Ducati 860 GTE

The Ducati 860 GTE, an electric-start version of the 860 GT
In 1973, Ducati broke with tradition and gave an outsider complete control over the design of a new model. The result was the controversial, slab-sided 860 GT. It was created by car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro with an eye to the US market—and perhaps unfairly, it’s been considered the ugly duckling in the Bologna line-up. The GTE shown above is one of just 14 exported to Australia: the ‘E’ signified the presence of electric-start and twin front discs. Owned by the leading Australian photographer Phil Aynsley, this bike was beautifully restored by specialist Tony Hannagan of BevelTech. After the correct steel rims and tires were fitted (not the alloys shown in the image), the bike was sold to a collector in Switzerland. [For more conventional beauty, check out Aynsley’s stunning custom Ducati Desmo.]

  • http://www.ronniebrown.co.uk Ronnie

    I think it’s beautiful, but green’s not really my colour.

  • Curt


    they were when new and still are today

    the more-rounded GTS version is less-objectionable,
    but still no 750GT …

  • Scott

    It’s rarity makes it beautiful. Guaranteed to be the most looked at, talked about Ducati at your local bike night. I’d much rather see one of these than yet another Monster (which is an acquired taste in it’s own right…it’s not called a Monster for nothing!)

  • Tinker

    I rather like it, it looks like a motorcycle SHOULD look, functional, two wheels, a fork, and an engine, and not a lot of body work, fairings and the like. Not sure if green is the right color but at least its NOT red, like every other Ducati. It doesn’t look like a japanese bike, either. Maybe a Motoguzzi? I’ll have to think about it.

    How about black with gold metalflake, gold decals etc? Didn’t Yamaha use that around 1976-79 on their XS750? And their 400/4cyl? No? Paint it monochromatic silver, then. And that rear fender, way over the tire, hmmm.

  • http://cohobot.blogspot.com/ coho

    The green I like, nice shade. The parts covered by that lovely green are awful. The seat’s not so hot, either.

    That motor, though, is way sexy.

  • Brooks

    Speaking of things that look like lawnmowers!

    I think that actually speaks to part of why it gives the impression it does. In 1973, that look was very cutting-edge motorcycle and automotive design. (There are some concept cars from the era it would look right at home with; many of them also designed by Guigaro, now that I think of it.) Because that was the cutting edge, though, rather than going off in its own unique direction, everyone copied it. And in a decade, that style had trickled down to basic utilitarian stuff like lawnmower — not executed as well, certainly, but competent if pedestrian usage of the same visual vocabulary, and that’s when I was of an age to be imprinting on what a lawnmower looks like.

    Also, that green isn’t that far off of Wizard Lawnmower Green.

    I like it quite a lot, but I like it in the same way I like a nice well-executed utilitarian industrial design — the emotions the design evokes for me are not “sexy”.

  • http://www.philaphoto.com Phil

    The green is a very, very close match to the original colour by the way – and the seat is quite comfy!

    What I like is the purity of the design.

    For those interested:


  • Paul

    They were always the cheap Dukes, when you couldn’t afford a Desmo or Darmah, you got one of these. They were so ugly (compared to the SS/SD bikes). Now though, they look much better. Probably that’s just nostaliga. Phil Aynsley has taken some beautiful photos of a gloriously preserved bike, but it still looks bad. If you only look at the engine, the pipes, and the wheels, it looks sweet. That tank / seat / side panel combo though was hideous then and is hideous now.

    What are the pipes anyway? They’re not Lafranconis or Contis are they? Not original either, I’m guessing.

  • Paul

    Oops, sorry. Just had a look at a couple of old photos. Those are original exhausts.

  • Vincent

    The only bike I ever regret selling was this model, only black with gold later taken back to an original blue with sliver. Yes, many did look down on them (not desmo) but they are a wolf in sheeps clothing. I did many many miles mostly trouble free (minor stuff of course) and it cruised happily at 160k two up – just took fractionally longer to get there… If I ever got he chance to buy another or my old one back, I would. Bare basics donk with wheels but a damn fine bike that saw off many newer Japanese bikes.