- Bike: Ducati Hypermotard 1100S , Ducati Sebring 350 GT
Hi Eddie, long time no see. I was talking with Jake a while ago and you came up in conversation, I thought I better make contact.
Any progress on the little Ducati thumper? Ive been meaning to catch up with you for a while as I have new info on your bike. I recently purchased my own Ducati single with similar messed up UK papers. After a lot of research I can finally shed some light on the subject.
Firstly, What you have is definitely a 1966 Ducati 250cc Mark 3 with the original engine fitted. It was the sporty offering of the time with those fancy rims, a Veglia Tacho, high compression piston, larger valves, a larger ‘hot’ camshaft, and a Dell’Orto SS1 or Amal 930 carburettor making them amongst the fastest 250s of their era with a power output of 30bhp @ 8,300 rpm. Amal 930 carb.
Mark 3 with the largest technical difference being the new five speed gearbox replacing the Diana four speed. The 250 Mark 3 was largely focused on American customers and availability was limited in Europe. Also, it was rather difficult to start as it had no battery and a 6V 40-watt flywheel ignition.
Now this is where it gets interesting. In 1967 Ducati had a large shipment of bikes ready for dispatch to Berlina the USA Ducati dealers who were not in a good financial state at the time. Interestingly many bikes did not have VIN numbers stamped on the frame but were added later on a thin alloy tag by Berlina when sold. This meant older new stock bikes were being sold as the latest model. There are many reports of this alloy VIN tag being found in the owners manual or left for the new owner to attach.
Berlina cancelled this large order claiming the bikes were not selling well and they still had too many in USA stock. this move nearly bankrupted both companies and upset relationships with the Italians. Long story short these bikes sat for a long time before being sent to London instead. Most of these bikes were 1966 and 1967 built machines but didnt get registered in the UK until 1972.
Id be willing to bet your bike is a 66 and came in to London from that cancelled USA Berlina shipment with mine. With that frame and many of its components it could never have been a 350cc in 1966.
Mine is a 1966 Ducati Sebring 350cc. The 350 NC Sebring was only made between 65 and 67 but was first registered in the UK in 1972.
It’s hard to look at the Sebring today and see a monster sport bike, but that is what it was in 1965. Race bred, the Sebring had a serious if short time in the international spotlight. In 1965, the first new concept bike arrived. The 350 Sebring was the largest Ducati of the day. Typically, Ducati built a racing 350 first. The 350 class was not common in the United States, so when Ducati team rider Franco Farne went to America to race at Sebring race, he had to race in a class event catering to 251-700cc machines. Despite the larger capacity opposition comprising mostly of 650cc twins, he finished 11th overall and, more importantly, won his own class outright. In honour of Farne’s victory the new model became the 350 Sebring.
It was the only first and only 350cc narrow case bike offered until late 67-68 when wide case 350 was introduced. Ducati quickly realised that the larger piston and stroked 350cc was too much for the little narrow case design and was plagued with big end failures.
The 350 was detuned, fitted with a tiny 24mm Dell’Orto with low gearing making a pitiful 20HP at 6250rpm. The Sebring then became known as Ducati’s touring bike.
The 350cc crank was later updated from 27mm to 30mm to cope with bigger HP and with the addition of a 30mmm carb it really came alive.
With a bit of research you can see many UK registered bikes in 1972s and none of the 350 Sebrings had frame VIN stamps.
If I was a betting man Id say your bike was put on the UK register with a large amount of other ducati singles and the 350cc title was nothing more than a mistake due to the number 350cc Sebrings that were being registered at the same time.
I have got a couple of boxes of narrow case parts with mine, some that may be of use to you or @team-buffoon. I have just purchased an full upgrade electronic ignition and larger alternator for mine so all my old electrics are available including a 12V conversion and 60W magneto alternator and flywheel that would liven up your ignition and give the option to run a 12v battery for better lighting.
Give me a yell if you want to catch up for a beer and chat.