There has, in recent years, been some speculation that Ducati might introduce a scooter. If they do, it is to be hoped that it proves to be more successful than their previous efforts! What were they you ask?
Way back in January 1952, when all the company made were Cucciolo variants, they jumped into the deep end of the scooter market with the introduction of the Cruiser. Exceptionally advanced for the time it was the first 4-stroke scooter made by a European manufacturer.
The OHV 175 cc motor was paired with an automatic gearbox (another first) which used a hydraulic torque converter and crown wheel/pinion drive to the rear wheel. Another innovation was the use of an electric starter.
At a time when nearly all bikes and cars used 6V electrics the Cruiser employed 12V and a large 32Ah battery. A patented front suspension design that used a hydraulic shock absorber and rubber damped rear suspension were fitted. The substantial bodywork was by Ghia.
Unfortunately the weight of 154 kg and complexity of the design resulted in both poor performance and reliability issues. Initially the motor made 12 hp but this was reduced to 7.5 hp to meet new regulations which limited scooters to 80 km/h – which didn’t improve matters.
After only about 2000 being built it was discontinued in 1954. These days they are highly prized! This is an original, unrestored example.
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