Ducati becomes the fourth motorcycle marque to be honored by Amelia Island Concours, as the Italian maker of high-performance bikes joining former honorees Triumph, BMW and Vincent. A field of 18 rare and significant Ducatis will appear at the 2013 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, led by the seminal ‘Cucciolo’ that, in 1946, began Ducati’s rise to the pinnacle of motorcycle excellence.
Before World War II, Ducati produced electronic equipment, most notably radios. By 1939 Ducati was Italy’s second largest company with nearly 11,000 employees, but the war ended Ducati’s primary business. Revival came from SIATA who allied with Ducati to produce small, clip-on engines for bicycles. Delivering over 75 mpg, the little bicycle engine changed the course of the company.
Like Ferrari and Porsche, Ducati has a dominant central character – designer/engineer Fabio Taglioni. Taglioni’s first motorcycle to wear the Ducati name was a small masterpiece, the 100cc Gran Sport, nicknamed ‘Marianna’ (for the Madonna). When racer Giovanni Degli Anotoni won the 1955 Motogiro d’Italia on a ‘Marianna’, the course of Moto Ducati was set.
For 30 years Taglioni led Ducati to victories and championships from his drafting table. In 1977 Cook Neilson chronicled the transformation of a Ducati street bike into a Daytona Super Bike winner in his Racer‘s Road series for Cycle Magazine. He won the 1977 Daytona Super Bike race on the Ducati 750 SuperSport nicknamed “Old Blue” made famous through Neilson’s series. A year later, motorcycle racing legend Mike Hailwood won the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy on a Ducati 900SS, further blurring the distinction between Ducati production motorcycles and pure racing bikes. In 2013, the 18th annual Amelia Island Concours will feature Ducatis in both corsa (racing) and strada (street) trim.
A tribute 1974 Ducati 750SS nicknamed ‘Deja Blue’, for the ’77 Daytona Super Bike winner, shares the Ducati field with a collection of the Italian thoroughbreds. The display will chronicle a half-century of Ducati history from the seminal ‘Cucciolo’ through the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum’s 1979 Hailwood Isle of Man racer, to famous motorcycle author Vicki Smith’s 1997 Ducati 916SPS.
“Ducati is one of those rare machines that, like Ferrari, is capable of stirring the blood of a certain kind of rider,” said John Duss, Amelia Concours board member and motorcycle expert and historian. “Ducati has, through excellence and competition, become not only famous, but an aspirational motorcycle.”
The 2013 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will be held March 8-10th on the 10th and 18th fairways of The Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach adjacent to The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. The show’s Foundation has donated over $2 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc. and other charities on Florida’s First Coast since its inception in 1996.
For more information, visit ameliaconcours.org.
[Source: Amelia Island Concours]