Living Legend: A meticulously restored 1972 Ducati 750 Sport ‘Z Stripe’

1972 Ducati 750 Sport 'Z Stripe' at Moto Borgotaro
The legend of Paul Smart, Ducati, and the Imola race track is deeply entrenched in motorcycle history. Ducati’s groundbreaking 750 GT was barely a year old when Fabio Taglioni introduced the revolutionary desmodromic valve timing system, paving the way for a race-spec version. Paul Smart and Bruno Spaggiari famously piloted the ‘750 Desmo’ to first and second place respectively at the 1972 Imola 200, marking the dawn of Ducati’s superbike era.

Most people associate Ducati’s Imola 200 victory with the iconic 1974 750 Super Sport, but there’s an even rarer motorcycle that preceded it. Wedged between the 750 GT and the 750 Super Sport in the annals of Ducati history is the 1972 Ducati 750 Sport.

1972 Ducati 750 Sport 'Z Stripe' at Moto Borgotaro
Designed by Leopoldo Tartarini and produced in extremely limited numbers, the Ducati 750 Sport was essentially the closest thing to a production version of the 750 Imola Desmo. Like the race bike, it was derived from the 750 GT but made more power, thanks to an increased compression ratio and a pair of Dell’Orto PHF32A carbs. It also sported higher-spec components and could be specced with a fairing and twin front brakes, making it a great choice for track racers.

Curiously though, the 750 Sport still used the GT’s regular valve train, rather than the new desmodromic system. This was presumably a move to keep costs down—or to give the desmo time to develop before sticking it in a production model.

1972 Ducati 750 Sport 'Z Stripe' at Moto Borgotaro
The first edition of the 750 Sport wore a striking black and yellow livery, with a unique tank graphic that earned it the ‘Z Stripe’ nickname. Z Stripe 750s are as rare as you’d imagine them to be—and, sadly, easy to fake if you have a 750 GT and the right mix of parts.

This particular Z Stripe is the real deal though. It’s currently gracing the floor of Moto Borgotaro in Brooklyn, New York—a shop that specializes in classic European motorcycles. Proprietor Peter Boggia not only has impeccable taste, but also has a knack for finding rare and beautiful machines that would complete any petrolhead’s dream garage.

1972 Ducati 750 Sport 'Z Stripe' at Moto Borgotaro
The bike was originally sold in Torino, Italy, in 1972—as verified by a copy of the original Italian registration. It was bought by a German enthusiast in 1988, before eventually ending up in the hands of Belgian-based Ducati collector Achim Gier, who painstakingly restored it.

Many restoration jobs are fraught with compromises and substitutions, mostly because it’s hard to find original parts for vintage bikes. But Achim’s dedication to making every inch of this Z Stripe 750 one hundred percent period correct is as commendable as it is mind-blowing.

1972 Ducati 750 Sport 'Z Stripe' at Moto Borgotaro
Motorcycle Classics delves into Achim’s meticulous restoration process, shedding light on his quest for authenticity. It tells how he rebuilt the motor, and how he hunted down a 19720-model Borrani rim to replace the incorrect 1974-model rim that had been fitted to the bike at some point. Enthusiasts will appreciate the originality of components like the Marzocchi forks, Scarab brakes, and fiberglass tank and tail.

The fairing is another original factory part, but Achim bought it years before laying hands on the 750 Sport. The mounting hardware and windscreen came from various other sources, and the paint was replicated by matching the color to the few new-old-stock parts that Achim had in stock. From the switches and clocks to the myriad stamped bolts, this 750 Sport is a time capsule like no other.

1972 Ducati 750 Sport 'Z Stripe' at Moto Borgotaro
But don’t just take our word for it. To verify the 750 Sport’s authenticity, Peter brought in respected motorcycle historian and author, Ian Falloon.

“As the engine and frame number sequence was shared with the 750 GT, unfortunately, many examples of this model are converted 750 GTs,” reads an extract from Ian’s official report. “But as this example has known history from its original sale in Italy in December 1972, it is almost certainly a genuine example and one of an estimated 300 produced during 1972.”

1972 Ducati 750 Sport 'Z Stripe' at Moto Borgotaro
“Most of the specific components that characterize a 1972 Ducati 750 Sport are also present. In terms of overall presentation, it would be one of the most original examples in existence.”

Owning such a rare piece of motorcycle history is the stuff of dreams—but dreams don’t come for free. This 1972 Ducati 750 Sport is currently being offered for sale by Moto Borgotaro, with its price available upon inquiry. As they say, if you have to ask…

Moto Borgotaro | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Glen Allsop

1972 Ducati 750 Sport 'Z Stripe' at Moto Borgotaro

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