Monday, August 27, 2007

1952: When Ducati made scooters…

The 1952 Ducati Cruiser. Ride this, Stoner...

Those who’ve grown up seeing Ducati 851s, 916s, 999s and the latest 1098, would probably find it hard to believe that at one time, Ducati used to make scooters. Yes indeed, the 175cc Ducati Cruiser, the first four-stroke Italian scooter, was shown at the Milan Motorcycle Show back in 1952!

Styled by Ghia, the Cruiser was Ducati’s first scooter, and the first Italian scooter to be fitted with an automatic transmission. The 54-kilo machine was even fitted with electric start. The Cruiser’s 175cc single-cylinder engine was initially tuned to make 12bhp, but was later strangled down to 7.5 horsepower – Italian government regulations of that time limited scooter speeds to only 80km/h.

Later, Ducati also made another scooter – the 98cc Spartan, which was later upgraded to 125cc. However, Vespa and Lambretta had already established their names in the scooters market, and Ducati did not succeed in this segment. They only made a thousand odd units of the Cruiser and stopped production of scooters by 1954.

From the 175cc Cruiser to this beautiful mid-90s 916 (above), it was a long, long journey for Ducati...

The 1984 Ducati 750 F1 (above, left) and Mike Hailwood's legendary TT racer from 1978 (above, right)

More scooters:
The amazing Gilera Fuoco 500
The pathbreaking Piaggio MP3
Scooter chic from Tokyo...
Yamaha EC-02: A scooter from the future!
Honda Zoomer: A scooter for MotoGP riders!
The Independent's Top 10 Classic Scooters
Street survival tips for scooterists...

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