1974 Ducati 750 GT Restoration - 2018.11.03
To give a little bit of background, I've been riding motorcycles and ATVs since probably 1985 and have been in and out of bikes ever since then, sometimes going many many years between them. I learned on ATVs and dirt bikes, then did the crotch rocket thing for a while, then moved on to naked bikes, adventure tourers, then bikeless :-(
In 2002 I bought a Ducati Monster S4, and it got me so into the marque that I visited the Ducati factory in Bologna in 2003, at which time me and my lovely wife toured the Ducati museum and also got a sneak peak at Ducati Corse (race operations). The museum had near perfect specimens of pretty much every bike they made, all the way back to the motorized bicycle - Il Cucciolo (the little puppy). Since then, I'd developed an intermittent obsession with vintage Ducati motorcycles.
Long story shorter, on October 24, 2018 a very close friend of mine sent me the following photo, accompanied by a forwarded email exchange alerting me of a seller of a 1974 Ducati 750 GT. My buddy has known a vintage bike mechanic and restorer for some time and had him on the lookout for 1974 GTs. That guy knows another guy who has a bunch of old motorcycles and one came up for sale.
First photo from the seller.
The day after receiving this photo, I called the seller. We had a good chat about the bike and talked a little bit about its history. He bought the bike 10 years ago and it has been sitting in its present state since then, but he'd been making minor bits of progress with restoring it. The biggest thing he did was get the tank, fenders, and side panels painted.
He then sent the following photos.
The bike was not in running condition and was mostly disassembled.
After seeing these photos and talking to him again, I decided to commit partially and placed a deposit on the bike. At the same time, my good buddy casually asked if I could ask the seller if he had a Moto Guzzi 850 LeMans. Now, the seller informed me that he had 45 vintage Ducatis and a host of other old bikes, so there was a decent chance there was something in his collection.
So ... he sent me this photo.
1978 Moto Guzzi 850 LeMans with brand new Lafranconi Competition Exhaust.
UH OH! I have a feeling we are doing a road trip with a trailer and coming back with 2 bikes! In fact, my buddy placed a deposit on the Guzzi soon after seeing this photo, then we borrowed a trailer from a co-worker of his and started our journey to Ohio on 11/2/2018.
Here we go...
Got the trailer hooked up to my good buddy's Land Cruiser. The trailer had a considerable effect on gas mileage, but the Land Cruiser pulled it with no problem whatsoever. Stopped outside of Cleveland, OH and got dinner at Das Schnitzel Haus, which was quite good.
When we got to the seller's house, we found our bikes at the front of his garage, but we also saw a bunch of other bikes packed in there like sardines.
1974 Ducati 750 GT basket case. Doesn't look too bad, though.
1978 Moto Guzzi 850 LeMans. This thing looks to be in amazing shape. Excellent condition, and it runs!
Some very nice old bikes in here.
The seller had some very cool old bikes in his garage, but we needed to get our act together and hit the road with our acquisitions. The trailer we borrowed was enclosed and had tie down anchors, but we had to get wheel chocks for the bikes for extra security. We really lucked out with being able to borrow an enclosed trailer.
Loaded up and ready to go - 2 bikes and 5 boxes of parts for the Ducati ;-)
However, before we got on the road for the schlepp back home, the seller offered to show us his nearby warehouse of stuff he's been collecting/hoarding. Of course, we couldn't resist.
We weren't quite ready for what we witnessed. The amount of stuff this guy had was incredible. He shares this space with a friend who is into micro cars, so there were quite a few of those vehicles in there, literally stacked on shelves. There must have been 50 bikes in here along with engines, exhaust pipes, extra wheels, fork tubes, frames, hundreds of carburetors, cams, pistons, crankshafts, and all sorts of other parts all throughout this space.
We also learned that the guys from the show "American Pickers" had visited this place. I'm not sure if they ever produced an episode from this location, but they spent 9 hours with the seller and went through the entire warehouse. I believe he has another warehouse, as well as a cabin where he keeps some bikes and service gear.
14,000+ sq ft of motorcycles and parts.
Some of probably 20+ micro cars the seller's friend collects.
More stuff, like a giant Popeye statue, a china cabinet full of carburetors, and more motorcycles in various stages of restoration.
What a day! We ended up spending almost 2 hours at this warehouse and were seriously burning daylight. We hit the road, got some lunch, then made our way back home. Round trip, we traversed 1,000 miles, picked up two vintage Italian motorcycles, and had a great little road trip. More to come.