Historic Ducati 750 Imola Could be Yours… for £600,000

A Ducati 750 Imola Desmo similar to the bike used by Paul Smart in the 1972 Imola 200 on is set to fetch a huge sum at auction later this month

Paul Smart - Ducati

A Ducati 750 Imola Desmo is up for auction later this month and is estimated to fetch between $650,000-$750,000.

That’s between £520,000-£600,000 in real money, and that makes this one of the most expensive bikes of the year. Possibly the most expensive bike, in fact.

And, for good reason, as it’s the Ducati 750 Imola that Paul Smart rode to victory at the Imola 200 in 1972. Or so it would seem, at least, since the bike bears the same #16 that Smart rode to victory in April '72. In actuality, though, the real bike is on display in the Ducati museum in Bologna. The bike for auction does at least look the part, though.

The 750 was one of the machines that marked Ducati’s return to motorcycle competition in the early 1970s. Although it was the 750GT production roadster from which the race bike was ultimately derived, its engine was effectively a bored-out version of that used by Ducati in the 500cc World Championship in the early 70s.

Ducati prepared eight of its 750s in 1972 for the inaugural Imola 200, a 200-mile race at the famous Italian circuit, and named them ‘750 Imola Desmo’. Paul Smart, Bruno Spaggiari, Ermanno Giuliano, and Alan Dunscombe were all taken on by Ducati to ride its 750s at Imola that year, with Smart famously coming out the victor beating Spaggiari and Walter Villa on a Triumph.

Smart had begun Grand Prix racing two years earlier in 1970, and by the end of 1972 would have seven podiums to his name despite only having started 10 races. 

Smart’s Imola 200 success was his most famous achievement, though, and for that, he was rewarded by Ducati in 2006 with the Ducati PaulSmart 1000 LE, a limited edition bike based on the Sport1000 model from the 2000s SportClassic range.

The bike to be auctioned, though, is as limited as it gets. One of one. The one, actually. It doesn’t get much more historical than this, so if you can find £600,000 down the back of the sofa you simply must go to Gooding & Co.’s Geared Online auction and try to make it yours.

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