The Ducati 750 GT
The bike that set Ducati's course
Ducati got it right with the GT750. The bike's perfect proportions make it a feast for the eyes.
Photo by Roland Brown
Ducati 750 GT
Years produced: 1971-1974
Total production: 4,093
Claimed power: 60hp @ 8,000rpm
Top speed: 125mph
Engine type: 748cc overhead valve, air-cooled 90-degree V-twin
Weight (dry): 185kg (407lb)
Price Then: $1,995 (1972)
Price Now: $5,000-$8,000
MPG: 30 (period brochure)
I shouldn’t be surprised at just how good this Ducati 750 GT is. As a teenager in the 1970s I’d admired and lusted after the big Bolognese V-twins; read about them and dreamed about them, while riding around on a succession of much less glamorous British and Japanese machines. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to ride a few classic Ducatis, and not one of them has disappointed.
But the brilliance of the 750 GT, the first of the Ducati V-twin line, still comes as something of a shock to me. Even looking around this immaculate bevel-drive twin is a treat, admiring its stylish orange-and-black paintwork, its period badges, and the lines of that big air-cooled engine with its cooling fins going off in all directions and its attractive, rounded alloy crankcases.
Sitting astride the firmly padded seat and firing up the engine with a lazy kick to send the slender Conti pipes barking out their uniquely tuneful sound is an audible treat. Better still is riding away on what, after all, was the first and least powerful of the twins, to discover that it is not just respectably rapid, but torquey, stable, bursting with character and, most of all, wonderfully enjoyable to ride. After 20 minutes I am severely tempted to turn around, head straight back to the owner and make him an offer to buy it. (Before the thoughts of mortgage payments, my more mundane motorcycling needs and the commitment needed to keep an old Ducati in top form brings me sadly to my senses.)
Perhaps I am surprised at how good the 750 GT is because of the impressive reputations of more famous models such as the 750 Sport, 750SS, 900SS and others that followed it. Maybe I’ve subconsciously assumed that the basic 748cc V-twin that began the line must have been fairly ordinary. The more glamorous sports models overshadowed it, so presumably it must have had some teething problems, or at least some minor design flaws that made it less than desirable all these years later, right?
Nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary, the Ducati 750 GT , with which Ducati’s design genius Fabio Taglioni introduced the V-twin line, was not just a bold and innovative high-performance machine when introduced in 1971. It was also remarkably capable and well-sorted right from the word go. Apart from paint color and a few minor modifications, there is no difference between this late-model 750 GT, which was built in 1974, and the first machines off the Bologna production line in 1971.
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