The predecessor to the legendary Ducati 750/900 SS, the 750 Sport was one of the first no-holes-barred cafe racers to reach American shores. Right out of the box, the 750 came equipped with clip-ons, rear-sets, and the quintessentially Italian racing megaphones. It was a pure bred sport machine more suited to the track than the street, and a crucial step in the evolution of the Ducati superbike — predating the factory race replicas from Japan by roughly a decade.
Engineered by the great Fabio Taglioni, the 750 Sport was built on Ducati’s existing bevel-drive OHC single-cylinder design, essentially adding a second cylinder crammed into a shared crankcase running parallel to the ground. The end result was an air-cooled, 748cc, OHC, 90-degree V-Twin. The first ever-road-going Ducati V-Twin, the Sport 750 was reportedly good for roughly 62hp at 8,200rpm and a top-speed of around 130mph. Other standard amenities included Dell’Orto carbs, a five-speed gearbox, and high-end Marzocchi suspenders fore and aft. Paul Smart famously won the ‘72 Imola 200 aboard a machine based on Ducati’s 750 GT tourer.
First released in ‘71, the 750 underwent a number of updates prior to production ceasing at the end of ‘74. This included tweaks to the front-end, brakes, and chassis — the latter of which was a steel double-downtube structure. The earliest specimens to leave the factory in Bologna featured a distinctive “wide” subframe and bodywork adorned in what was referred to as the “Z-Stripe” livery, as well as gloss black fork legs and engine casings which were later changed to bare, polished metal by ‘74. Around the same time Ducati also opted to swap out the original (wide) fiberglass bodywork for steel pieces. Supposedly as few as only 50 Z-Stripe specimens ever left the factory, making surviving examples today equal parts rare and valuable.
Editor’s Note: these bikes are easily faked, so due diligence is key. This Motorcycle Classics article briefly addresses the concern, and this seller notes that the numbers match what noted Ducati historian Ian Falloon say they should be in one of his books.
This particular matching numbers 1972 example has undergone a recent restoration, revamping the Z-Stripe livery and blacked out casings. The engine also received a refresh and the clocks have all been set back to zero. The example currently rolls along on a set of spoked Borrani rims and wears a set of replica Conti pipes, though the sale includes a pair of (genuine) “good Conti mufflers”. In addition to the photos, the seller has also included a thorough walk-around video, plus a video of it running:
You can find this restored 1972 Ducati “Z-Stripe” Sport 750 for sale in Pasadena, California with a price of $49,000 here on Craigslist.