The century-old world of automobiles and motorcycles is a magical one, to say the least. Going through the archives, there are stories and moments that engulf you with knowledge and information about some of the biggest technological innovations and developments that probably you have never heard of or imagined in your wildest fantasies. One such story is of this Formula One V8 engine, built and developed by none other than Italian motorcycle giant, Ducati. Yes. Who would have thought?
This isn’t the first time though that the Italian bike maker ventured into the four-wheeler space. Back in the forties, Ducati was trying to recover from the post-war destruction and considered entering the automobile space to fasten the recovery process. And so the company built the Ducati DU4 prototype – a two-seater sedan powered by a 250cc 90-degree L-twin engine with 4-speed gearbox and housed inside a tubular trellis frame. A Ducati trademark now seen on all their motorcycles today. Although only one prototype of the DU4 was built and it never went into production as Ducati’s Cuccilo, (Puppy) motorcycle was doing strong numbers for the company and the top bosses decided it will be a rather risky endeavour to enter an all-new model range with the Du4.
The Ducati V8 Formula One Engine produced 170PS of power, which was on par with the rest of the Formula One cars of its time and it was one of the first engines to feature the Desmodromic valve system before it was introduced in Ducati’s production motorcycles seven years later with the 450 Mark 3D in 1968. However, the dwindling budgets of Osca Maserati forced the project to be shut down and the V8 engine never went onto to power a race-car. The engine now sits with longtime Ducati patron, Giorgio Monetti, who is popular in Bolognia for riding the Ducati 175 TS around the world with his friend Leopoldo Tartarini, back in 1957. Watch this space for more on this legendary ride by these two gentlemen.