1974 Ducati 750SS
By Tim Parker
What is this bike? First, we have to deal with the numbers.
Ducati built 401 Super Sport 750s in 1974 in their Borgo Panigale factory – those being the now familiar so-called round-case, green frame edition – with the series frame numbers starting at DM 750 SS 075001. The frame number was stamped on the left side between the engine mounts. This bike carries frame number DM 750 SS 075295.
The 1974 series 750 SS engine, “ostensibly shared with the 750 Sport”, had specific crankcases with a number series which also began with 075001. But engine and frame numbers did not match. The engine number was stamped on the left inner crankcase half, with DM 750.1 stamped on the right half.
This bike does not carry its original 750 SS engine number. Strictly speaking it’s only the inner crankcase halves that are stamped – not the other components. In the late 1970s the original engine was blown up on the race track to the extent it needed replacement inner crankcase halves.
The originals were discarded. The rest of the engine was then rebuilt around a 1973 750 GT first-production-batch pair of inner crankcase halves numbered 751554 (from the approximate 750 GT engine number range for that batch of 750700 to 752500.)
Thus, in the interests of full disclosure, on offer is a genuine 1974 Ducati 750 SS – round case, green frame – with its original 750 SS bevel drive, desmodromic engine and transmission “built on” a pair of genuine 1973 750 GT replacement inner crankcase halves.
We believe this 750 SS was modified straight from the factory, conceivably by its first owner, in Italy. Its life as a road racing motorcycle is not recorded, regrettably. However, starting in around the year 2000, in Italy, it underwent extensive but obviously careful, restoration, including a top quality repaint, so that it would still retain many of its period race modifications – those modifications which would not negate the future street riding experience.
In September of 2001 it was sold to the late David Morford of St. Paul, Minnesota, an avid rider and collector.
Twin plug heads, an Imola cam, milled outer cases, an oil cooler radiator, and Lockheed brakes, a wider Borrani rear rim, and some drilled and machined components for lightness.
Frame # DM750SS075295
Engine # 751554DM750
Homologation # DGM11871OM
Desmodromic vavle gear 5-speed
Bike located on US East Coast; all taxes and duty paid and can be viewed by arrangement
11/12/12 mileage at engine rebuild was 16,788
Sold with a clean New Jersey title
In November of 2010 the 750 SS was purchased by the seller. In late 2012 he decided that the engine should be rebuilt again, this time by “round case specialist” Mike Duzick of Mikmar Motor Service in Paxinos, Pennsylvania.Mike is on record that “the crank is a very special piece. It runs very strong!” Duzick worked his magic, re-boring the cylinders, installing new 81mm high compression pistons (1mm oversize), shimming the transmission, and meticulously setting up valve gear to perform on the road as it should. Today, equipped with all the necessities of being street legal, it starts and runs superbly. Duzick’s invoice is available listing all the rebuild parts and labor.
Morford had traveled with his friend Dave Burley, a Twin Cities restauranteur, to the Mostra Scambio Automotociclo D’epoca at the Rimini Fiera where he met the seller of two Ducatis, this 750 SS and a so-called NCR twin.
The seller’s name is not recorded. Both Minnesotan friends test rode each bike in the fairground’s parking lot and Morford purchased the two bikes on the spot. Burley reports that the sum of $25,000 was paid for this 750 SS that day.
Many components were specific for the Super Sport, including the center-axle Marzocchi fork, twin Scarab front brake calipers and 18in Borrani aluminum wheels.
On paper this bike is imperfect – it does not have its original crankcase – but on the move “it is simply magical in the manner in which it reaches out for the next section of road, and then proceeds to ‘demolish’ it.” That’s perfection.
Super Sport – Smooth – Strong - Soulful-
PHOTOS BY: JAMES TYLER REED
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