Auction Ride of the Week: 1966 Ducati Monza 250

Ducati is as close to a "household name" as an Italian motorcycle manufacturer is going to get here in the United States. But here's an interesting fact: Ducati actually produced motorcycles before the Monster. Here's another shocker: Some of them weren't liter-sized V-twins. This 1966 Ducati 250 Monza is the bike that started to build Ducati's reputation as a racing powerhouse in the 1960s.
Auction Ride of the Week: 1966 Ducati Monza 250
Ducati didn't even start building multi-cylinder motorcycles until 1970. Prior to that, it was producing single-cylinder bikes, a lot of which were thrown around in Grand Prix racing. PHOTOS: See More of the 2014 Ducati Monster 796
Auction Ride of the Week: 1966 Ducati Monza 250
Ducati motorcycles prior to and just following World War II were pretty pedestrian moped-like machines, but in 1954, Ducati hired the brilliant Chief Engineer Fabio Taglioni, who really made Ducati what it is 60 years later.
Auction Ride of the Week: 1966 Ducati Monza 250
His first efforts for Ducati were these overhead cam, single cylinder bikes. These bikes are unique because the overhead cam is driven by a shaft connected to the crank which rides inside an aluminum sleeve on the right side of the engine.
Auction Ride of the Week: 1966 Ducati Monza 250
There's a bevel gearset under a cover at the top that turns the camshaft. Bevel-drive singles and twins are immensely sought after on the open market today. RELATED: Porsche 911 GT2 RS vs. Ducati 1199 Panigale [video]
Auction Ride of the Week: 1966 Ducati Monza 250
Americans like bikes with big engines, but these singles are light, nimble, fast and fun to ride. You can pick up a bike like this and compete in the Moto Giro USA, an event that caters to sub-305cc motorcycles built before 1968.
Auction Ride of the Week: 1966 Ducati Monza 250
With an opening bid of $6,500, you've got to expect that the reserve has to be well over $10,000. An example with just 104 miles just came up at Mecum's Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction last weekend and sold for $13,000 plus commission. The auction ended without reaching reserve, but it's been relisted this week.

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