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...
The iconic British coachbuilder launches its latest beauty…
Each one-of-a-kind car has been styled to capture the tony port town’s panache…
Photo by Richard Prince
Dodge claims owners have a choice of more than 50 million build configurations for its latest...
This Lamborghini Miura P400 SVJ is one of maybe only six factory-made originals…
Robert White’s collection of motorcycles, motorcars, and watches goes under the hammer…
The fastback will have sensors and cameras monitoring the driver’s vision and transmitting data…
Riva and Fiat team up to create a car that’s a pleasure cruise to drive…
Nine of our favorites, with current price values from the motorcycle specialist at Bonhams…
The premier tire manufacturer unveils a $10 million display of supercars…
 Photo by Darin Schnabel ©RM Sotheby's
A 1939 Alfa Romeo Touring Spider and a 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta are priced in the millions…