1969 Ducati 450 Jupiter Scrambler

| 4/12/2012 10:53:58 AM

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Steve Panofsky with his recently restored 1969 Ducati 450 Jupiter Scrambler. 

Steve Panofsky jumped at a second chance to own the bike of his youth, and he’s never going to let this one go. 

I bought my 1969 Ducati Jupiter Scrambler in 1971 used, for $600. I was in my junior year at Los Altos High in the Bay Area, and I was ready to upgrade from my Ducati 250 Monza that my brother gave me. It took a lot of work in the apricot orchards and lots of high weed mowing to come up with that kind of money.

We lived in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains in California, a 20-minute ride to the famed Skyline Boulevard heading north to Skylonda. There, I joined the bike nut crowd. Those mountain roads are where I really became proficient in road carving and daring do. Riding has been my love ever since, and that Jupiter did it all for me. It was really an early enduro. I could go on dirt roads, trails, twisties and a few longer adventures. With typical Ducati handling, light weight (325 pounds wet), plenty of midrange torque, and a smooth shifting five-speed, it was really fun to ride.

Here's what Steve started with. All there, just needed a lot of elbow grease to make whole again. 

I also learned the mechanical intricacies of a bevel-drive Ducati, for they always need a lot of fettling. Thanks to the abysmal support from Ducati, waiting for parts was always agonizing, for I wasn't riding for months at a time.