The first Ducati | The Ducati 60 Sport
This basic unprepossessing looking bike is actually rather important – the first Ducati motorcycle
The company Ducati was founded in 1926 (and thus is celebrating it’s 90th birthday this year) by brothers Burno, Adriano and Marcello – sons of industrial engineer Antonio Ducati.
Adriano was a highly gifted physics student working in the newly developed field of radio (its inventor, Guglielmo Marconi was from Bologna). Their first product was a capacitor and the company was soon manufacturing a wide range of radios and other electro-technical devices. Optical products were also sold such as cameras, lenses and film projectors. The company’s success in these fields resulted in their production being switched to military during WW II, with the result that the factory was destroyed by repeated Allied bombing.
After the war the government put Ducati in touch with SIATA who were building the 48cc four-stroke Cucciolo clip-on motor in low quantities (designed by lawyer and writer Aldo Farinelli in 1943). Ducati had a highly skilled, unemployed workforce used to producing high quality, highly technical designs, while SIATA was limited by their limited manufacturing capacity. Ducati started building the Cucciolo motor in 1946 and, after 25,000 had been made, they took over all manufacturing in 1947.
In 1949 Ducati decided to build their first complete motorcycle, the 60 Sport. Initially it used a Caproni designed and built frame that featured cantilever rear suspension and telescopic front forks. However the business relationship soon ended (in May 1950), when Caproni decided to produce their own motorcycles.
This unrestored 1949/1950 Series 2 60 Sport (photographed in the Morbideli Museum) has the Caproni frame and uses a 60cc version of the Cucciolo T3 motor that featured a revised bore and stroke, higher compression and a Weber carburettor. Series 2 bikes had engine numbers from 63015 and a number of minor changes compared to the Series 1 machines – slightly different rear brake and linkages, fork springs, chain guard and tank mounting and cap, etc. The motor produced 2.25hp at 5000rpm and the bike weighed 44kg.
This Series 2 has been restored but with numerous non-standard parts and the incorrect paint colour. The motor however, is correct.