The 2003 blockbuster The Matrix Reloaded includes an epic stunt sequence that in features a Ducati 996. To commemorate that scene (and to cash in on the franchise’s popularity), Ducati partnered with the film to release a limited run of Matrix Edition 998 bikes. Despite the movie featuring a 996, by the time the second installment of the Matrix trilogy was released, the Italian marque had replaced the 996 with the 998, hence the disparity. The only differences between the standard model and the Matrix Edition were purely cosmetic, with the limited edition super bike adorned in a dark green livery like that of the machine(s) used in the filming, finished off with some Matrix Reloaded decals and each unit’s production number on top of the tank.
Different sources site different production figures, with the numbers 120 and 150 frequently appearing on Ducati forums, while the previous owner of the #1 bike claimed there were 500, though MCN says 93 were built, albeit I’m not sure if they mean in 2003 or in total. There are also rumors that Ducati was churning out Matrix 998’s (and Final Edition spec 998’s) in an effort to pick up sales slack after the 999’s disappointing figures.
The Wachowski brothers reportedly spent $2.5M on building a faux freeway to film the Ducati scene from the Matrix Reloaded. The fake 1.5 mile stretch of freeway was constructed on the old Navy base in Alameda, California, the same location where the Myth Buster guys film a lot of their stuff (there’s also a really decent skatepark there). Riding the dark green Duck was stunt rider, Debbie Evans, who actually suffered a head-on collision during the filming of said stunt sequence. Britney Thomas did a really solid interview with Evans for Revzilla’s Common Tread about her career, in which she discusses filming the freeway scene on a 996.
A total of nine 996 machines were dressed up for the production of the film—at least according to the current seller of one of the supposed nine. The 2001 996 example is strikingly similar to the one scene in the movie, including boasting the same Ohlins hardware and custom paint, granted recreating one of these wouldn’t be very hard. Either way, this example is said to be in mint condition and has reportedly “never been down”. The current seller, who claims to be the original owner, says there’s 4,500 miles on the odo. Considering the asking price, I would definitely want some proof of authenticity/involvement in the production before forking over the cash, so hopefully the seller can provide some evidence.
You can find this 2001 Ducati 996 that was supposedly featured in The Matrix Reloaded here on Craigslist in Reno, Nevada with a price of $12,500, though the seller is offering free shipping to the Los Angeles area.