Box-fresh Ducati 851 Lucchinelli Replica up for auction

One of the rarest Ducatis ever - and one of the late Massimo Tamburini's most famous designs - still crated

A DUCATI 851 Lucchinelli Replica remains one of the rarest machines the firm has ever offered – and this one, which goes under the hammer this month, may well be unique in having never even been removed from its packing crate.

The machine is also one of the most famous race bikes style by designer Massimo Tamburini, who died on Saturday.

In 1989 Ducati made around 20 Lucchinelli reps, complete with the 888cc engine as used by the firm’s first WSB winner – the 851 ridden to victory by Marco Lucchinelli in race two at Donnington Park during the opening round of the first ever WSB season, in 1988.

The 2mm overbore, resulting in an extra 37cc over the stock 851, upped power to a claimed 132bhp, and the Lucchinelli replica was aimed squarely at privateer racers rather than collectors or private owners. A pure race bike, with no lights, mirrors or speedo, most of the handful built ended up on the track.

Not this one, though. Brought into the UK by the official importer in January 1990 and sold straight to a collector who intended to use it as a track day bike, it has never been removed from its crate or built up. The spares package it came with is still bubble-wrapped, as are the handlebars, and there are plenty of other oddly-shaped bits in boxes and brown paper wrapping that have clearly never been opened. Looking at the pictures alone brings on Christmas-morning desires to tear straight into them and reveal the mysteries they hold; how the original owner contained himself for more than 20 years is a mystery. 

Bonhams is selling the bike at the Stafford sale on April 27, and we suspect it will blow past its £14-18,000 estimate. Another zero-mile (but not crated) Lucchinelli rep sold for nearly £27,000 back in 2010,  and surely this one is even more notable?

But what would you do with it? Keep it as it is, or rip the packaging off, build it up and ride it, and to hell with the value?

See the details here.