Luxury's 25 Most Innovative Brands: Ducati

<< Back to Robb Report, August 2013

By all rights, Ducati should have crested the horizon and become a footnote in motorcycle history, just as Laverda, Mondial, Moto Morini, and a host of other once-famous Italian marques did. But Ducati kept the feeble flame alive during the dark years that began in the 1980s and continued into the 1990s and beyond. Starting in the 1950s, the company’s jewellike singles and glorious V-twins brought fame to Ducati and the racers who rode the bikes to victories. But that acclaim and the genius of chief engineer Fabio Taglioni and his desmodromic valve train could not prevent the complicated and expensive Bolognese masterpieces from losing ground in the market to Japanese machines that were inexpensive, quick, and as reliable as a Honda Civic.

Still, the lure of a Ducati—the Ferrari of motorcycles—beckoned connoisseurs who appreciated the V-twin bikes’ lightness, elegant design, and singularity of purpose. Ducati kept refining its machines, pushing technology and production volume to meet modern market demands, while also continuing to demonstrate prowess in competition. Ducati’s ability to maintain its prestige by consistently producing groundbreaking machines (while struggling to make profits) ultimately paid off last year, when Audi acquired the brand from an Italian investment group for more than $1 billion. www.ducati.com

Today’s german auto museums are much more than vaults filled with old cars: They are structural...
A half-century after its historic victory in Europe, Shelby’s iconic racer returns to celebrate…
Battery pack improvements give the car the ability to go from zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds…
Classic Ferraris and Porsches will be on display in all of their glory…
In addition to the Ferraris, rare cars from DuPont and Carrozzeria Touring will also be spotlighted…
The Porsche Cayman GTS is a serious sports car with a long, low profile...
Photograph by Charlie Magee
Yacht owners can stow this jet-like joyride for one in its own climate-controlled container…
Photo by Artcurial Motorcars
Auto critic Robert Ross sifts through the barn-find phenomenon at auction—and in his own garage.
The Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 made an unexpected debut at the Geneva International Motor Show in March...
Our selection of the top lots includes stunning vintage examples from Porsche, Ferrari, and others…