Tagged: Elite

Like a Fly Trapped in Amber: 1959 Ducati Elite for Sale

1959 Ducati Elite 200 R Side

This jewel-like Ducati Elite is more of an object d’art than a living, breathing motorcycle. Like the titular bug embedded in fossilized tree sap, the world has passed this little time capsule of a motorcycle by, leaving it perfectly preserved, but very dead.

1959 Ducati Elite 200 L Side

Which is a shame: these little Ducatis were created with the same passion as their larger siblings and were often very competitive in small-displacement racing classes. Introduced in 1958 and displacing 204cc, the Elite was light, sporty, and very sexy. With 18 flexible horses and a four-speed gearbox, it could reach almost 90mph, a pretty impressive number for such a small machine.

And even if it could barely go around corners, just look at that beautiful “jelly mould” tank and striking paint scheme! With all the retro designs Ducati has tried over the years, I’m surprised they’ve not yet tried to recapture this little darling.

1959 Ducati Elite 200 R Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1959 Ducati Elite for Sale

This Ducati Elite came from the incredible RM Sothebys Monaco auction of 2012, from the Carlo Salterelli Collection in conjunction with the Ducati factory. This auction was much publicized in the motorcycle press for the unprecedented scope of Salterelli’s collection from it’s earliest single cylinder Ducatis to some of it’s finest v-twin and single racers. There’s much information online which can be easily searched regarding this incredible collection and auction. After winning the auction this motorcycle was shipped to Los Angeles and placed in my office to be enjoyed as a motorcycle sculpture.

I’ve never attempted to start this bike, but it does have good compression and can select all gears with ease. I have just enjoyed it’s pleasing lines. I’ve attached the images of the catalog and I feel that the auction company’s description is apt and the accompanying photographs best describe the motorcycle better than I can.

It has minor nicks, scratches and blemishes but no major-offending issues. It is a very beautiful bike and I think the new owner will be pleased with this incredibly rare motorcycle, with the excellent provenance of coming from the Salterelli Collection (an ex-Ducati factory works racer, test rider and factory based dealer).  It would be impossible to duplicate such history and factory connections that this motorcycle has. The auction catalogs and all accompanying paperwork will be included in the bike’s sale. There is no title, but a Bill of Sale only, as it has never been registered in California.

1959 Ducati Elite 200 In Situ

These are beautiful little motorcycles and although I appreciate that some collectors have saved these for posterity, keeping them in visually perfect condition, I feel like it completely misses the point. Certainly, there are show bikes and cars meant to be barely functional metalwork confections that aren’t intended to be used on the road.

But the Elite combines both show and go in what was originally a relatively affordable, practical package. This is a very nice example, but I hope the next owner spends the time and money to get it back on the road where it belongs.


1959 Ducati Elite 200 Dash

1965 Ducati Elite for Sale

As with MV Agusta, the name Ducati immediately conjures images of high-end exotics.  Ducati is known as a maker of booming, big-bore v-twin sportbikes with torture-rack ergonomics and very limited practicality.  But Ducati began its history in the postwar Italian motorcycling boom, making practical and fun transportation for the masses.

When they began their long-running record of racing success, it was with small bore bikes like the little Elite I found for sale on eBay, and it wasn’t until the late 50’s that Ducati made a bike over 175cc’s.  The Elite was a punched-out version of the earlier 175, and the little bevel-drive single made18hp at 7500rpm from its oversquare, 204cc motor, enough to propel the lightweight bike to nearly 90mph.

The original eBay listing can be found here: 1965 Ducati Elite for Sale.

Most literature shows the Elite with a distinctive, dual-exhaust on the right side of the bike, but the one for sale here shows a more conventional, although seemingly period-correct muffler.  The seller has also helpfully listed links to YouTube videos of the bike in action and the little machine sounds eager and happy:

Buy It Now is set at $11,500.  That’s a lot of dough for a little bike, but this is beautiful, collectible, and seems in great shape.  It’s being sold by a clearly knowledgeable seller and I know I want to buy all of my bikes and cars from someone who is “happy to answer all questions both silly and smart.”