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A household name is 90 years young: Ducati

ER Classics Desktop 2022

Ducati has been around for ninety years today. The manufacturer of, among other things, legendary motorcycles was founded on 5 July 1926. The three brothers Adriano, Bruno and Marcello Cavalieri Ducati worked on a dream that was partly fulfilled by the support of father Antonio.

LogoIt soon became apparent that a delivery room for technically ingenious products had been created on the Via Collegio di Spagna 7 in Bologna. The first product, an electric capacitor called "Manens", was refined and compact. The "Manens" was the cause that after a few years the production was moved to the villa that was owned by the Ducati family. Ducati continued to grow, and the foundation stone of the Brogo Panigale plant was laid on 1 June 1935. The Italians made products such as calculators, radios. cameras and film cameras and had to maintain a high-quality name. That total package made Ducati one of the most advanced companies in Italy in the 30 years. The original workforce of two laboratory employees grew to almost 1200 (!) In 1936, until the Second World War came into play and had a devastating effect. Ducati picked up again. And in 1946 the first chapter of the impressive engine history was written. It all started with the Cucciolo, a small 4-stroke auxiliary engine that would become very popular throughout Italy and represent the birth of a new and long-running episode.


 

The "Taglioni" era
A few years later, with the arrival of the Cucciolo and the end of the Ducati brothers' management, the company faced a change of course. In 1954 the company was divided into two divisions: “Ducati Elettrotecnica” and “Ducati Meccanica”. during the same period, Fabio Taglioni, the true “father” of the contemporary Ducati saga, entered Bolognese service. In the thirty years that he worked for Ducati, Taglioni developed more than a thousand projects. He created the first real racing motorcycles (1954). He also invented what would become the brand's most distinctive features: the desmodromic system (1956), the L-shaped twin-cylinder (1971) and the tubular frame (1979). In the era “Taglioni” Ducati also built one of the most loved motorcycles in its history: the Scrambler, which was produced from 1962 to 1978.

 

The Cucciolo. The first motorcycle from Ducati. Image: Ducati
The Cucciolo. The first motorcycle from Ducati. Image: Ducati

Continued development leads to world championship
Fabio Taglioni retired in the mid-1980s. The innovations continued. With Taglioni's retirement, Massimo Bordi and Gian Luigi Mengoli became responsible for the design and innovations within Ducati. They developed another important chapter in the history of the Bologna two-cylinder: the water-cooled four-valve engines. The new block was developed to participate in a more difficult but more prestigious competition: the Superbike Wold Championship. A choice that paid off, because in 1988 Marco Lucchinelli won the first historic victory with the 851, the engine that won the first riders title with Raymond Roche in 1990. Over the years, Ducati had won numerous international competitions (such as the Motogiro d'Italia and the Battle of the Twins). The top drivers Capirossi and Stoner ensured that Ducati climbed the highest step on the international stage. Ducati became world champion for the first time in the previous decade.

A concept never suspected
Ducati is now owned by Audi and has become a respectable concept within the motorcycle industry. And the founders in 1926 could never have imagined that.

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