The California Hot Rod – 1974 Ducati 750SS

In Italy, Race by Abhi5 Comments

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Post Listing Update: The California Hot Rod was pulled off of eBay, final sale price unknown.

2-8 Update: Bidding got up to $250,000 but did not meet reserve, so the seller has relisted it with an opening bid of $250,000


It’s finally happened – I get to feature a bike with a serious asking price of 7 digits. Now you get to decide if this bike is worth it. Whether or not you think so, you can’t deny that this bike is special. Known as the California Hot Rod, this Ducati 750SS was the first Italian motorcycle that won a production-based race in the United States, making it an instant legend.

California Hot Rod - Ducati 750SS - Vintage Race Front

Also known as “Old Blue”, this bike put Ducati on the map in the US. Cycle editors Cook Neilson and Phil Schilling took a 750SS (after Cycle readers voted it as their bike of choice for the editors to use) and modified it to go production racing in the West Coast. Neilson got one of three pre-homologation specials shipped to the US in 1973, and later got a ’74 production bike that was campaigned after extensive modifications – this is the latter.

California Hot Rod - Ducati 750SS - Right Side

The listing does an excellent job telling the story of this bike, which is not surprising when you realize that the bike is being offered by none other than Ian Falloon on behalf of a friend of his. But if you want more information on why this bike was so important to opening up the US market to Ducati, check out this article by Vicki Smith of Ducati.net that was republished on The Vintagent. Neilson came out of retirement in 1997 to put down three demo laps at Daytona in 1997 with this bike after it was restored to its former glory.

California Hot Rod - Ducati 750SS - Front Right

Find the California Hot Rod for sale with bidding up to $125,000 and the reserve not yet met or a BIN of $1,000,000 (make your Dr. Evil face here)

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