Tagged: 1974

Unrestored Original: 1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport for Sale

1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport L Side Front

You’d be forgiven for thinking the site is now ClassicItalianSportbikesforSale.com, considering the raft of recent posts… and that impression won’t be changing this week, with two bikes from Mandello del Lario that were just too nice to pass up, starting with this beautiful V7 Sport.

1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport R Side

While Moto Guzzi has, for the past twenty years or so, been thought of as more of a sport-touring manufacturer, like an Italian BMW, it’s important to remember that the V7 Sport and LeMans were very serious sports motorcycles, as quick and nimble as anything being made at the time. In fact, a comparison between the Le Mans and the Ducati 900SS saw reviewers describing the Guzzi as having the freer-reving engine. And while the shaft drive’s torque-effect is noticeable, you quickly get used to it. It was only Guzzi’s inability to keep up with the relentless forward march of the Japanese manufacturers that forced them to recast their image in the same way the Brits were forced to in the 1980’s, trading “performance” for “sophistication” and “character.”

1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Clocks

The V7 was where it all began for Guzzi’s v-twin sportbikes. The earlier loop-framed motorcycles offered stable handling, comfort, and reliability, but were too tall and too heavy to really perform as sportbikes. So Lino Tonti designed a new frame that wrapped around the longitudinally-mounted engine and bulky five-speed transmission, using removable down-tubes to allow for servicing. The engine was punched out to 748cc’s to comply with 750cc class limits and the generator was moved to the front of the engine to reduce overall height. The result was bike with a long, low silhouette that handled well, stopped quickly, and made plenty of power.

1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport R Side Rear

This example has relatively low mileage and is claimed to be in original, unrestored condition. To me, these bikes look best in the famous lime-green color, but you can’t go wrong with black. Later bikes had twin discs up front, but the earlier drum looks great and offered good stopping power.

1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Front Brake

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport for Sale

Third owner bike. It was purchased from a good friend who owned it for many years so I know this bike runs very well and personally ridden it on 80 miles canyon rides on weekends multiple times. Minimum patina and only original once.

From manufacture tag, it is June 1973 production model. Titled as a 74 when sold from the dealer in Canada. Matching number prestige original condition. Just take the time to look at all the photos which shows how beautiful it is especially the drum brakes and shark fins exhaust and other unique car engine concepts and details. Bike has been documented in logs of all service done over the years with receipts. It has constantly been maintained and serviced as necessary.

This is Moto Guzzi’s Sport model that company used in competition. Drum brakes works excellent. Electric start by push button on right handlebar or twisting ignition key like a car makes riding practical. Torque on the V7 pulls fast and cruise the freeways easily over 80mph. Handlebars can be easily moved to upper position for great comfort and long flat seat make it an excellent touring bike with the passenger.

Bike has been stored indoors, ridden, and maintained, waxed routinely.

Clear CA title and registration in my name.

1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Engine

The seller also includes a list of maintenance and recent work that’s gone into the bike over at the original listing. He does also mention and point out that there is one broken cooling fin that’s hiding under the intake on the right side of the bike, but says that it can be fixed if the head is ever off the bike.

1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Tank Detail

Other than that, this bike looks to be in exceptional original condition and is ready to ride. His Buy It Now price is set at $19,400.00 which is on the high side, but is far from outrageous, especially considering the condition. These are steadily appreciating classics that you can ride regularly if you choose and, if I had the cash, there’d be one in my garage for sure.

-tad

1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport L Side

Low-Mileage Bevel: 1974 Ducati 750 Sport for Sale

1974 Ducati 750 Sport R Side

Ducati’s 750 Sport is one of the most iconinc motorcycles of any era, an instantly-recognizable bike that looked as fast as it was. The earlier 750GT was probably a better, far more practical motorcycle. But the Sport looked like sex on wheels, and made full use of the performance available from the very capbable package.

1974 Ducati 750 Sport L Front

The Sport was built up from the standard 750GT and featured a lighter crankshaft, higher-compression pistons, and bigger carbs. One thing it did not have was Ducati’s now ubiquitous desmodromic heads. Only the SuperSport models got that little technological nugget, although the Sport did use the very accurate tower shaft and bevel drive system to operate the overhead cams.

1974 Ducati 750 Sport Clocks

The Sport obviously looked different as well: the tank was longer and narrower, and there were no passenger accommodations. And while the 750GT was a much more practical motorcycle in real world applications, the Sport had that extra dose of sex appeal

1974 Ducati 750 Sport L Side

The 750 Sport was one of the best-handling bikes of the period, and with 62hp and a fat wedge of midrange torque on tap and five gears to choose from, it had the punch to get you between corners quickly as well.

1974 Ducati 750 Sport L Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Ducati 750 Sport for Sale

12,019 Kilometers  (7,451 miles)

This is a 1973 production year of which only 746 were produced – see Ian Falloon’s excellent book – “The Ducati 750 Bible, pages 74-75” on VIN numbers. “The 1973 750 Sport was a very elemental motorcycle, the lightest of all the 750s and totally uncompromised.” Page 76. I can attest to this statement as it is a no frills, takes no prisoners and is raw & visceral experience.

I’ve owned this 1974 Ducati 750 Sport since March of 2007. It is in beautiful and extraordinary condition with 12,019 kilometers (7,451 miles) on the clock! I have the history of the bike from December 1995. A gentleman in Massachusetts purchased it December 1995 and later sold it in May 2004 to another gentleman in Massachusetts. He kept it until I purchased the bike in March 2007. The bike has only covered 591 kilometers (366 miles) since December 1995. The bike sits in the garage, covered up and only ridden a few miles each summer. It has always started on the first or second kick even after not being ridden for months. I have photocopies of the previous titles listing names, dates and odometer statements, which may be inspected and are included with the sale.

Original Veglia instruments with only 12,019 Kilometers (7,451 miles). The speedometer has the correct trip reset knob

As you can see from the pictures, there are two gas tanks. The one on the ground plus 4 additional pictures is the original fiberglass tank. Due to ethanol mandated by Colorado, I never put gas into that tank. Other than a slight lifting of the decal (see photo), it is in excellent condition. It’s been stored in my office since I took ownership. 

The tank that is on the bike is a reproduction. I purchased that tank from a well-known Ducati specialist (name not disclosed but receipt is included) that was supposed to be ethanol resistant. Additionally, Caswell coating was used but the ethanol gas still affected the tank. It has bubbled on the side but is fully serviceable for everyday ridding – there are no leaks or seeping of gas 

All receipts and documents that I have accumulated during my ownership will be provided.

1974 Ducati 750 Sport Engine

The seller includes quite a bit more information over at the original listing, so be sure to check it out if this bike piques your interest.

I’m a huge fan of the particular shade of yellow used on the Sport. Yellow can be a really vibrant, attention-getting color, but this particular yellow is almost subtle. It’s certainly a color that flatters the Sport. Technically, 1974 saw some changes to the Sport, with black cases giving way to polished items, and a Brembo front brake replacing the Scarab shown here. I wouldn’t worry about that too much: the black cases look great, and many bikes of the era used whatever was lying around the factory, so it’s very possible these bits are original.

All-in-all, one of the most desirable sports motorcycles of all time, and likely to continue to appreciate in value.

-tad

1974 Ducati 750 Sport R Side Front

Pristine Japanese Superbike: 1974 Kawasaki Z1 for Sale

1974 Kawasaki Z1 R Side Rear2 The muscular Kawasaki Z1 almost started its life as an “also ran.” It must be frustrating to spend years working on a new motorcycle [Codename: “New York Steak”] in secret, only to have your rivals beat you to the market by the narrowest of margins. But that’s exactly what happened to Kawasaki when the revolutionary Honda CB750 was introduced just ahead of their own 750.

1974 Kawasaki Z1 L Side Rear

So what to do, now that Honda had stolen their thunder? They knew that to continue on-course and introduce their own 750cc four-cylinder right after Honda would have their range-topping motorcycle looking decidedly less exciting. So they bided their time and introduced the Z1 in 1973 figuring if they couldn’t be first to market, they’d be the fastest bike on the block. 1974 Kawasaki Z1 Clocks

Thinking that “bigger is better,” their 903cc four made 82hp and could push the bike to a top speed of 130mph. The new Z1 was king of street and strip and, if you wanted to go fast this was the bike to have. Handling was decent as well, although that was never really the point with this bike.

1974 Kawasaki Z1 L Side Tank

Nice examples are very rare today and steadily increasing in value, because so many were raced, crashed, abandoned, blown up, and turned into post-apocalyptic biker gang machines… Bit of film trivia: almost all of the motorcycles used in the original “Mad Max” were Z1’s donated to the production by Kawasaki.

This one, however, combines original paint with an otherwise thorough mechanical restoration and looks to be one of the nicest, useable examples I’ve seen in a while.

1974 Kawasaki Z1 R Frame DetailFrom the original eBay listing: 1974 Kawasaki Z1 for Sale

Here is an absolutely stunning 1974 model Z1 with a very low VIN. It is number 325 off of the assembly line for the 1974 model. This bike is such an early model that in fact it was actually manufactured in July, 1973. The VIN on the frame, engine, and title match as they should and it has a clear South Carolina title. I have owned this bike for several years now and it has just had a recent restoration. Everything on this bike works as it did when brand new. The engine runs perfectly from idle to redline. The engine does not smoke and there is no abnormal noise. This bike handles great and accelerates quickly with lots of power. The frame is straight and never altered. Without a doubt the successful bidder will enjoy owning this beautiful motorcycle!

This bike comes with a very rare period correct Pops Yoshimura 4 – 1 header. This header was on this bike when I bought it. This highly sought after header is in exceptionally good condition. It is one of the early Pops Yoshimura headers with brazed on collars on the head pipes, indicative of when he first got started. Beautiful header! Awesome sound! I can install a new stock reproduction exhaust if your country requires a stock exhaust system due to import regulations, (for an additional fee of course).

The Kawasaki Z1 came new from the factory with Dunlop Gold Seal tires, F6 front and K87 rear. I was fortunate enough, (and with enough cash) to obtain a set of Dunlop Gold Seal tires from a 1973 model bike that was salvaged in 1973 with less than 500 miles on it. These tires have been stored in climate control all these years and they are still soft and pliable with no cracks and no defects! These tires are unobtainable today. This bike comes with original Dunlop Gold Seal Tires as it did when it was brand new!

This bike received a thorough restoration and meticulous attention went into every detail. Nothing was rushed and nothing was overlooked. This bike was in good condition before the restoration, (not rusty abused junk). Every effort was made not to over-restore this bike. The tank and body set are original paint with light patina. Most parts on this bike are original including all of the correct date codes.  I have hundreds of photos that document every detail of the restoration. In fact I will include a nice PowerPoint slide show of the restoration.

I’m a sucker for good-quality videos like the one included here, although the “Hawaii 5-0” music might be a bit much. You can hear the screaming exhaust perfectly well over the music so you know the seller has their priorities straight! There’s quite a bit more information over at the original listing, along with additional high-quality images, so take a look if 70’s superbikes get you revving.

-tad

1974 Kawasaki Z1 R Side

Retro-Futuristic: 1974 John Player Norton Replica Replica for Sale

1974 John Player Norton R Side FrontWell, this John Player Norton Replica isn’t American, but at least it’s red, white and blue to celebrate the Fourth of July…

Of course, “John Player” wasn’t a person. This bike was from the era of motor racing when cigarette sponsorship reigned supreme, and John Player was actually the name of a British tobacco giant. Its bones are mostly stock Norton Commando, no bad thing considering the well-known performance potential of that bike. This example features Norton’s 828cc “850” engine and four-speed gearbox, although a short-stroke 750 was available for riders who planned to race their bikes in the US.

1974 John Player Norton L SideWith largely stock underpinnings, aside from taller gearing to capitalize on the bike’s improved aerodynamics, it’s that angular, bug-eyed fairing that was the main selling point. Or not, as was the case when new. It’s important to realize that the concept of collectible race-replicas and limited-edition bikes wasn’t really established in the early 1970’s. Old cars and old bikes were mostly just that: obsolete. No one was really buying them with an eye towards appreciating value since, in the early 1970’s, it hadn’t really occurred to anyone that might even be a thing. 1974 John Player Norton CockpitSo a bike with shockingly futuristic styling, with race-replica graphics and a much higher price, produced in limited numbers to seemingly stimulate collectors was an idea before its time, and these didn’t sell particularly well when new. Just 200 were believed to have been built, with 120 shipped to America. 1974 John Player Norton R Side EngineInterestingly, this particular bike is not an original JPL, but is a replica of a replica, built from kits available at the time the bike was new. It looks to be in beautiful shape, and might be a great opportunity to get a very striking machine for much less than you’d pay for the real thing.

From the original eBay listing: 1974 John Player Norton 850 Replica for Sale

The John Player Norton (quickly abbreviated JPN) was introduced in late 1973 and reached the public in April 1974. Many people think it was put together by the race team, but only the production racers were built by the race team, not the John Players. In actuality, the JPN was either built at Andover, in a separate facility, or on the main production line at Norton’s Wolverhampton factory.

Most JPNs went to the United States. It’s believed that of the approximately 200 JPNs made, 120 were sent to the U.S. All factory JPNs (as opposed to home-built copies) were made in 1974, with the shifter on the right and 30mm intake ports. Tapered manifolds connected the ports to 32mm Amal Concentric carburetors. The front brake was a disc, the rear a drum. All factory JPNs had forged aluminum brackets on the back of the fairing. There are some copies floating around, but these have welded brackets.

Unfortunately, the JPN banked on a collector’s market that did not then exist. To most potential buyers, the fairing and twin headlights looked weird instead of fashion forward. Young men looking to lure the fairer sex objected to the lack of a passenger seat, while other buyers objected to the price tag. At $2,995 — $495 over a standard Commando — it was the most expensive production Commando. JPNs sat on dealership floors. To make matters worse, John Player Tobacco quit sponsoring Norton at the end of 1974. And that was the end of the John Player Norton.

This is an excellent example of one of these classic motorcycles- while it is NOT one of the original 200 built- it is an authentic replica of the JPN replicas in that Sprint offered the body pieces as a kit for sale back in that era  – this is one of those kits placed on a VERY LOW MILEAGE 1974 Commando – and while the tank underneath the fairing is a standard tank – we do have an extended matte finish tank (which needs to be fitted) and it will accompany the bike – all in all a great little collectible to take to rallies and show off to your friends!  Even the kit bikes are Rare as hen’s teeth and this one runs like a dream.

1974 John Player Norton DashThere are just about 8 hours left on this auction, and bidding is up to just about $6,000 as of writing. These are certainly odd-looking, a design from an alternate future that never happened, like a space rocket from a Buster Crabbe “Flash Gordon” episode. But the Norton Commando underpinnings mean that parts are available, and a huge support community exists to keep them running and make them faster, so if you fancy something that will turn heads at your next vintage bike meet, this might be a great way to pick up a bit of history on the cheap.

-tad 1974 John Player Norton L Side

Baby Blue Triple: 1974 Rickman CR BSA A75

1974 Rickman BSA R Front

We don’t normally like to post up unfinished bikes here on CSBFS, but this 1974 Rickman CR BSA A75 is rare enough that it’s worth a second look, and complete enough that I expect many of our readers wouldn’t be put off by the work needed to turn this into a stunning, and very rare British sport bike. Rickman’s of all stripes are relatively rare, and this baby blue machine looks like it will be stunning once finished. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, even major manufacturers were still experimenting with what characteristics made motorcycles handle well, and many production bikes left something to be desired in terms of roadholding, especially when riders started to really push them on track.

1974 Rickman BSA L Rear

Enter Rickman, a typical British “based out of a shed” outfit that stressed the effectiveness of their bikes over pedigree. They sold incomplete frame, suspension, and bodywork kits that could be completed by individuals at home or by shops that supplied engines, transmissions, wheels, and electrics. Early on, they often used British twins, but many bikes that show up on eBay are powered by Japanese four cylinders like the CB750.

1974 Rickman BSA R Rear

This one “keeps it in the family” and is powered by a BSA A75 three cylinder, a package very similar to the one found in the Triumph Trident we featured recently. Designed to allow BSA and Triumph to compete with the CB750, the 740cc overhead-valve triple used pushrods and a four-speed box at first, although a five speed was later added and should be the transmission in this bike. While the architecture of the new triple was primitive, compared to the CB750 against which it was competing, the engine was no slouch, producing a claimed 58hp that made the bike good for a 120mph top speed and was much smoother than the twin on which it was based, while offering plenty of character.

1974 Rickman BSA Dash

According to the seller, this might be the only BSA triple-powered Rickman in existence, although the kit-nature of Rickmans makes this very hard to verify. Suffice to say, it’s pretty unusual. While the bodywork might look fine as-is with a bit of patina, that nickel-plated frame needs some elbow grease to return to its former glory.

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Rickman CR BSA A75 for Sale

Very rare Rickman BSA Triple CR road racer, built in limited numbers.  This bike was brought back from the UK by an Air Force Captain in 1976, but was actually built in 1974.  Believed to be a set of service cases ordered and built for the chassis.  I really wanted to restore the bike but do not think I will ever find the time so it’s time to pass it along to someone who can.

The bike is mostly complete as shown, But there will be some minor parts missing. What you see is what i have for the bike. I have started to disassemble the bike and have tried polishing the Nickel frame in a few spots and it comes up with a great shine, but wonderful patina, very easily.  I have the swing arm professionally polished to see how good a pro could get it and as you can see, it looks great!  The fiberglass is in good condition, especially for it’s age. but there are a couple of spots that need minor repair.  I did buy a NOS seat in the correct color that is included.  I believe the mileage is genuine as the tires on the bike were date code 1974 and had very little wear.  Borrani rims are straight and in very nice condition.  I have a few sundry new parts for it including a rear master cylinder rebuild kit which had to be bought from the UK.

Very rare and cool project for someone.  The Rickman book shows this bike delivered to Rivetts of London Ltd. in Leytonstone.  I used to visit this shop on a regular basis in this period so really feel a connection.  All the research I have done has not shown another Rickman CR built with a BSA A75 engine so it may just be that this is a 1 of 1 bike.

Sold as is for restoration.  Has a clean Missouri title.  I have many more pictures that can be sent on request. 

1974 Rickman BSA L Side

According to later updates on the listing, the seller has gotten some flack, claiming that the bike is not original. The whole point of these Rickman bikes was their mix-and-match nature built around customer preferences: based around a new frame that offered improved stiffness and high-spec suspension for tighter handling, the rest of the bike was very “kit-bike” mix-and-match, back before “kit” became a dirty word associated with Fiero-based Lamborghinis and oddly-proportioned “Cobras.” Rickman themselves even poked fun at this with their Metisse, which is French for “mongrel.”

There’s just one day left on the auction and bidding is up a bit north of $6,000, although the Reserve Has Not Yet Been Met. With luck, this bike will find a good home and will soon be returned to its former glory.

-tad

1974 Rickman BSA R Front

Tasty Triple: 1974 Triumph Trident for Sale

1974 Triumph Trident R Side

It’s pretty easy to imagine what sort of engine powers a Triumph Trident: a trident obviously offers three prongs of fish or secutor and murmillo-stabbing goodness, and the Trident has three cylinders of British charisma! Built with the US market in mind and designed to counter the immanent threat of Honda’s CB750, the Triumph/BSA 750 triple was much smoother than the parallel-twins on which it was based. It featured very ordinary specifications, with a four-speed box that was updated to a five-speed unit in 1971 and pushrod-actuated overhead valves.

1974 Triumph Trident L Side Front

This was good for 58hp and a nearly 120mph top speed. While the specifications were ordinary, the Triumph/BSA machine was the only game in town at the time if you wanted a big, four-stroke triple. And why wouldn’t you? Triples famously combine the torque of a twin and the revs of a four, with a funky, syncopated beat.

1974 Triumph Trident Clocks

Interestingly, BSA owned Triumph at the time and the triple was produced in both BSA and Triumph versions: unit construction allowed slight visual differences between the two, with the BSA engine leaned slightly forward and the Triumph’s more upright. The same engine would later find its way into the very striking X75 Hurricane as well, although the Trident is far more restrained in terms of style.

1974 Triumph Trident R Side Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Triumph Trident for Sale

Kept in a climate controlled environment and out of a serious collection. Currently registered and road-ready. Converted to a cafe-style bike. Very rare aluminium tank, 1969 ray gun mufflers, cafe style seat and custom paint. This is not a barn fresh bike, starts stops and runs. Please take a look at the pictures and feel free to ask any questions you may have. This IS a matching numbers bike!

1974 Triumph Trident L Side Engine

The aluminum tank on this bike has a much more squared-off style that looks a bit more like the BSA’s original design: the Triumph’s tank was a much more traditional, teardrop Bonneville-style piece.

Personally, I’d swap that solo-seat/number-plate tail section out for a nice dual seat and some passenger pegs: this is clearly no race-bike, and would make an excellent platform for introducing that special someone to the pleasures of life on a bike.

-tad

1974 Triumph Trident L Side

 

Original Round-Case: 1974 Ducati 750 Super Sport for Sale

1974 Ducati 750 Super Sport L Side

A bike that probably needs no introduction, the original 750 Super Sport was built to celebrate Ducati’s against-the-odds 1-2 victory at Imola in 1972, cementing forever the image of Ducati and its Desmo L-twin sportbikes. With only 401 built, the “round-case” 750 Super Sport is one of the most desirable motorcycles of all time, and a bike credited with saving Ducati from the junkyard of history. The first time, at least…

1974 Ducati 750 Super Sport R Engine Detail

Although Ducati’s “desmodromic” valvetrain is now offered on every one of their models, when the 750 Super Sport was introduced, it was available only on the most sporting singles and twins: the GT and Sport both made do with simple valve springs. And although the SS shared the GT’s frame, the motor also featured a lighter crankshaft, high-compression pistons, and larger carburetors.

1974 Ducati 750 Super Sport Cockpit

Controls were uncompromising and set up for performance riding, with bodywork that barely cloaked the mechanicals. Note the distinctive vertical stripe on the tank. It’s actually unpainted fiberglass, allowing the rider to reliably gauge fuel level. Ducati brakes during this period often varied year-to-year and sometimes from bike-to-bike, with Lockheed, Scarab, and Brembo parts being common. The Super Sport generally used the Scarabs shown here, although an improved version compared that featured a bleed screw [?!] and a third disc at the rear, also by Scarab, a relative novelty at the time.

1974 Ducati 750 Super Sport L Engine Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Ducati 750 Super Sport for Sale

I purchased this motorcycle new in June 1975 and have since been the only one to ride or wrench on it. The bike is titled as a 1975 using it’s engine number not the different frame number as that is how the Ducati paperwork came from the factory. Be assured this is a real deal 1974 roundcase. The engine has never been apart and still has it’s factory seal. It neither burns or leaks oil and the transmission and clutch work as they should. I have made a few mods over the  years including-electronic ignition-stainless spokes- Brembo front master cylinder and stainless brake lines-new decals and replacement coils. I still have the original parts if the new owner wants them. The fiberglass tank has been coated inside to resist modern gas but I always drain it after riding to be safe. This is the best running motorcycle I have ever ridden and hate to sell but it has become to valuable for me to ride or repair in case of an accident.

The finish of the paint and chrome have deteriorated greatly over time especially the frame. The exhaust is original and has a small hole patched in the crossover under the engine. The photos show the carbs with the original velocity stacks but I always rode with Uni foam filters installed. The mileage shown is actually in kilometers.

I installed new tires, battery, fuel lines, oil and cleaned and installed pumper diaphragms in the carbs this spring. It needs nothing to be ridden and enjoyed as is or would be a good choice for a cosmetic restoration.

1974 Ducati 750 Super Sport Fairing

In the Questions and Answers section, the seller also mentions that this is the original paint. Good question since, although the photos are of decent quality, the light makes them look like the body panels have a pearlescent color that looks more modern…

1974 Ducati 750 Super Sport Head

Overall, this is a pretty impressive example of a running Super Sport, and the seller has helpfully provided a short video here. This is no museum piece, and although there are some cosmetic flaws, that’s to be expected of a 40 year old paint that wasn’t the best quality even when new… With active bidding up north of $85,000 this is an auction most of us will unfortunately have to watch from the sidelines.

-tad

1974 Ducati 750 Super Sport R Side

Better Than New: Fully-Restored 1974 Ducati 750GT for Sale

1974 Ducati GT750 R Side

The Ducati GT750 was the first street Ducati to use their famous “L-twin” engine, so named because the 90° v-twin was oriented with one piston pointing forward and the other directly upward, forming the shape of the capital letter “L”. Introduced in 1971, the 748cc engine produced a claimed 60hp and could push the unfaired bike to a top speed of 125mph.

1974 Ducati GT750 L Side Front

Looking back, it is a bit less glamorous than the Sport and Super Sport models that followed, but don’t let that fool you into thinking the GT is boring or bland: those later bikes, while possessed of sexier styling, were also far less comfortable and practical. For most riders, the GT was a do-it-all bike for weekend rides, commuting, backroad scratching, and even light touring, offering character along with reasonable comfort.

1974 Ducati GT750 Dash

Today’s Ducati GT750 strikes a balance between originality and function. The restoration by Austin Vintage Cycle keeps the spirit of the original bike, but manages to improve it in subtle ways that might be lost on casual viewers because they are so well executed and suit the bike so well.

1974 Ducati GT750 R Side Front

There’s a ton of information about the restoration over at the original eBay listing: 1974 Ducati 750GT for Sale

We purchased this bike from Arizona and it was a bit of a mess when we received it. It was missing a few parts as the previous owner had started to take it apart for some unknown reason. The decision was made to take it completely apart and restore as much of the original hardware, fasteners, and parts that were original to the bike. We also made the decision to perform and add a few very minor upgrades. These were the things that we would have done back in the 70’s just to give the bike a cleaner look and a bit better performance.

Our goal with this build was to build to show / museum quality, but also to the level that we expect to have in a bike that we would ride. This bike can be ridden with confidence if one chooses to do more than just show it. It has undergone a complete nut and bolt restoration with every part and piece of the bike disassembled, cleaned, painted, massaged and sorted. There is not a single part on this bike that has not been touched in some way.

As much original equipment as possible has been retained in this restoration. All of the original levers such as kick start; shifter, brake etc. were cleaned and re-chromed by a reputable chrome shop; original center axle Marzocchi forks with rear mounted Scarab type caliper mounting flags. The headlight bucket and ring were also re-chromed. The motor still had its original seal on the crankcase, but we decided to split the cases anyway as it has sat for so long and we wanted to make sure that there were no sins lurking inside. The good news is that the crank and rod assembly were in very nice condition and did not need attention. This did however give us the chance to check and replace bearings, assure all transmission gears, splines, shafts and bearings were ok. We removed the sludge from the crankshaft sludge trap.

We decided to go back with the original bright orange/ black color scheme on this restoration. All of the original aluminum parts have been cleaned, and or polished. No expense or time has been spared in this restoration. Ignition and wiring has been upgraded to modern standards. The following is a list of what has been done to this Ducati.

The motor starts first kick and settles into a very nice, smooth idle. This bike runs and shifts better than the day it was delivered from the factory.

1974 Ducati GT750 Engine Detail

Restorations of old vehicles can be tricky: sometimes, “original” doesn’t necessarily mean “good”, and the temptation to improve factory flaws or performance can be hard to resist. But where do you draw the line? A modern ignition system is virtually undetectable in most cases, and improves performance significantly. But what about cosmetics? What amounts to tasteful, and what amounts to heresy? To me, this bike walks that line perfectly, and Ducati fans seem to agree, with bidding north of $24,000 at the time of writing.

-tad1974 Ducati GT750 R Side

 

No Haters: 1974 John Player Norton 850 in Denmark

1974 JPN L Front

In spite of all the race-replica motorcycles named after their riders like this week’s Eddie Lawson Replica Kawasaki, the John Player Norton was not actually named after a particular rider. It was named after the British tobacco company that sponsored Norton’s race teams and the distinctive looks effectively bridge the 1960’s half-fairing sportbike style of the Ducati Super Sport and the later, fully-faired GSX-R750.

1974 JPN R Side

For the most part, it’s a Norton Commando under the skin and features the same strengths and weaknesses of those bikes. The main changes were cosmetic, with the wild, twin-headlamp bodywork and solo-seat tail section. Road-going examples used Norton’s standard 828cc parallel-twin and four-speed gearbox, although an optional short-stroke 750cc version was available for US race classes.

This one looks to be in excellent shape, and is fitted with the road-oriented “850,” rather than the short-stroke engine, and is currently located in Denmark.

1974 JPN L Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1974 John Player Norton 850 for Sale

This is a very, very cool bike.

Up for your consideration is a 1974 Norton John Player 850.  (It’s kind of like a Commando but my boss says don’t call it that…)

From the sales brochure:

“Limited production run of this eye-catching luxury machine for the connoisseur.  Powered either by the high torque 850 unit to provide outstanding flexibility for the highways or by the 750 c.c. short-stroke high output engine as a base for competition.  White fibreglass fairings give the same aggressive appearance as the machines which carried the Norton name to yet one more victory in the 1973 Isle of Man T.T.  This model offers the ultimate in exciting high performance motorcycling combining style with comfort, speed and safety.”

“Features Twin double-dip headlamps with halogen light units if required; high output alternator with twin zener diode charge control.  Rear set footrests, brake and gearchange pedals; clip-on handlebars.  3½ gallon (15 litre) steel petrol tank.  Access to flip cap through quick-release cover in the styling.  Access to steel oil tank by lifting seat panel.”

This bike comes from a good a respectable home where it has accrued only 12,198 original miles over its lifetime.

1974 JPN Dash

While somewhat awkward in appearance, the JPL has undeniable presence and is historically significant, an evolutionary step to the sportbikes of today. Approximately 200 are believed to have been made in 1974, their only year of manufacture. At the time, they were not especially desirable and were difficult for dealers to unload but this, as so often seems to be the case, simply makes them rarer and more valuable now.

There’s very little time on this auction, so move quickly if this strikes your fancy!

-tad

1974 JPN L Side

The OTHER Italian Twin: 1974 Laverda 750 SF2

1974 Laverda SF2 R Side

I always have to write up Laverdas when I find them: they’re often forgotten when talking about classic Italian sportbikes, overshadowed by their rivals over in Bologna. The 650cc parallel twin SF Laverdas were introduced in 1966 and quickly grew to 750cc, and featured the very best components available from around the globe: ignition components from Germany, electrical parts and gauges from Japan, with a frame, engine, and huge front brake manufactured in-house. The “SF” in the name referred to the large front brake: “Super Freni” basically translates to “super braking.” The engine was built to last, with five main bearings and the resulting motorcycle, while heavy, handled well and was successful in various endurance-racing events.

1974 Laverda SF2 L Rear

Front brakes on the SF were eventually upgraded to twin discs, although it’s interesting that this one still has the earlier huge front drum brake. The seller maintains that this is original setup, and that does make sense, with the usual Italian blurred-lines model year to model year designations and “whatever we had lying around” component philosophy. Or maybe a particular customer requested it? The bike also appears to feature an original Lance Weil two-into-one exhaust. If you’re not familiar: Lance Weil was a famous SoCal-based US Laverda tuner and racer, proprietor of Rickey Racer. He was tragically killed in a workshop accident in 2006, and many of the North American Laverdas that come up for sale bear his stamp in one way or another.

Although I’d expect he had nothing to do with the orange bits on this one…

1974 Laverda SF2 Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Laverda 750 SF2 for sale

Fresh custom restoration
Early 1974 drum brake Laverda SF2 sporty custom cafe with SFC C2 cams and Ross HP Racing pistons
Matching motor and frame #s 15578
35mm forks with drum brakes did carry over this early #74 it is stamp SF2 came with 35mm forks

New Avon Road Runner tires
Recent paint job in good shape
Frame painted base coat clear coat
Rebuilt Dellorto 36mm carbs
Adjustable clip-on OEM Brevertta handle bars
Points ignition
NOS Borrani rear wheel [I will include the new chrome spoke set]
Restored polished front Borrani w/German made chrome spokes
NOS front hub with brakes
Upgraded piggyback Marzocchi shocks
Vintage 2 into 1 megaphone
Fresh top end SFC cams and pistons
New valves and guides
All new cables and rubber parts
Dry cell battery

Needs:
Electronic ignition might be a good thing
Nippon Denso gauges are faded and could be restored

1974 Laverda SF2 L Front Engine

The SFC internals are very desirable on this machine: the parallel twins were built to handle abuse and should certainly be able to deal with the extra power. SF’s have increased in value significantly in the past ten years. With a $10,500 Buy It Now price, this is in the high range for SF’s, but the cool front drum will appeal to some, and the upgraded performance bits definitely add to the appeal, especially the Lance Weil exhaust.

1974 Laverda SF2 R Side Engine

In general, I think this bike has just a few too many accent colors, in terms of hoses, wires, and painted bits. The orange fork lowers and swingarm especially may not be to everyone’s taste, but all that should be pretty easy to fix, and this is an otherwise very nice example. I’ve noticed seller DB Cycles showing up on eBay regularly, and they always seem to have nice, solid examples of some really cool bikes, Laverdas in particular. Anyone have any experience with them?

-tad

1974 Laverda SF2 L Side