disposition within earshot. Once the motor settles to a snorting tick over burble, any bystanders will find the soles of their feet brutally massaged through the tarmac from the big L shaped twin motor. This fire breathing Ducati makes a Vincent, Norton Commando, Harley or Triumph Bonneville sound kitten-like. If you want to find a high value under the radar classic Italian motorcycle, these 1975 square cases are unparalleled. 

1975 Ducati 900SS
The 1975 Ducati 750SS shares many parts with the legendary green frame.

Bevel drive Ducati

Every bevel drive Ducati offers the opportunity to travel back in time to an era where the motorcycle engineering will never again be repeated. As I’ve said in previous articles and as Ian Falloon points out in my interviews with him, when these motorcycles were built, they were sold at a loss. The Italian government wrote this loss off every year and subsidised every Ducati owner to buy their machine were ever they were in the world. The bevel drive was an incredibly expensive engine to produce and allowed the road going motorcycles to rev out to over 8,000 RPM. These L shaped twins revved out to pretty much the same as a Japanese across the frame four-cylinder motorcycles. Power comes straight in at tick over and these are very torquey motors which allow all the power to hit the tarmac while accelerating out of corners. 

1975 Ducati 900SS
1975 Ducati 900SS is pure art and a unique classic motorcycle.

Italian classic motorcycle investment

These Ducatis are an under-valued Italian classic motorcycle investment which are under estimated as well. These bevel drives will eat a highly tuned Vincent without batting an eyelid. They are becoming very collectible with a lot more headroom for future values, but only investment grade examples will deliver sky high profits. The 1975 Ducati 900SS and 750SS are half the price of a green frame, yet they are rarer, a better machine and will match the green frame as far as future values are concerned. They are a delight to own and ride and wonderful to just stare at, as they are a work of art. When you ride a properly set up bevel drive, you can easily see how Mike Hailwood famously won the TT on one of these. The 1975 Ducati 750SS and 900SS square case has all the ingredients to grow into a very expensive and highly desirable classic motorcycle. It has race history, is the first generation of the square case series, is incredibly rare, a direct and sole descendent of the green frame, rides like a dream and is a work of art. This under the radar classic Italian motorcycle couldn’t have more ingredients to deliver unimaginable profits and immense riding and ownership pleasure. However, only investment grade examples will deliver the profits required by classic motorcycle investors. If you are thinking about an investment grade 1975 Ducati 900SS or 750 SS, contact 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