Minichamps MIN122720016 1972 Ducati 750 Motorcycle - Paul Smart, Imola (1:12 Scale)
"German precision engineering at its finest!"
- The Motor Pool
The Ducati 750 Imola Desmo is a race bike built by Ducati that won the 1972 Imola 200km race at the hands of Paul Smart. This win is considered historic by Ducati and it's fans in that it helped define Ducati's approach to racing.
On March 20th, 1970, Fabio Taglioni made the first sketches for the layout of a new Ducati V twin. By April his drawings were completed, and by July, there was a running motor. By August of 1970, there was a complete prototype motorcycle. Taglioni engaged Leopoldo Tartarini, the founder of Italjet, to refine the styling aspects of the new Ducati. In October, the decision was made by Ducati to re enter motorcycle competition. Director Arnaldo Milvio and General Manager Fredmano Spairani, were enthusiastic about racing, and had encouraged Fabio Taglioni to develop the 750 V twin.
In 1971, five 500 cc V twins were built to compete in Italian championship and Grand Prix events. Ducati felt that this would demonstrate the bike before a large audience and gain publicity. If they won, that was a bonus. Even before this, in late 1970, and despite Taglioni's opposition to the idea, Spairani wanted the frame for Ducati's racer to be built by Colin Seeley, a well known British specialist frame builder of the time. Seely was asked to develop a racing frame similar to those he had built for G50 Matchless engines. They sent some prototype crankcases for Seely to work from. Ducati's new Seely frame was ready in February 1971. Meanwhile, in less than six months, Fabio Taglioni and his team had designed and built their own complete bike. (The industry norm for concept to production is three years.)
While the 750 and 500 racers were very similar, the 500 had a much shorter 58 mm stroke with its 74 mm bore. It had 10.5:1 compression and initially produced 61.2 bhp at 11,000 rpm. (Same bore and stroke as the later 500 Pantah) All Ducati's 500 cc GP engines used desmodromic two valve heads with an 80 degree included valve angle. They used remote float bowl Dell'Orto 40 mm carburettors, and had a six speed gearbox with a dry, multiplate clutch. Ignition was electronic, provided by nearby Ducati Elettrotecnica, but was initially unreliable. Dual spark plugs were used, and the final ignition system used four coils, two on each side of the frame.
Pictured here is a 1:12 scale replica of a 1972 Ducati 750 motorcycle that was driven by Paul Smart at the Imola GP. Comes packaged in a handsome presentation case.
Length: 7 inches
Height: 3.50 inches
Original Issue Price: $129.99
Historical Account: "Bright, Sparkling Diamonds" - In the beginning, Taglioni's Ducati chassis was used. It had a single Lockheed front disc brake and a twin leading shoe Fontana rear drum brake. Dry weight was 135 kg and it had 18in rims front and rear with 3.00 and 3.25 tyres. Wheelbase was 1430 mm. In June 1971, Phil Read tested the 500 cc bike with the Seeley frame, and pronounced it the better of the two. The frame was then fitted to Spaggiari's bike as well. It was raced in 1972 by Bruno Spaggiari, Ermanno Guliano and Phil Read. Also in June 1971, the first Ducati 750 GT models came out of the factory, distinguished by silver frames, metal-flake paint, fibreglass fuel tanks, 30 mm Amal carburettors, and twin leading shoe rear brakes.
Taglioni experimented with four valve heads at this time, but failed to produce better power figures than his two valve heads, so the two valve racers continued. He continued to experiment with four valve heads right up to 1973.
In 1971, race results were spoiled by a run of gearbox and ignition problems. Phil Read's second to Agostini in the San Remo Grand Prix, and a fourth, also by Read, at Monza in the Grand Prix delle Nazione were the highlights of the season.
A Seely frame 750 cc had been tested by Mike Hailwood at Silverstone in August 1971 with a view to competing in F750. Hailwood decided against it, saying he didn't think the handling was good enough.
Taglioni had already produced a new frame, for the production bike, incorporating some of the Seely features. He later said he felt the Seely frame had been too light for the V twins. They used the production frame for the 1972 Imola bikes.
The 200 Mile formula was first run in Italy in 1972, at Imola. Ducati prepared eight 750 cc bikes for the event. Paul Smart, Bruno Spaggiari, Ermanno Giuliano, and Alan Dunscombe were secured as riders. By now racing fever had set in, and the factory wanted to win. The bikes had the new factory frames and 750 engines, and were once more prepared in a very short time. Wherever possible the bike was lightened, and new 40 mm Dell'Orto carburetors with accelerator pumps were used. These engines delivered 80 hp at 8,500 rpm. In that Imola 200 held in April, Smart and Spaggiari came in first and second. (Courtesy: Wikipedia)