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Ducati 200 Élite

1962 Ducati 200 Elite classic motorcycle
It’s been too long since we’ve featured vintage Italian machinery. And then I stumbled across this jaw-dropping shot of a Ducati 200 Élite from 1962. To my eyes, it’s the perfect post-War motorcycle, and I’m not surprised to learn that it was a huge success when it appeared in 1958. The 204cc bevel-driven motor is simply a bored-out version of Ducati’s contemporary 175cc thumper—but it was good enough for 18bhp and 144kph (90mph), because the bike weighs a mere 105kg (230 lbs). The Real Classic website has a detailed write-up of the history of the model, reporting that “The standard roadbike was an all-purpose run-around rather than a racer, but if you wanted to go faster then there was a different carb set-up and a camshaft with a steep cam angle. Of course, the bog-standard spec bikes could happily return 70mpg, so you might not want to tinker with it too much…” For me, there’s as much artistry in the styling as the mechanicals. That tank in particular is a three-dimensional work of art, with more curves than Dita Von Teese. A welcome antidote to the angular, slash-and-cut plastic mouldings on too many motorcycles today. [Images below via Ducati Masip.]

Ducati 200 Elite classic motorcycle
Ducati 200 Elite classic motorcycle