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.
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