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HOME/Restoration #5 - Ducati 750 SS

13 May 2011 by Harm Heuvelman

Why would you restore a classic bike? And how should that be done? Is it to bring a classic Ducati to ‘better-than-new’ condition? Or is it just to make it technically function?

We have some strong opinions about restoration. We regard any classic motorcycle as a living being. Someone with a story to tell. Where it has been, what it encountered on its journeys, how its owners treated it over the years. And as any owner should realise; you’re only looking after your classic Ducati for a while before handing it over to someone else. The story continues long after the owner is gone…

So how should the owner look after its Ducati? It’s the story that should be preserved as best as possible. We like to call this story the 'patina' of the bike, reflected in scratches, dents and other traces of wear. To preserve this doesn't mean off course that the bike shouldn't be technically sound or that a big dent in the fuel tank where the garden furniture fell into should be left in place. The idea is to let the classic Ducati tell its story.

We see many bikes in a restored condition as if they were not good enough in the first place. Polished like a mirror they look like Cher coming out of surgery. Not to mention the ‘upgrades’ some owners have applied in the form of stickers, colourful brake lines or wind screens that could fit a city bus… like it’s wearing Puff Daddy’s jewellery.

So how should we go about this? We are currently in the process of restoring a 1976 Ducati 750 Super Sport, preserving the originality of this particular bike. We have extensive debate with the owner on how to perform every single detail of the restoration. From the cleaning and sand blasting of the crankcases to the paint restoration of the frame and from the re-use of original nuts and bolt to the spokes in the original Borrani wheels.

To perform a good restoration is like walking a tightrope. With every single little detail we have to ask ourselves how to preserve it. It’s easy to fit new parts or to refurbish it completely. The challenge of the job is to really restore it leaving the patina intact.

What we end up with is a classic Ducati in technically sound condition, not ‘improved’ but the way it was meant to be. A true classic, able to continue the story instead of starting a whole new one.

Tags: 750 SS, Mechanical Restoration, Patina Restoration

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