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This Isle of Man 900 SS is the definitive Ducati restomod

This ex-Isle of Man 900 SS is the definitive Ducati restomod
In the automobile world, if you need a millimeter-perfect restoration or subtle upgrades to the icon in your garage, you go to guys like Classic Motor Cars, Zweimüller or François Sicard.

In the Ducati world, if you live in Europe and know your stuff, the name Harné Heuvelman is likely to be on your list. With the help of his father Harm, Harné runs the workshop Back To Classics in the western Netherlands. They can rebuild, redesign and remanufacture anything you need for a Borgo Panigale classic.

This ex-Isle of Man 900 SS is the definitive Ducati restomod
BTC’s latest showpiece is this 1978 Ducati 900 Super Sport, an NCR-fettled racer that began life as a privateer entry in the Isle of Man TT. It was originally delivered to Steve Wynne of Sports Motorcycles, a key figure in Mike Hailwood’s TT success.

Wynne sent the cylinder heads to NCR for a performance boost and conversion to twin-spark ignition. He also reinforced the frame around the headstock, fitted a new swingarm designed for longer suspension travel, and installed a set of (very early) Öhlins rear shocks.

This Isle of Man 900 SS is the definitive Ducati restomod
The bodywork was changed around the same time: there’s an aluminum long-range fuel tank and a proper racing seat. And there are plenty of other typical late 70s racing tweaks, including a stunning set of wide magnesium Campagnolo wheels.

Harné’s client raced the bike throughout the 1980s and early 90s, and then parked it up in his shed for 20 years. “Then he decided to have the Ducati brought back to its former glory,” Harné tells us.

This Isle of Man 900 SS is the definitive Ducati restomod
On arrival at the BTC workshop in the rural village of Bergambacht, it was time for a check-up. “The frame needed straightening—probably because it was in a minor crash—but this was easily fixed. We did have to make (and weld) a lot of the lugs though.”

The engine rebuild was a little trickier. “The bike had spent a lot of time on the racetrack, and many parts needed extra attention and in some cases replacement.”

This Isle of Man 900 SS is the definitive Ducati restomod
BTC rebuilt the crankshaft, and installed new Carrillo conrods. The Venolia pistons were matched to a new set of liners, bored and honed to the correct clearances.

The NCR-tuned cylinder heads were rebuilt, and tuned and flowed still further. A new exhaust system was made up from steel tube, and ceramic-coated inside and out.

This Isle of Man 900 SS is the definitive Ducati restomod
The suspension is resolutely stock however, even though it would probably have been easier to machine up some new triples and bolt on later-model forks.

“The rear Öhlins shocks were originally fitted in 1978,” says Harné. “We found out that Öhlins started up the same year, so these are very early units made by this company. We of course restored and rebuilt them completely.”

This Isle of Man 900 SS is the definitive Ducati restomod
The front suspension is the standard Marzocchi unit the bike raced with back in the day. This was also restored and rebuilt.

The aluminum fuel tank is the original too, but with the dents removed. The seat is an original brought back to its former glory, but the fenders and front fairing are new items.

This Isle of Man 900 SS is the definitive Ducati restomod
BTC pride themselves on being thorough, right down to x-raying the wheels to find cracks. They even manufactured and fitted a brand new gearbox. “The gearbox is our own product,” says Harné. “It’s a standard street 3-dog version of the original 6-dog gearbox.”

“We could have gone for a racing gearbox with different ratios, but decided not to—given the owner’s desire to be able to ride on the road as well.”

This Isle of Man 900 SS is the definitive Ducati restomod
Yes, this machine is road legal in the UK. It still has its original UK registration, so BTC made a few discreet changes while staying as close to a full racing bike as possible.

There’s now a bolt-on side stand, a Motogadget rev counter with digital speedometer readout, a tiny horn, and lighting.

This Isle of Man 900 SS is the definitive Ducati restomod
Those parts—and the incredible rosso paint—are pretty much the only ones that weren’t made in the BTC workshop. Everything else was done in-house for this 900, including all the machining, the engine building and the restoration of aged individual parts.

At forty years old, this Ducati TT icon is now in the prime of its life.

Thank goodness there are still people like Harné Heuvelman and his son in this world.

Back To Classics | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Ernst Klip.

This ex-Isle of Man 900 SS is the definitive Ducati restomod

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