Ducati 125 Grand Prix

Ducati 125 Grand Prix prototype
I’ve often thought that the appeal of racing motorcycles is in their sculptural qualities. And despite the charmless name, there are few things more elegant than a ‘dustbin’ fairing from the 1950s. This one is an exceptionally beautiful example, and a testament to the metalworker’s skill. It was created for a 1955 Ducati 125 Grand Prix prototype, a machine based on the 100cc Gran Sport designed by Fabio Taglioni. Nestling in the frame is a single-cylinder DOHC ‘Bialbero’ engine: in Grand Prix trim, it produced a 16hp at a heady 10,500rpm.

Ducati 125 Grand Prix prototype
This particular bike was successfully raced by Willy Scheidhauer, who scored wins at Zandvoort and Tubbergen between 1956 and 1961. The fairing was removed after the ban of 1957: riders discovered the fairings could make a bike dangerously unstable, trading safety for efficiency. All the Ducati dustbins were then destroyed or ‘lost’, so this one was meticulously recreated by Evan Wilcox, using archive photographs as references. The rest of the motorcycle was restored by Hugo Gallina of Vintage Italian Restoration. If you’re thinking it’s worthy of a place in a museum, you’re right—the bike is now owned by the Silverman Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Isn’t it beautiful? [Many thanks to Jose Gallina for the images and information: see more in his wonderful Flickr set.]

Ducati 125 Grand Prix prototype
Ducati 125 Grand Prix prototype
Ducati 125 Grand Prix prototype
Ducati 125 Grand Prix prototype