Tasteful Custom: 1973 Ducati 750GT Café Racer

1973 Ducati 750GT Cafe R Side

Built around an early, very desirable “round-case” L-twin Ducati engine, this bike is based on a 750GT. As such, it does not use Ducati’s desmodromic valvetrain and makes do with simple springs instead. While that may not be as sexy to say as “Desmo”, it means that maintenance will be simplified, although the bevel-drive and tower-shaft arrangement still requires some expertise to set up correctly.

1973 Ducati 750GT Cafe Engine Detail

Although it’s obviously of questionable wisdom to modify such a valuable classic, most of the cosmetic modifications look like they could be easily reversed, if the new owner decides to sell, or decides that they prefer a more original style. It’s also nice to see that the engine build includes VeeTwo parts: they disappeared for a while, but it looks like this Australian company is back in business, making hot-rod parts for bevel and belt-drive Ducatis.

1973 Ducati 750GT Cafe Dash

It’s so easy to screw something like this up, just by adding a splash too much color, or the wrong color. But the builder of this bike went simple silver. Period-correct style or not, I’m not a fan of the “750” decal on the side panels, but that’s easy enough to fix. And that Grimeca front drum looks great, although no Ducati twin I know of ever used a front drum… Otherwise, it’s a very nicely turned-out special.

1973 Ducati 750GT Cafe Front Brake

From the original eBay listing: Custom 1973 Ducati 750GT  

Custom café racer in the spirit of the prototype

I bought this Ducati in 2005 in the current condition with 20,609 miles on the odometer. Previous owner started with a standard 750 GT and had it extensively customized. Here is his description of the work done:

With custom paint, seat, linkage, front brake, clip-ons, side covers, and seat back, this is a one of a kind bike inspired by the prototype. The engine is completely rebuilt with improvements throughout, giving it more power and better response without jeopardizing reliability. The pistons are short skirt sport pistons from V-Two to raise the compression. The heads got lighter 7mm valves with better springs, new seats and guides. From the Carillo rods to the 36mm carbs, to the polished crank to the billet cams to the smaller stem valves, all things were considered with this project.

The bike is one of several classic bikes in my collection and it got regularly used on short trips. Bike runs extremely strong, starts with one or two kicks and is ready to ride. Nice chrome and paint with very few minor scratches.

No manual or tool kit. GA registration in my name. GA did not issue titles for bikes over 25 years old. Also have ex California title assigned to my name.

1973 Ducati 750GT Cafe L Rear

The seller also includes a more comprehensive list of modifications over on eBay, worth a look if you’re curious about this bike. The internal modifications sound like they’ve been well thought-out and the bike is ready to run, no matter what it looks like. Bidding is pretty active on this one, and up to $12,500 with the Reserve Not Met.


1973 Ducati 750GT Cafe R Side Detail

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4 Responses

  1. sr88 says:

    Tad, I think this is a very tasteful and well engineered custom. The aluminum shouldered rims and Grimeca 4LS front break are even more iconic than the 750GT. The tank, seat, and rear cowling capyure the look of Ducati’s race bikes from back in the day. I think the mods are something Ducati would have done if building to a price range and utility requirements were not an issue. If I had the cash, I would much rather buy this than a stock GT.
    You state,”It’s so easy to screw something like this up, just by adding a splash too much color, or the wrong color”, I think the Triumph in the previous posting has that problem, plus everything is just cobbled together with no tribute to Triumphs heritage (look at the painted black rims, exhausts, and seat) the claimed money spent on that build was wasted. Sorry, just my opinion.

  2. tad says:

    sr88: no apologies required for a reasonably presented opinion clearly stated as such! One of the reasons I enjoy writing these up is getting some discussion going, so your input is always appreciated. Of the two bikes, this one is definitely more to my taste. The Gulf Racing colors don’t actually suit the old Triumph very well, but it will definitely stand out in a crowd!

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