Tagged: jelly mould

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

1959 Ducati 175 Sport for Sale

1959 Ducati 175 Sport R Side

It’s easy to forget, but Ducati’s history began with a tiny little bicycle motor and their sporting roots are in single-cylinder machines. Unlike today’s “entry-level sportbikes,” they featured sophisticated technology and top-shelf components: the very first production Desmo Ducati was actually a 1968 250/350 Mk 3! It’s a little rough, but this 1959 Ducati 175 Sport would be a great candidate for restoration, or you can just enjoy the classic patina as-is and wait for the value to climb further… I’d be unable to resist putting some new tires on so I could blat around the neighborhood.

1959 Ducati 175 Sport Tank

These are delicate little machines, so different from the hyperbikes that Ducati seems to focus on today: 190hp frameless road missiles, 1200cc naked roadsters, cruisers with impossibly fat, 200mm rear tires.  Not that I don’t lust after those, it’s just that modern bikes have become so much more capable than all but the most skilled riders, a two-wheeled performance pissing match akin to the nearly pointless posturing of the 200+ mph car club.

1959 Ducati 175 Sport L Grip

This is clearly being offered up by an enthusiast. The original eBay listing contains some history of the owner’s relationship with this machine: 1959 Ducati 175 Sport for Sale

I took part in the Italian Motogiro several years ago on a Moto Morini 175 Tresette.  It was truly an incredible experience!  Once I got home, I began collecting a few Giro-eligible 175cc Italian bikes, which have never been easy to locate here in the US.  One of the bikes I felt was a mandatory addition to my collection was a Ducati 175 Sport.  The only problem was finding one.  I searched and searched, and kept coming up empty.  Finally, I was able to locate one but it was located in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  The logistics were tricky and expensive, but I managed to get the bike crated and shipped back to California.

This particular bike is unique as many electrical components were sourced from Argentinian manufacturers, and these should not be viewed as “incorrect” when the bike is eventually restored.

The “Jelly Mould” gas tank is in very nice solid condition.  I have seen these genuine tanks alone trade for $2500-$3000.

Originally, this bike was going to be restored, but the bike had a unique time-worn patina that i really enjoyed.  It became part of my collection and was displayed many times over the next several years at various events (last was my “Barn Find” display at the 2013 Quail Motorcycle Gathering alongside my Vincent, Harley & Indian).

1959 Ducati 175 Sport R Rear Susp

I took a while for the “jelly mould” tanks to look right to me: they really do have a strange shape. The design is intended to allow the rider’s arms to tuck in close against the tank and the little loops on top allow packages and luggage to be strapped to the tank. According to the seller, it starts easily but has had no fuel in the tank, so it is currently more for display than riding, although that should be fairly simple to correct. When restored, these little bikes just radiate cool, and the vivid paint scheme is one of the most striking ever put on a factory bike.

Bidding is active, but still very low and the reserve has not yet been met.


1959 Ducati 175 Sport L Rear