Luxury's 25 Most Innovative Brands: Ducati

  • The 2013 Ducati 1199 Panigale R recently received Robb Report’s Best of the Best Sportbike title.
  • The famed 1974 750 SS
<< 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

From Around the Web...
Robb Report's Car of the Year contest ended in a tie between the Lamborghini Huracán Spyder and the Porsche 911 Turbo S.
The results mark a first in the annual event’s history and bode well for the industry…
Watch video profiles of each of the Car of the Year 2017 contenders...
Robb Report Car of the Year 2017
During Robb Report’s annual competition to determine which sport or luxury car best deserves to be...
More than 150 Robb Report readers convened in Napa Valley to judge 13 extraordinary automobiles…
The Giulia Quadrifoglio, the high-performance variant of Alfa Romeo’s new sedan, went on sale in December with a starting price of $72,000.
The top-of-the-line sedan is powered by a biturbo V-6 that churns out more than 500 hp…
The 2018 Porsche 911 GT3
Next year, the model comes with a new engine, a revised chassis, and plenty of performance…
The 2017 Ruf CTR at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show.
With 700 hp and a top speed of 223 mph, this two-door tears it up…
If the DB11 were less of a looker, it might earn more attention for being the Best-performing, best-handling Aston Martin yet
The company’s first all-new car in 13 years was worth the wait…
The Lexus LC 500 will arrive at U.S. dealerships this spring sporting a bold new look for the brand…
The Lamborghini Aventador S
The head of Lamborghini for the Americas talks about why the car and company are cruising…