The Vee Two Hailwood Replica made its public debut at last August's Isle of Man Classic TT, displayed alongside the original Ducati 900F1 the legendary Mike "The Bike" Hailwood rode to victory in his famous TT comeback 40 years ago, in 1978.
Powered by the all-new Ritorno (Italian for "comeback") 905cc bevel-drive desmo V-twin engine, the Hailwood Vee Two is an exact copy of Hailwood's winning bike, which was powered by a factory prototype of the classic Ducati bevel-drive V-twin that was never put into production. The Vee Two Hailwood was created by Ducati specialist Brook Henry and sport bike and race bike accessory manufacturer Paul Taylor through their new joint venture, Vee Two USA. Henry produces the engines at his company Vee Two in Australia, while the chassis, bodywork, decoration and final assembly is carried out at Taylor's TaylorMade Racing in Los Angeles.
Henry acquired the original casting patterns, factory drawings and manufacturing rights to build the engine design a few years ago. "It had always been my dream to construct this bike," Henry says, "but it wasn't possible without the Ritorno. I worked hard to make it externally identical to the 1978 engine, but it is thoroughly modern inside, with the latest technology and materials giving 89 horsepower performance." Henry fired up the 905cc twin to applause from an appreciative crowd.
Steve Wynne of Sports Motorcycles, who built Hailwood's bike and arranged for Hailwood's ride, described the replica as "probably more perfect than the original." The original No. 12 Ducati that Hailwood rode was also on hand and was ridden around the TT Mountain Course in a 100.80mph parade lap by 23-time TT race-winner John McGuinness, immediately after he had won the 2018 Senior Classic TT on a 500cc Paton — his own comeback to racing after being sidelined for 18 months from crash injuries.
"The look of the bike is exactly as raced on June 3, 1978," Taylor says, "It's a true Hailwood replica." The Vee Two team was allowed exclusive access to the original by owner Larry Auriana. It took Henry and Taylor 18 months to create the Vee Two Hailwood.
Only 12 of the Vee Two Hailwood bikes will be built, reflecting the racing number on Hailwood's bike in his celebrated 1978 TT win. Priced at £110,000 (approximately $144,000 U.S.), a Vee Two Hailwood won't fit everyone's budget, but as one TT visitor said, "I've been looking at an original Ducati Hailwood Replica road bike, but the owner wants £35,000 ($46,000 U.S.) for it. When you consider that is a road bike and the Vee Two is an exact, handmade copy of a historic race bike, it does make you think." Ducati sold over 7,000 examples of the replica road bikes, all based on the 900SS street bike. Want a Vee Two Hailwood of your own? Act quickly, because even at their heady price, they're bound to be snapped up fast.