Ducati was well-established in road racing through the 1950s and ‘60s with diminutive and supremely attractive small capacity machines. By the early 1970s, their foray into the world of the superbike as laid down by Honda’s CB750, they produced increasingly larger bikes, the pinnacle of which were the ¾ liter range. And true believers of the ‘race it Sunday, sell it Monday” mantra, Ducati went racing.
Imola, April 1972, and Ducati were campaigning their 750cc green framed/sparkling silver liveried machines. Against a plethora of British triples and Agostini on an MV Agusta, Paul Smart famously won the race with such a margin to transform the firm’s racing and subsequent sales success.
Fast forward to 2006 and Ducati’s tribute to that astounding win: the Sport 1000 Paul Smart Edition. And while you’re at it, why not pay tribute to the original bevel-drive twins line up. That was the reasoning behind the launch of its new ‘Sport Classic’ range in 2005. Color schemes reminiscent of the yellow with black striped 750 Sport of 1973 and a Sport 1000 GT were headlined by the very special Paul Smart Edition. A green frame and vivid silver bodywork mirrored the pinnacle 750SS of 1972, the road-going version of Smart’s race winner.
The Paul Smart 1000 LE uses the belt drive, desmo, air-cooled, fuel injected, electronic ignition 1000DS (dual spark) 90-degree v-twin engine – 992cc, two-valves, a quoted 92bhp at 8,000rpm and enough torque to surprise its four-valve superbike brethren – as found in a number of other Ducatis. All this modern technology is housed in the Italian firm’s trademark trellis frame, complemented by some top-quality Öhlins suspension, Brembo brakes, a wet clutch, a six-speed gearbox, a curvaceous two pipe exhaust on the right side in black, and wire-spoke wheels beneath a swoopy half-fairing and tail hump. ‘After 20 miles I was totally sold on the bike, as I had been after five minutes of looking at it. Exclusivity, style, power, handling… what else could I want?’ queried Bike magazine’s tester at the PS 1000 LE’s launch. A production run of only 2,000 units was planned with half coming to the US, and few motorcycles of modern times have become as instantly collectible.
In May of 2006 Cycle World woke us up with, ‘We are suckers, all of us, and this limited-edition Ducati is proof. If the aqua-green frame and silver-metalflake paint don’t catch your attention, surely the sweet-sounding accessory Termignoni megaphone pipes will. This bike exists precisely to suck us in, to tweak our nostalgia, even if not everyone was around (or aware) when Paul Smart ripped up Imola for 200 miles to take the epic 1972 race win that put Ducati on the V-Twin sportbike map.’
The 2006 Ducati Sport 1000 Paul Smart Edition on offer here comes to us from a Northern California collector. The second owner of the bike, it has been meticulously maintained, including a full service in 2022, including new belts, tires, and a fluid flush. He modified the bike with some lovely touches: Termignoni exhaust, fender eliminator kit, fftermarket brake and clutch levers, Rizoma fluid reservoirs, etc.
The bike rides superbly, starting easily and with responsive power. With only 345 miles from new, our test ride could only be a short one… so now, with only 346 miles from new, the bike is ready for the next collector.
These bikes are a wonderful ride and the Ohlins suspension makes a world of difference. They are steeped in the history of Paul Smart’s victory and perfect tribute to it.
Frame no. ZDM1WABP16B001646
Location: Ventura, California